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Inaction on Kingston Turbine Noise Prompts Commentary

June 6, 2015

Kingston-Independence-kerrykearney-smA presentation to the Kingston Board of Health on June 18th will review the noise study conducted by HMMH of the Kingston Wind Independence (KWI) turbine. The event is a BOH meeting and they have not indicated whether the public will be permitted to speak.

In an effort to understand the data HMMH collected over the winter of 2013-2014, and to analyze the findings in the “Draft for Public Comment,” Stephen Ambrose is producing a series of quick takes on the problems with the study. Ambrose, an acoustician, is an expert on reducing industrial noise to a level where neighbors are not adversely impacted.

Here are the first two in a series of 10 points on the study findings.

Part one:Wind speed is not an indicator of power output. Part two:Noise is a function of power output.
SCADA-hub-height-wind Noise-output_power-output

 

As background, Ambrose’s February 2015 Letter to Martin Suuberg notes, “Kingston’s wind-turbine noise measurements were performed last spring by HMMH without findings. Conjecture after many years’ experience would conclude: 1) noise measurements were contaminated, therefore the test needs to be repeated, or 2) measurements show non-compliance.”

He goes on to ask, “What are we to think after almost a year of continued operation” when there was no further compliance testing and also no action taken to protect public health.

To date, Kingston has wiggled out of its responsibility to turn off the offending turbine. In response to persistent  public complaints, the town ordered reduced operations under very limited criteria in August 2014. The order, according to Scott C. Smith writing in Wicked Local Kingston (8/12/14  “Independence turbine abatement order served”  calls for

“a modification at the very least if not an outright shutdown” of turbine operations from midnight to 4 a.m. when the wind is traveling from the south or southwest at eight meters per second or more at the turbine hub.

This abatement order has provided no relief for Kingston residents. A chronology of testing and subsequent reports follows:

  • May 21, 2013 Operator of the Independence turbine in Kingston refuses to cooperate with DEP testing of the turbine.
  • October 2013 – April 2014 – testing of Independence by HMMH (Paid for by MassCEC)

Data collected in the winter season on December 13, 2013, January 20, February 20, February 22, and February 28 2014 were not used.  A daytime sampling event at the Intermediate School was considered successful.  The only monitoring results presented were from the two spring sampling dates on March 2 and March 15, 2014.

  • June 13, 2014 Interim report is issued.
  • July 8, 2014 MassDEP reveals that Kingston Independence turbine exceeded Mass Noise Regulations on two separate occasions in the Spring of 2014.
  • July 8, 2014 MassDEP writes a letter to Kingston BOH stating that the winter is the time for data collection.
  • August 12, 2014 Kingston BOH issues limited abatement order for Independence turbine
  • April 16, 2015 Draft for Public Comment  “Kingston Wind Independence Turbine Acoustical Monitoring Study Technical Report,” HMMH Report No. 305270.001, is issued.
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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris Kapsambelis permalink
    June 7, 2015 8:31 am

    The reason that there is no correlation between wind speed and noise in the part 1 graph is that the wind speed reported on the Deck Monitoring site is not the wind turbine wind speed 400 feet up in the sky, it is actually the wind speed at the Plymouth Airport measured only 30 feet above ground. What the graph illustrates is the effect of extreme wind shear. It shows 5 or six data points where the wind on the ground (airport) is below 3 meter/second (m/s), while up at the turbine the wind is in excess of 10 m/s generating maximum power and noise.

    For more on Wind Shear see the following:

    http://www.cbuilding.org/sites/default/files/WNTAG_Comment_3_7_2014.pdf
    https://windwisema.org/wind_shear-turbine_noise-faq/

    All this can be greatly simplified and comply with both the spirit and the letter of the Commonwealth’s Air pollution regulations where noise is listed as an air pollution contaminant, if MassDEP adopted the noise testing protocol referenced here:

    https://windwisema.org/2013/12/19/noise-testing-protocol-offered-at-wntag/

    The problem, with using SCADA reported power output as the parameter to asses noise levels, is that the data is still not in the public domain, and under the control of wind turbine developers. As such, the suspicion that the data is manipulated in favor of the developer can never be discounted.

Trackbacks

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