Bourne Meeting Reminded of Falmouth Effect
“Haven’t we learned anything from the town of Falmouth?” asked John McMahon at Bourne’s Board of Health meeting on the wind project to be sited in neighboring Plymouth. His comments were reported in The Enterprise: “Bourne Residents Speak Out Against Plymouth Turbines” (by Michael J. Rausch on 12/12/14).
John T. McMahon of Morning Mist Lane in Buzzards Bay was outraged that Mr. Mann was even considering his project. Mr. McMahon held in his hand a report from the Falmouth Board of Health that showed 47 people suffering from health problems due to wind turbines.
According to the news report, the audience had plenty to say about potential harm from the proposed project beyond its compliance with BOH wind turbine siting regulations (quoted later in the post).
In an effort to deflect noise concerns, Keith Mann of Future Generation Wind, said the project will use newer turbines. This drew an online comment from Mark Cool, whose Firetower Road residence is impacted by the Falmouth turbines. In his post (Bourne Resident Deals Wind Developer “Falmouth Experience” Trump Card 12/12/14), Cool debunks assumptions that newer turbines are quieter.
The International Electrotechnical Commission [IEC ~ the international standards and conformity assessment body for all fields of electrotechnology] has sound rated ALL patented industrial wind turbines. The IEC-reported sound power levels range from 102dbA – 107dbA for industrial turbines. The IEC’s rating methodology IS NOT, in any way, shape or form, correlated to or distinguished by the age of the turbine.
The Plymouth project consists of four 476-foot, 2-megawatt Gamesa turbines with potential impacts on residents of Bournedale. In their Op-Ed in the Cape Cod Times, “Let’s not bargain with the devil,” (11/21/14), Lilli-Ann Green of Wellfleet and Yvonne Relin of Brewster urge Cape communities to get the facts before signing municipal power purchase agreements (“net metering”) that will allow the project to advance.
Bourne passed regulations for “Wind Energy Conversion Systems” to protect residents from turbine noise:
Daytime: The noise generated by a WECS shall not exceed 6 dB(A) above ambient or and with a cap value of 65 dB(A) at the closest property line. The Board may allow a greater dB(A) where the applicant has demonstrated proven at a public meeting no inhabitants will be adversely affected.
Nighttime: The noise generated by a WECS shall not exceed 6 dB(A) above ambient and with a cap value of 40 dB(A) at the closest property line. The Board may allow a greater cap value of 65 dB(A) where the applicant has proven at a public meeting no inhabitants will be adversely affected.
The amplitude modulated noise measurable in overall A-weighted sound pressure level shall not exceed 4 dB peak to trough at the closest property line. A higher AAM may occur only of [sic] the applicant has demonstrated to the Board of Health that no inhabitants will be adversely affected.