KINGSTON – It’s looking more likely that the Board of Health will have a vote in July or August on placing further restrictions on operations of the Independence wind turbine.
The board may vote to amend an abatement order approved last fall restricting the hours of operation under certain wind conditions when the turbine is deemed to be out of compliance with state noise regulations, or it could enact a new one.
Board of Health Chairman Bill Watson said the order could be amended by lowering the threshold that needs to be met for the turbine to be shut down or by extending the hours when it must be shut down.
The turbine’s owner, Kingston Wind Independence LLC, believes either could be the case, at least according to a June 10 letter to the Kingston Board of Selectmen from KWI co-owner Bradford Cleaves. The town leases the land for the turbine to KWI and they have a power purchase agreement.
In his letter, Cleaves writes that new findings indicate that nightly shutdowns of the turbine will likely be more extensive and more frequent, addressing the “ongoing regulatory actions taken by the Board of Health regarding hours of operation and noise/nuisance complaints.”.
“The new findings also suggest the addition of a more complicated set of shut-down parameters,” he wrote. “Because the turbine was not designed for this kind of operational scenario, this would likely necessitate a fixed, daily 'blanket' shutdown between certain hours.”
Selectmen did not grant his request for a meeting prior to the June 18 Board of Health meeting when the results of the final sound study report were presented publicly for the first time. He requested the meeting to review KWI’s contract with the town.
Cleaves wrote in his letter about the possible implications of further restrictions on turbine operations.
“If we are going to go this route the energy generation potential for the turbine will be drastically further reduced. It will be impossible to meet our contractual requirements for production to the Town of Kingston and to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (CEC). This will have pejorative implications for our contract with the town and our lease of the landfill site. We will have to renegotiate the contract, declare the site condemned, or pursue some other measures that will involve remuneration and/or a significant change of terms.”
The public presentation to the Board of Health and interested parties last week included a report from consultants Harris Miller Miller and Hanson about additional violations of the state noise regulation and policy that was released back in April.
The state Department of Environmental Protection was challenged by Duxbury resident Joanne Levesque to explain why, if state noise regulations and policy have been violated, the state isn’t taking action against the turbine owner.