Library filed under Shadow Flicker from Massachusetts
After more than a year, the Board of Health wants to revisit a shadow flicker regulation for Kingston wind turbines.
Several dozen people filled the lower conference room at Bourne Town Hall during the Bourne Board of Health meeting on December 10 to voice their opinion on a proposed Plymouth wind farm that would border Bournedale. Most of the residents spoke in opposition to the project brought before the board by cranberry farm owner Keith A. Mann.
Board membevoted 3-2 Tuesday night to table a decision on whether to adopt a regulation until they have additional information. Board members cited the lack of a final, revised flicker study as one reason to delay a decision. A flicker study, the results of which were released in June 2013, was deemed to be incomplete.
Board of Health member Toni Cushman said the board must keep the discussion going on a regulation that can be applied retroactively because of the importance of protecting residents from the nuisance that is flicker.
Town Meeting voters quickly approved a moratorium on industrial wind turbines Tuesday night but debated implementing a regulation on flicker that could be prohibitive for new wind turbine projects. The final vote was 101-43; the measure passed by the needed two-thirds majority.
The EAPC analysis indicated an increase in shadow flicker at 151 Driftway as 69 hours per year compared with 51 hours per year as predicted by an earlier shadow flicker study. The residential property of 151 Drifttway is located 640 feet from the base of the turbine.
If turbine owners are required to install strobe control systems, the arbitrary guideline of 30 hours per year will no longer be relevant, Thompson said. “Mandating the owners to install the technology would take the guesswork out and shut off the turbine until the conditions no longer exists.”
he Green Energy Committee wants to hire a different consultant to conduct a new flicker study of the Independence wind turbine. In his presentation to the Planning Board Monday night, Mark Beaton said the study conducted by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center for the town is flawed and should not be replied upon for factual information.
Board of Health Chairman Joe Casna said the board needs to follow the advice of town counsel and carefully approach regulating turbines, in this case for flicker, using science, or risk a lawsuit. He said the town would then have a basis for negotiating mitigating measures. ...When Board of Health member Toni Cushman asked about the possibility of seeking relief for the residents, Casna said the wind turbine operators show no desire to take action.
Leland Road resident Dan Alves said flicker is more than a nuisance; it's a clear health hazard. He also pressed for the Planning Board to limit flicker to zero hours. A new flicker study estimates flicker impacts his home 140 hours a year under the worst-case scenario. "It will give you a headache; it will make you nauseous," he said.
The Board of Health intends to develop its own flicker regulations pertaining to health impacts. Board members plan to hire an independent engineer to review any studies of the local turbines. The health agent will reach out to six companies about setting up interviews.
A more in-depth shadow flicker analysis may be required before the Board of Health is convinced that it should order a reduction in the hours of operation of Kingston's five wind turbines. Board of Health members are asking the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the agency that commissioned the flicker study, to prepare a proposal for conducting a limited, more in-depth study.
In the email, Ruiz responds to a Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (CEC) flicker study which found that some residences in Kingston receive over 80 hours of shadow flicker annually. "Mark [Beaton] and Pine [duBois] please spread the word [the CEC's flicker study] is largely nonsense," Ruiz writes in the scathing email.
The results of the analysis come as no surprise to residents who have documented the flicker effect in their homes ...They have said all along the estimated 30 hours of flicker a year that was anticipated was grossly inadequate. ...188 properties are expected to receive greater than 10 flicker hours per year; 54 are expected to receive greater than 30 flicker hours per year.
Of these 808, according to the results, 188 are expected to realistically receive greater than 10 flicker hours per year and 54 are expected to realistically receive greater than 30 flicker hours per year.
All five wind turbines in Kingston - the Independence, Mary O'Donnell's three turbines and the T's turbine - will be part of a shadow flicker study coordinated by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. Monday night, the Board of Health informed residents and others at a meeting for discussion of possible new shadow flicker regulations that the study would start this week. A report from the contractor CEC chooses to conduct the study would be completed by June 10.
The nineteen turbine Hoosac wind facility (28.5 megawatts) owned and operated by Iberdrola Renewables makes its presence known to a community in the harshest way -- through noise emissions and strobing shadows. Duration: 8 seconds
Burbine, 64, a small-business owner, said the residents who live near the turbine, which is off the Driftway, need relief. ..."You can't help but feel empathy, and (I'm) so sad for those people that are dealing with all of this without any real recourse," Burbine said."If we've got to spend a little bit of money, risk-wise, to say, ‘OK, let's turn it off from 7 p.m. at least until first thing in the morning,' we might risk $100,000," Gilmore said. "What's $100,000 (if we're protecting residents)?"
Dan Alves calls the shadows thrown by the rotating blades a "nightmare" he deals with about 16 weeks a year when the sun sets behind the turbine. "It's an invasion of my property," he said from the deck outside his back door. Alves said he particularly worries about his son, a ninth-grader who was diagnosed with epilepsy as a young child. ...At the request of town officials, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center recently agreed to examine the issue.
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center has agreed to commission a shadow flicker study of Kingston's wind turbines. Massachusetts Clean Energy Center spokesman Catherine Williams confirmed there will be a study.