CHATEAUGAY — Wind towers in Chateaugay have again become the subject of noise complaints from residents, but efforts on the part of town officials to conduct independent testing have encountered obstacles.
The Town Board had planned to allow a third-party firm to test the noise levels generated by the towers of the Jericho Rise Wind Farm in the area where a number of complaints have been raised.
Town Supervisor Don Bilow said that the Jericho Rise’s parent company, EDP Renewables, has “stonewalled” attempts for an outside test.
The town previously tested certain wind towers in March after several noise complaints were filed.
The investigation found that none of the towers exceeded the limit of 50 decibels measured at a minimum distance of 1,320 feet under normal atmospheric conditions, as outlined in town law.
These tests took place at the same time as similar tests were conducted in the town of Bellmont. Noise readings there were generally below the 50-decibel limit set in town law, with the few exceptions returning to below the limit very quickly.
Chateaugay is the home of 29 of the 37 wind towers for Jericho Rise Wind Farm; the remaining eight are located in Bellmont.
Construction on the wind towers began in the fall of 2016, after EDP signed a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) agreement with the county, Chateaugay Central School District, and both towns. As part of the agreement, both towns also signed a “host community agreement” with the company. When another round of noise complaints was filed, Bilow said that EDP referred to the host community agreement. Company officials claimed that the agreement allows them to refuse outside testing and that the agreement “overrides” town law, Bilow said.
Town Board members, including Bilow, were highly skeptical of the company’s claim, having discussed it with the town attorney.
Board members indicated that they would continue to look into the host community agreement for a way to resolve the issue.