Articles filed under Noise from Maine
Currently there is no effective, reliable noise mitigation for wind turbines of this size other than shutdown. Therefore, at this time it appears appropriate that proposed wind turbine sites should position wind turbines at least one mile away from residential properties and further for sites with more than one wind turbine.
The board of Fox Island Electric Cooperative and the project manager, Harvard Business School professor George Baker, repeatedly claimed to the Vinalhaven community that the wind turbine facility is operating according to state noise standards, denying the significant distress experienced by neighbors.
The cost of wind turbines has been shifted onto neighbors who never imagined these kinds of burdens when the benefits of wind energy were sold to the public. It is wrong and it is unfair to impose both the noise and the uncertainty of resolution - or if there will ever be resolution - on a few nearby homeowners.
As more wind projects are developed closer to communities in densely populated areas, a number of homeowners within close range are complaining about noise. This often raises the question: "When does wind become an unacceptable source of noise pollution?"
Residents expressed grievances about turbine noise at a Thursday meeting that allowed islanders to ask questions of two wind professionals who will be collecting noise data in an attempt to identify specific mechanical perpetrators.
Sally Wylie, another neighbor of the wind farm who lives less than a mile away from the turbines, didn't parse her words. She was thoroughly frustrated. "They said it would sound like the humming of a refrigerator. That didn't seem so bad," said Wylie. But Wylie said it isn't like a refrigerator. "It sounds like a jetport."
The prospect of cheaper "green" electricity, even at significant cost to private citizens, appears to be totally acceptable to these entrepreneurial wind developers, and now with the Department of Energy in Washington DC involved, actually "exciting." However, for many of the 106 Vinalhaven households within the 1.5 mile FIW noise umbrella, the daily turbine experience is vastly different. Our feelings of "excitement" would best be described as outrage.
An acoustical engineer will be on hand at 6:30 p.m. May 19 at the Community Center to answer questions about the sound levels that likely would be generated by a proposed wind farm in Eastbrook. Peter Guldberg of Tech Environmental Inc. in Waltham, Mass., will appear before the Comprehensive Plan Committee to offer his best estimation of the decibel levels generated by various turbines.
A doctor who has studied the health effects of a commercial wind power project in northern Maine brought his conclusion to the State House Friday morning, May 7. "There is absolutely no doubt that people living within 3,500 feet of a ridge line arrangement of 1.5 megawatts or larger turbines in a rural environment will suffer negative effects."
This northern Maine town became the most recent to enact a wind ordinance after residents approved the new municipal regulation basing industrial turbine setbacks on sound levels rather than geographic distance. About 200 voters acted on the proposed ordinance during the annual town meeting Monday night, the only time by law when ordinances may be approved or amended.
Imagine how you would feel if turbines were built in your neighborhood and suddenly you were forced into an unimaginable situation? There are so many families in Maine that are overwhelmed trying to deal with problems related to wind farms because the Maine state noise regulations are outdated.
Fox Islands Wind used an unusual and possibly misleading method to calculate what area should be designated a "quiet zone" around its wind turbines, a state environmental official confirmed. Jim Cassida, director of the Department of Environmental Protection's land resource regulation division, said when Fox Islands Wind collected its data it excluded periods when winds were below 3 mph. This skews the results by "taking out the quietest time," he said.
Since the Fox Island Wind Project started running last November, all eyes have been on Vinalhaven. The $15-million dollar project was built to provide power for Vinalhaven and North Haven. While it's been widely thought of as a success, there have been some issues, mostly concerns about noise. "My quality of life before the wind turbines was fantastic…it was very quiet, a remarkable quality of life, a rare opportunity," says Vinalhaven resident Ethan Hall.
For Ethan Hall, who lives 3,500 feet from a wind turbine on Vinalhaven, being subjected to the turbine's sound is like listening to a drippy faucet -- "torture." "I wouldn't be here if it was easy to get used to," Hall said at a Feb. 19 press conference at the Statehouse Hall of Flags. "The sound is different from anything I have ever heard. It is an intense pulsing. It is impossible to block or mask this noise." Hall wasn't the only person voicing his opinion at the press conference.
Wind energy is generating some bad vibes in Maine, it seems, where some residents of an offshore village have turned against the industrial-sized turbines they originally welcomed on their island.
In Vinalhaven, a small island community off the coast of central Maine, the recent installation of three massive wind towers was hailed by residents and developers as the answer to the island's energy woes, but as soon as the turbines started turning this past November, some local residents began to regret what they now feel was a "devil's bargain."
Art Farnham is trying to ignore the noise, although he can clearly hear it inside his mobile home. A lobsterman who lives 1,300 feet from a turbine, Farnham turned down an offer to buy his 6-acre property. He continues working on a new home and shop that will have a turbine almost in its backyard. "I think they should shut them down," he said. "We were here before they were."
The turbines were running, the community had pulled together, and with the support of the Fox Islands Electric Cooperative Inc. et.al. ...the dream of community-based wind power on Vinalhaven was a reality! ..."We support the windmills, but not the noise." The noise is as constant as the wind, building in intensity according to wind speed and direction. It can be a low rumbling, whooshing, grinding background noise that one can just hear above the sound of the trees or it can build to an in-your-face noise, like jet engines roaring combined with a grinding and pulsating sound that echoes in your head, keeps you awake at night, and beats on your house like a drum.
This week, Concerned Citizens to Save Roxbury appealed the Maine Department of Environmental Protection's approval of the Record Hill Wind Project. The group wants the DEP's board to hold a public hearing to explore conflicting medical and technical information regarding the licensing of large wind turbine projects. The appeal comes while Gov. John Baldacci is on a trade mission in Europe to promote Maine as an attractive place to develop wind power.
At the Maine Medical Association's annual meeting, the group took up the issue of wind energy and public health. The MMA approved a resolution, submitted by Dr. Albert Aniel and Dr. Michael Nissenbaum, to encourage studies of the health effects of wind turbines.