Library filed under Noise from Massachusetts
Disagreement over the syndrome's true nature shouldn't preclude sympathy for the people who are being driven from their homes, or to banging their heads against the wall in frustration. Their complaints aren't sitting well, though, with those who see great promise in wind power as a cheap and efficient source of renewable energy.
The energy output of the 390-foot-tall turbine, which is owned by Scituate Wind LLC, made up of Palmer Capital and Solaya Energy, must also be at least 60 percent. Power Dash, a website that records the turbine's production, showed it was operating at 30 percent during testing Aug. 14.
"It's critical that we acknowledge wind-turbine syndrome," said Roxanne Zak, head of the energy committee for the Massachusetts Sierra Club, an unlikely supporter, in her testimony that morning. "We're derailing large wind projects, preventing wind legislation from being passed. We can't dismiss the evidence that people are having problems." Turbines are very effective in wide-open spaces, she said, but Massachusetts is not one of those places.
This letter, written by William Hallstein, MD, a practicing psychiatrist with over 40 years of experience, was delivered to the Chairman of the Falmouth Board of Health. Dr. Hallstein is also a resident of Falmouth Massachusetts. In his letter he explains the very real impact of the Falmouth turbines on human health.
It's the board's second stab at getting a plan past town meeting. The first, a proposal to fund removal of the turbines, was shot down both at a special town meeting in the spring and in a May 21 ballot question.
"My personal take on this was I was disappointed that the forecasted winds weren't the actual winds, [and] that there was so much insect noise," said Jennifer Sullivan, Scituate's director of public health. "There is reason to believe that at some point during the testing the turbine wasn't making power but using power, which is not exactly what we want to test, and the community people are not happy with the westerly testing direction."
The consultants have been contracted to take four noise samples beginning in March, but said they were only able to get one sample in April, because there hasn't been enough wind to get the turbine up to maximum power. Mark Wallace from Tech Environmental said that one noise sample that was taken at four locations in the neighborhood shows the noise from Scituate's wind turbine is hardly perceptible.
there is adequate scientific evidence in peer-reviewed publications to make it clear that some infrasound emitted by wind turbines - sound vibrations at frequencies below those normally heard - makes some people sick. By refusing to consider and investigate infrasound as a cause of physical distress ...state agencies are only storing up trouble for the future of wind energy.
"The period at which those most impacted by shadow flicker on the South Coast of Massachusetts is between October and March," said Tom Thompson, Executive Director for a neighborhood fighting against the location of the Scituate turbine. "Anyone that's looking to commission a shadow study prior to that that knows those are not the peak periods. [To do one now] is not an accurate analysis."
Too much time is being lost relative to performing acoustical studies of the Scituate Wind turbine and this has the Scituate Board of Health, among other stakeholders, concerned. During the board's meeting on August 12, board members, along with Scituate Public Health Director, Jennifer Sullivan, discussed the complexities of the testing requirements - wind speed, wind direction, tides, etc., and how the conditions have yet to prove favorable for testing.
"Your rush to test this evening and tomorrow morning is extremely curious. ...Not only does this wind direction not impact the majority of your selected locations, these higher wind speeds create a biased background noise level (rustling leaves and branches) that will clearly impact the integrity of these test results."
A new report from the Massachusetts Department of environmental Protection says in June the turbines exceeded legal noise limits, after midnight.
A group of residents have complained that their health is adversely affected by the noise and shadow flicker from the turbine, which is owned by Scituate Wind LLC, made up of Palmer Capital and Solaya Energy. The town's board of health requested that Scituate Wind hire acoustical engineers to see if the turbine complies with noise standards.
"The 'Kelly paper' is just one of many studies published in the 1980s by acousticians and other researchers working under grants from the DOE, NASA, and others. ... The acoustical conferences, at least in the U.S., all had presentations on wind turbine noise; it was one of the 'hot' topics in the field." The industry response? Ignore or deny the science.
The owner of the town's two wind turbines resumed full operations of the machines Tuesday night in defiance of the Board of Health's June order that the turbines be shut off between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. Turbine manager Gordon Deane, in a statement released Tuesday night, said officials of Fairhaven Wind, which owns the turbines, decided to turn them back on after a meeting of the health board earlier in the day.
After meeting behind closed doors in executive session, the Fairhaven Board of Health came out to announce it had not made a decision on what to do with the town's controversial wind turbines. Wind turbine developer Fairhaven Wind, LLC has already been ordered to shut the turbines down from 7 pm to 7 am because of noise and health complaints.
The 16-member technical advisory group includes acousticians, public health professionals, representatives of the wind industry and a neighbor to the Falmouth Wind turbines. The group will consider changes to MassDEP noise regulations and policy as they relate to wind turbines. "It is an acknowledgement that noise from wind turbines is different," DEP spokesman Edmund Coletta said.
This letter, submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MA DEP) details the appropriate methodology for surveying turbine noise post-construction. The procedure was developed under the guidance of acoustician, Richard James of E-coustics Solutions. The criteria for compliance is specific to the Massachusetts state law regarding noise and will differ from other jurisdictions. However, the procedure should be consistent for all noise surveys. The full report can be accessed by clicking on the link(s) at the bottom of the page.
"I think what we're seeing throughout the region, throughout the state, and actually throughout New England is that people are looking at the experiences of other people who live near wind turbines and are saying 'we don't want that in our community'," said Tillinghast.
Members of the Fairhaven Board of Health said Tuesday they consider complaints from residents to be evidence of the turbines' health effects. "That evidence is coming in every day," board member Barbara Acksen said. Chairman Peter DeTerra agreed, saying "hearing from the people is important."