KINGSTON – When the wind isn’t blowing from the south or southwest, shutting down the Independence wind turbine isn’t an option without further action by the Board of Health.
Based on the abatement order approved by the board back in August 2014, it can order the turbine to be shut down between midnight and 4 a.m. if the wind is traveling from south and southwest directions in excess of 8 meters per second.
But complaints continue to be lodged with the Board of Health over the noise from the turbine. Monday night that led board member Toni Cushman to raise the possibility of modifying the existing order regulating excessive noise levels.
With the final acoustical monitoring study report finally released, a public hearing on the issue has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19.
While Cushman said she doesn’t have a problem with the notion of holding off on further action until after the public hearing, she worries that any further delays would be unfair. Board members have said they will most likely continue the hearing. But for how long, Cushman asked.
Board of Health Chairman Bill Watson said the wind direction requirement is the kind of loophole than can be closed by the board's approval of a new abatement order that would supercede the one enacted more than a year ago.
And town counsel Jay Talerman is working on a new abatement order that he will present at the public hearing, Watson added. The state Department of Environmental Protection and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center will also make presentations during that meeting.
The board had been waiting for the release of the final technical report and its review by the state Department of Environmental Protection before taking any further action involving Kingston Wind Independence, the turbine’s owner, which leases the land where the turbine is located from the town.
MassCEC Program Director Nils Bolgen recently notified stakeholders that technical comments about the study - and a response prepared by consultants Harris Miller Miller Hanson, MassCEC and DEP - are available online at www.masscec.com/content/wind-energy-research-and-analysis.