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Noise tops turbine angst

A public consultation in the Montgomery neighbourhood Wednesday became open season for residents to air concerns about a proposed wind turbine at the Saskatoon landfill. ..."The main concerns I've heard that are typical for any wind power development are sound from the wind turbine, shadow flicker, and we heard some concerns about vibration," said Kevin Hudson, the city's alternative energy engineer. Additionally, people are worried about the esthetics.

Residents share concerns on pitch for power project

A public consultation in the Montgomery neighbourhood Wednesday became open season for residents to air concerns about a proposed wind turbine at the Saskatoon landfill.

Reaction was mixed toward a proposal to build a $5-million, 80-metre high turbine at the landfill, with questions flying about sound pollution and cost.

"The main concerns I've heard that are typical for any wind power development are sound from the wind turbine, shadow flicker, and we heard some concerns about vibration," said Kevin Hudson, the city's alternative energy engineer. Additionally, people are worried about the esthetics.

"It's very much dependent on the person whether they like to look at it or not. It's a good symbol for the city of Saskatoon as being environmentally responsible, but some people don't appreciate it in their backyard."

A meteorological tower will be erected in May, which will test wind speed. It must be in place for at least a year before the city can purchase a turbine. The assessments will be followed by a second round of public consultations, which, like the test results, have the potential to derail the project.

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Residents share concerns on pitch for power project

A public consultation in the Montgomery neighbourhood Wednesday became open season for residents to air concerns about a proposed wind turbine at the Saskatoon landfill.

Reaction was mixed toward a proposal to build a $5-million, 80-metre high turbine at the landfill, with questions flying about sound pollution and cost.

"The main concerns I've heard that are typical for any wind power development are sound from the wind turbine, shadow flicker, and we heard some concerns about vibration," said Kevin Hudson, the city's alternative energy engineer. Additionally, people are worried about the esthetics.

"It's very much dependent on the person whether they like to look at it or not. It's a good symbol for the city of Saskatoon as being environmentally responsible, but some people don't appreciate it in their backyard."

A meteorological tower will be erected in May, which will test wind speed. It must be in place for at least a year before the city can purchase a turbine. The assessments will be followed by a second round of public consultations, which, like the test results, have the potential to derail the project.

The turbine must also be approved by city council before construction would begin.

Hudson said the project will not be audible from 700 metres, which will be the distance of the closest Montgomery-area home. After 250 metres, turbines have levels below 40 decibels, Hudson said.

Sherri Buckle came to the meeting with her hands full of research papers. She'll be living 750 metres from the proposed turbine, and has concerns about sound pollution, the danger of falling ice and shadow flicker, which is caused when the sun is behind the spinning blades of a turbine, creating a pulsating light effect inside nearby buildings.

"The studies are still ongoing and I think that's why I'm wondering if we're not being a little too hasty," said Buckle. "I am green, and I thought wind turbines were fine until I started reading and realizing all wind turbines and wind farms aren't necessarily as green as they're made out to be."

Buckle believes a focus should be placed on power conservation before new construction of energy sources.

The Ontario government has put in place regulations that require wind turbines to be at least 550 metres away from any residence because of the noise, and is now determining if they should be farther away, Buckle said.

In 2006, the French National Academy of Medicine issued a report concluding the harmful effects of wind turbines are insufficiently assessed and recommended halting wind turbine construction at sites closer than 1.5 kilometres from residences.

Still, a number of residents believe studying the turbine is worthwhile.

"I think the negative parts are pretty minimal, contrary to what you may have heard here," said Joe Dudiak, a Montgomery resident who lives close to the landfill. He believes it's worth at least conducting the study to find out if the work is feasible.

"From a perspective of whether or not it meets science, whether or not it meets economics, I'm confident they've done the studies and certainly people have views . . . but from the engineering perspective and the climate perspective, I'm convinced it's sound," said Doug Grant.

"I'm certainly in favour of it. I've been adjacent to much larger wind farms and I'm confident that the noise will not be a factor, and I live in Montgomery."

The turbine is one of three city power generation projects in the preliminary stages, including a methane gas capture facility that will turn methane from trash into an energy source and a turboexpander project that will use excess heat to generate power for the grid.

The project marks the first time in more than 80 years the city has attempted to generate its own power.

The wind turbine has the potential to create revenue and provide power to 600 homes, or one per cent of Saskatoon Light and Power's 57,000 customers.

If approved, $2.35 million of the project's cost will be cost shared by Ottawa and the province.

A second public consultation will be held in Holiday Park today, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at St. John School gymnasium, 1205 Ave. South.


Source: http://www.thestarphoenix.c...

APR 22 2010
https://www.windaction.org/posts/25845-noise-tops-turbine-angst
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