CHATEAUGAY — The town of Chateaugay will be investigating the level of noise generated by the Jericho Rise Wind Farm after receiving several noise complaints.
Town Supervisor Don Bilow said that the town would be seeking an independent third party to conduct noise tests for the Chateaugay portion of Jericho Rise wind farm. Twenty-nine of the wind farm’s 37 turbines are located in Chateaugay, with the other eight in Bellmont.
Both the town of Chateaugay and the town of Bellmont have local laws limiting the permissible amount of noise from the wind turbines to 50 decibels, when measured at the nearest “non-participating residence.” Property owners who receive benefits from allowing a turbine to be sited near their are not covered by the 50-decibel limit.
The turbine sites were chosen to be at least 1,000 feet from non-participating residences in Bellmont and a minimum of 1,320 feet from those residences in Chateaugay, according to the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement prepared for the project.
Town Councilman Fred Cook noted that some noise complaints came from residents who had been supporters of the wind farm agreement.
Bellmont officials have also reported receiving some complaints about noise generated by the wind towes.
Concerns about noise from the wind farm were raised last March at a public hearing before the project was approved. Some local residents expressed concerns about construction occurring during the night and the sounds it would generate, but the latest complaints center around the noise created when the 374-foot-diameter turbine blades turn.
Noise generated by the operation of the turbines was studied under both the draft and supplemental Environmental Impact Statements prepared before the project was approved. The study done as part of the SEIS found that operational noise would generally remain below the 50-decibel limit, but “that some adverse reaction is possible from time to time — theoretically 10% of the time — during moderate … wind conditions.”
The study also noted that “Operational sound emissions from wind turbines are often unsteady and variable with time largely because the wind does not always blow in a completely smooth and ideal manner. When unsettled air or gusty winds interact with the rotor, or the airflow is not perfectly perpendicular to the rotor plane, a temporary increase in turbulence and noise results.”
An occasional “swishing” sound may be audible at some distance from the towers, but the level of noise should be well below the limit set by the town laws, the SEIS states.
“Under normal weather and wind conditions, a Project-only sound level of 50 dBA or more will not occur at any non-participating (off site) homes or other sensitive receptors within the Project site,” the SEIS states. “Consequently, even with various conservative assumptions applied, the Project is anticipated to be in full compliance with the local wind energy facility laws for the Towns of Bellmont and Chateaugay.”