Library filed under Safety from Massachusetts
A federal appeals court has rejected the Federal Aviation Administration's ruling that the Cape Wind project's turbines present "no hazard" to aviation, overturning a vital clearance for the nation's first offshore wind farm.
On October 28, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals found the FAA failed to supply any apparent analysis of the record evidence concerning the wind farm’s potentially adverse effects on flight operations. The court vacated all 130 determinations of no hazard issued by the FAA. An excerpt of the court's ruling is provided below. The full order can be accessed by selecting the link(s) at the bottom of this page.
The appeal states that the FAA acted in an "arbitrary and capricious manner" by ignoring evidence submitted demonstrating that the wind turbines would in fact create a hazard to aviation and cause interfere with radar facilities used by air traffic control, failing to consider the cumulative effects of the turbines in Nantucket Sound, and exceeding its own authority.
Two weeks after a number of neighbors said they were not informed about the three-bladed Northwind 100 turbine's location so close to the school, committee members raised their own concerns, saying that somewhere along the way they were excluded from the planning process.
This image shows the location of Nantucket High School's newly sited 100-kilowatt wind turbine. The turbine stands about 160-feet tall including the blade. The radius of the circle is approximately 50 feet. There does not appear to be any safety or fall zone around the turbine to protect students from collapse or blade/ice throw.
Under an agreement with the MOD, if the planning inspector says yes to the windfarm, Enertrag UK would not be able to start building until they had the ‘approved' technology in place to mitigate these safety concerns. A spokesman for the MOD supplied the conditions, which state: "No development shall commence unless and until the planning authority has approved a Radar Mitigation System proposed by the Company and agreed by the MOD."
The town of Barnstable and the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound filed an administrative appeal yesterday requesting that the Federal Aviation Administration reverse its approval of the Cape Wind project.
The Federal Aviation Administration has found that the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm will not be a hazard to air navigation, marking another in a string of wins for the project's developer. Although the FAA previously determined that the 440-foot-tall wind turbines would be a so-called "presumed hazard" to navigation, that finding was considered a placeholder while the agency studied the effects of the wind farm on aviation more closely.
When the 100-foot-tall wind turbine at Bartlett's Ocean View Farm hurled one of its broken blades nearly 200 feet Jan. 18, it was a statistical anomaly. Wind energy experts claim, and statistics seem to show, failure rates are low. But when a second 100-foot-tall turbine, this time in Marstons Mills, shed its blades in a northeaster this Sunday, it seemed to some the start of a troubling trend.
One of the windmill's 40-foot-long blades broke in half in moderate winds some time after dark Jan. 18, the broken piece plummeting to the ground where it landed nearly 175 feet away from the turbine. No one was hurt, but Bartlett's Farm now alleges in Nantucket Superior Court that the manufacturer of the windmill, Wind Energy Solutions (WES), of the Netherlands, knew of a design defect.
Proponents of wind energy state that blade failures, fires and collapse are small in relation to the number of turbines and we should not consider those failures when siting. How does that protect abutting businesses and residents? I witnessed the process steamroll through to develop Port's standards — decreased from what the state models recommended for safe setbacks to property lines for ice throw, blade throw and collapse. Ours is only 150 feet, not even the minimum of 1x turbine height (Mass DOER recommends 1.5x).
Early Monday morning, a 20-foot-plus piece of one of the blades on Bartlett's Ocean View Farm's wind turbine snapped off and fell to the ground nearby. The wind turbine immediately shut down. There were no reported injuries when the blade struck the surrounding farmland, said John Bartlett.
While I am not a resident of your area, I was disappointed to read your article on SouthCoast Today.com of the unanimous decision of the Dartmouth Select Board to go ahead with the installation of two wind turbines on municipal property to be located within less than 1,000 feet from four homes, and in a neighborhood with some 50 residents. ...It is a sad statement on society when a decision is taken that will have such a significant impact on some citizens of your community on the basis of financial gain.
The Select Board delayed a decision on two, 328-foot wind turbines proposed for construction at the wastewater treatment plant off Chase Road until at least Jan. 4, after meeting Monday night for four hours. ...Select Board Chairman Joseph L. Michaud said he wants to take the additional time for board members to get answers to their questions about safety and other concerns. "I think it is important that everyone be comfortable with the issue. I don't want anyone to abstain when we vote," he said.
An automated review of 17 proposed wind turbines at the Massachusetts Military Reservation flagged five more as a presumed hazard to aviation, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said yesterday. But when all is said and done, the reversal on those five turbines, which just one week earlier were considered OK, may be a mere blip on the radar screen, FAA spokesman Jim Peters said.
The Federal Aviation Administration says five wind turbines can't be built at the Massachusetts Military Reservation on Cape Cod, six days after approving them. The FAA now says the 400-foot high turbines pose a hazard to air navigation.
The town's chances of becoming greener have been curtailed by its proximity to Logan International Airport, which is 0.2 to 2 miles from any given point in the community. The two locations identified for a turbine are 0.75 and 1.25 miles from the airport, according to the DPW. After submitting a permit application early last year, town officials received a verbal report in November from the Federal Aviation Administration that indicated that a 250-foot structure in the vicinity of the DPW site would create, "a potential concern with sound landing and takeoff procedures and may be within or uncomfortably close to critical surface area zones," Hickey stated in a letter to Winthrop's town manager last year.
The Federal Aviation Administration is saying "not yet" on the proposed wind farm project for Nantucket Sound, issuing a "Notice of Presumed Hazard" Feb 13. "Initial findings of this study indicate that the structure as described exceeds obstruction standards and/or would have an adverse physical or electromagnetic interference effect upon navigable airspace or air navigation facilities," the FAA notice issued Feb. 13 reads. "Pending resolution of the issues described below, the structure is presumed to be a hazard to air navigation."
The FAA's "Notice of Presumed Hazard" warns that the 130 proposed turbines could have an "adverse physical or electromagnetic interference effect upon navigable airspace or air navigation facilities." The report warns the rotating blades of the turbines could cause unwanted "clutter" in radar systems. To correct the problem, the FAA study recommends an upgrade of the radar system located at the Massachusetts Military Reservation, where regional air traffic control is conducted.
HYANNIS, Mass. -- After five years of strong objections by the Barnstable, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket airports and others on the safety of the 400,000 flights per year over Nantucket Sound, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today formally issued a Notice of Presumed Hazard for the Cape Wind project. Cape Wind is proposing a 44 story, 25 square mile wind project centered under the flight paths between Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket. The project would affect FAA radar sites in North Truro, Nantucket, and Otis Air Force Base that provide detection of aircraft for Air Traffic Control (ATC).