Scituate will move forward with hiring an independent consultant to conduct a wind turbine noise study, as discussed in the fall of 2017.
According to Town Administrator Jim Boudreau, 11 companies took out a Request For Proposal (RFP) to conduct the study.
“Three responded,” he said. “Of these, two did not meet the minimum requirements, and the third we felt was unsuitable for this job.”
The town will now reach out to the other companies that expressed an interest in the study. Residents who have expressed a concern about the turbine noise will also be asked for input.
The decision to conduct the study is the result of a unanimous decision by the board of selectmen after a lengthy discussion in the fall of 2017 among themselves, as well as with residents who are being negatively affected by the turbine noise.
“We’ve heard quite a bit of information from all sides,” Selectmen Chairman Maura Curran said at the time.
The 400-foot wind turbine was installed in its spot on the Driftway in early spring 2012. Shortly after it went online, people in the neighborhood began to complain about the noise and the flicker associated with the turbine.
As a result, the Scituate Board of Health began tracking noise complaints from neighbors of the turbine.
Complaints usually occurred at night in the late spring, summer and early fall, with most complaints coming from the southwest at less than 10 mph, Scituate Health Agent Jennifer Keefe has said.
The town launched a pilot program in June 2016 to power off the turbine between 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. when the wind was coming from the southwest at less than 10 mph.
Complaints dropped during this time by 65 percent, Keefe said.
As a result, selectmen voted to cease operation during occurrences of southwest winds of less than 10 mph during the hours of 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. from June 1 through Oct. 15.
Several residents living near the turbine continued to report disturbances from the turbine, however, and asked town officials to agree to an independent noise compliance investigation of the turbine in an effort to collect the evidence necessary to take protective action under both the Nuisance Law and under the state’s Noise Pollution Regulation.
“Nothing has changed,” said David Dardi last October. “Scituate Wind’s turbine continues to disrupt the sleep and adversely impact the lives and health of both my neighbors and myself.”
Ellen Kasper also lives close to the turbine and said she was still impacted by the noise.
Both Kasper and Dardi have attended selectmen meetings and have reached out to the Scituate Board of Health.
Kasper, who has been documenting the disturbances caused by the turbine for years, had said she would like the turbine to be off from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. all year.
The turbine has allowed the town to provide a clean source of energy. The energy is sold to National Grid and covers one-half of the town’s municipal energy requirements. By the end of 2016, over $1 million had been collected by the town in energy credits from National Grid.
Selectmen agreed the noise remains a problem during certain nighttime hours particularly in the summer months and agreed to the study.