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Equation Reveals Falmouth’s Error

July 13, 2017

Take a Google Earth snapshot. Use its tools to indicate distance. Chart that against industry turbine ratings. Voilà! Anyone can figure out that most of the wind turbines in Falmouth are too close to homes.
In this first infographic, acousticians Stephen Ambrose and Robert Rand demonstrate the distance of homes from turbines. They reveal that anyone could have anticipated the noise would be too great at nearby property lines by using standard industry data.

The larger the turbine, the greater the sound power levels and therefore the greater the distance needed to reduce noise to the maximum MassDEP allows.

If the size of Wind-1 had been kept to the level of the Northwind (Woods Hole Research Center, 100 kW), its noise footprint would not be disturbing neighbors.

The second fact sheet assesses whether the standard developed by the Cape Cod Commission would protect residents near a turbine.
If distance provides the only protection from wind turbine noise, is a 10-rotor diameter setback enough to prevent residents from being disturbed when they garden in their yards, or when they try to sleep?

The graph at right offers an industry analysis showing that larger diameter rotors produce greater sound power levels (higher dBAs).

Again, a small turbine like the Northwind meets the CCC distance standard for reducing noise level. The larger turbines do not.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2017 11:33 am

    Falmouth Wind Turbine ARRA Loan/Grant Questions In Limbo -The Cat Is Out Of The Bag

    Falmouth Wind Turbine ARRA Loan/Grant Questions In Limbo
    Falmouth Wind Turbine II Was The Money A Loan Or A Grant: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009- Stimulus Funds -Your Money
    Falmouth Massachusetts USA July 17, 2017

    Charlie Baker 1.jpg

    The Massachusetts Clean Water Trust, in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, provided ARRA , stimulus financing for the Falmouth Wind II turbine.

    The Massachusetts Clean Water Trust is governed by a Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustee Meetings is usually held on the first Wednesday of the month.
    Notice is hereby given that the meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust scheduled for Wednesday, July 5, 2017 is CANCELLED.
    The next meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust scheduled is Wednesday, August 2, 2017.
    The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of 12 directors. Secretary Matthew Beaton, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, serves as Chair, and MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike implements board policies. The MassCEC Board of Directors also includes audit, compensation and investment sub-committees.
    The last meeting was June 20, 2017. The next scheduled meeting is August 15, 2017
    The town of Falmouth, Massachusetts, secured ARRA, stimulus funds and a federal EPA waiver to purchase a foreign made $4.3 million dollar Vestas V 82 wind turbine for its sewer plant.
    At least one domestic manufacturer, General Electric, could source a turbine, but according to the EPA, The domestic manufacturer cited the setback distance … as the basis for its refusal to make its product available for this project. The setbacks were over residential homes and ice throw to a nearby highway.
    U.S. wind turbine makers which include General Electric must back their wares based on U.S. setback standards, based on rules to protect public risks like blade failures, unlike foreign manufacturers.
    The EPA waiver can be found at the United States Federal Register, 4/27/2010, EPA Notice of a Regional Project Waiver of Section 1605 (Buy American) of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to the Town of Falmouth, Massachusetts.
    The purpose of the Falmouth Wind Turbine Options Analysis Process (WTOP) was to engage in an open, transparent, and collaborative exploration of the range of options for the long-term future of the Town’s two Wind Turbines – Wind I and Wind II.
    The Consensus Building Institute was paid jusy under $139,000.00, for an assessment; designing and convening the process; preparing for, traveling to, facilitating and documenting 24 meetings (including all expenses); and writing and revising a final report, over the course of 13 months. These meetings in 2012 can be confirmed this with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
    The meetings were all video taped and shown on local Falmouth community cable television in hopes of educating the public
    The September 12, 2012, video over whether the ARRA, stimulus fund was a loan or a grant was “lost ” and never shown on local Falmouth television has been confirmed by the Consensus Building Institute but the puplic has never been made aware of the “lost” video.
    The CBI, WTOP meetings were to improve relationships and effective communications among the Town officials, affected families and other members of the town over the poorly placed wind turbines
    The Town of Falmouth also withheld information from the taxpayer financed meetings.
    The town had received emails prior to the installations of the foreign made turbines that they are twice as loud as the domestic wind turbines made by General Electric who refused to place even a single wind turbine.
    On August 2, 2010 the town was warned in writing the turbines generate 110 decibels of noise. The letter was never disclosed at the CBI, WTOP meetings
    The loan/grant for Falmouth Wind II using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 should never have been made.
    The cat is out of the bag ……

  2. Chris Kapsambelis permalink
    July 14, 2017 11:05 am

    The Falmouth case is a clear demonstration that the MassDEP has failed to protect the public against air pollution in the form of noise. The law and regulations identify the combined sound from all sources as an air pollution contaminant subject to regulation. As enforced by MassDEP regulation 310 CMR 7.10, that limits the increase in sound level to 10 dbA above ambient, fails to detect violations under all possible operating conditions. Noise testing protocols, approved by MassDEP, call for turning the turbine off to measure ambient sound level, followed by turning the turbine on to measure the increase in sound level.
    The protocols are defective as follows:
    • Contrary to the definition of sound contamination as the combination from all identifiable sound sources, the protocol falsely includes contamination from all existing sources, other than the wind turbine, for the increase measurement of ambient sound levels. By definition, MassDEP is charged to limit noise pollution from the combined sound level from all sources. Sound levels from traffic, air conditioners, ground level wind, and other temporary natural and man-made sounds should not be included in the measurement of ambient.
    • There is no guarantee that the turbine is generating maximum sound power while impact measurements are measured. Sound generation fluctuates with hub height wind speed. Wind turbines can operate in noise reduced modes. MassDEP uses a fixed average multiplier, typically 1.5 to determine hub-height wind speed to account for wind shear. Extreme wind shear conditions responsible for maximum increases of noise above ambient can exceed a factor of eight.
    To avoid prolonged noise testing (a year or more) and to avoid error prone compliance measurement like the Falmouth case, MassDEP needs to modify the testing protocols by determining ambient and Impact sound level, independently under worst case conditions. Furthermore, MassDEP now has collected more than enough data to reduce the requirements to a distance setback guaranteed to satisfy the law and regulation. In the Falmouth case a safe distance setback works out to a mile and a quarter.

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