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Dartmouth wind turbine obstructs airport traffic, FAA rules

The Federal Aviation Administration has ruled that one of two wind turbines proposed for town-owned land off Chase Road is a hazard to air traffic and must be lowered. The FAA's review found that the height of the north turbine - which measures 462 feet from the tip of the blade to the ground - "exceeds obstruction standards and/or would have an adverse physical or electromagnetic interference" upon air traffic.

DARTMOUTH - The Federal Aviation Administration has ruled that one of two wind turbines proposed for town-owned land off Chase Road is a hazard to air traffic and must be lowered.

The FAA's review found that the height of the north turbine - which measures 462 feet from the tip of the blade to the ground - "exceeds obstruction standards and/or would have an adverse physical or electromagnetic interference" upon air traffic. The north turbine would be located 5 miles south of the New Bedford Regional Airport.

The FAA recommends lowering the height to 417 feet.

However, the FAA suggests the town could hire an engineering firm to do ground elevations and, if the findings meet with their satisfaction, they would allow a height of 428 feet.

Dr. Ronald DiPippo, chairman of the town's Alternative Energy Committee, said the height of the pole to the hub would have to be reduced to 293 feet from 328 feet to achieve a maximum height of 428 feet, or to 282 feet for a maximum height of 417 feet.

The ruling only applies to the north turbine. The town's application for the south turbine is pending with the FAA.

Select Board Chairman Joseph L. Michaud said the town will conduct a... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

DARTMOUTH - The Federal Aviation Administration has ruled that one of two wind turbines proposed for town-owned land off Chase Road is a hazard to air traffic and must be lowered.

The FAA's review found that the height of the north turbine - which measures 462 feet from the tip of the blade to the ground - "exceeds obstruction standards and/or would have an adverse physical or electromagnetic interference" upon air traffic. The north turbine would be located 5½ miles south of the New Bedford Regional Airport.

The FAA recommends lowering the height to 417 feet.

However, the FAA suggests the town could hire an engineering firm to do ground elevations and, if the findings meet with their satisfaction, they would allow a height of 428 feet.

Dr. Ronald DiPippo, chairman of the town's Alternative Energy Committee, said the height of the pole to the hub would have to be reduced to 293 feet from 328 feet to achieve a maximum height of 428 feet, or to 282 feet for a maximum height of 417 feet.

The ruling only applies to the north turbine. The town's application for the south turbine is pending with the FAA.

Select Board Chairman Joseph L. Michaud said the town will conduct a site survey and attempt to win FAA approval for a height of 428 feet.

Michaud said he is confident the FAA will approve the south turbine at a height of 462 feet because it would be located farther from the airport than the north turbine.

The ruling, which is expected to reduce the project's economic benefits because the stronger winds are at higher elevations, was greeted with some disappointment but also acceptance.

"I can certainly live with 428 (feet). The economics are still certainly excellent," DiPippo said. "One hundred or 90 (meters) is a small difference. The project is still stupendous."

"I'm disappointed, but they made a decision for safety reasons," said Select Board member Lara H. Stone. "What are you going to do? They are doing their job."

"I'm not surprised. We figured there would be some adjustments to the project," Michaud said. "It's not a major adjustment and it should be more favorable with the people who have concerns about the height."

DiPippo said the savings to the town on electricity would be $510,000 in the first year if the FAA allows two turbines with 293-foot hubs. He said the benefit would have been about $100,000 higher with 328-foot hubs.

David Costa, one of a group of neighbors who are opposed to the project, was pleased with the news, saying he prefers smaller turbines.

However, he said his main concern was the location of the turbines and he believes there should be a larger buffer zone between the structures and homes.

The FAA's ruling does not change the location of the turbines.

The announcement of the FAA's decision comes on the heels of the unanimous approval Monday night by the Select Board of a special permit for two 100-meter (328-foot hub) turbines.

Town officials said they will not have to refile the permit application, explaining the motion to approve the turbines was for any height up to a maximum approved by the FAA.

Michaud and Stone said the FAA's decision will also not affect the Select Board's decision to seek borrowing authority at a special Town Meeting on Jan. 26 to finance the purchase of the turbines. They said they will proceed with the town's request for Town Meeting approval to borrow the money for the turbines.


Source: http://www.southcoasttoday....

JAN 8 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/24023-dartmouth-wind-turbine-obstructs-airport-traffic-faa-rules
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