Resource Documents: Maine (43 items)
Documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are provided to assist anyone wishing to research the issue of industrial wind power and the impacts of its development. The information should be evaluated by each reader to come to their own conclusions about the many areas of debate.
Author: Town of Freedom, Maine
9.1 Wind Turbine Classifications
Type 1 – Small Wind Turbine means a wind turbine with a nameplate capacity less than 10 kW, and a turbine height less than 150 feet.
Type 2 – Intermediate Wind Turbine means a wind turbine with a nameplate capacity between 10 kW and 100 kW, and a turbine height less than 150′.
Type 3 – Large Wind Turbine means up to three wind turbines with a nameplate capacity less than 1 MW, and a turbine height less than 300′, regardless of whether approval is required by the Department of Environmental Protection under 35-A M.R.S.A. §3451, et seq. (Expedited Permitting of Grid-Scale Wind Energy) or Title 38 M.R.S.A § 481, et seq. (Site Location of Development Act).
Type 4 – Industrial Wind Turbine means one or more wind turbines with a Nameplate capacity of greater than or equal to 1 MW, and/or a turbine height greater than 300′, regardless of whether approval is required by the Department of Environmental Protection under 35-A M.R.S.A. §3451, et seq. (Expedited Permitting of Grid-Scale Wind Energy) or Title 38 M.R.S.A § 481, et seq. (Site Location of Development Act).
13.1 Setback Standards
13.1.1 Setback standards for Type 1 Wind Turbines:
a. Non-participating Landowner Property Lines –Type 1 Wind Turbines less than or equal to 100′ shall be set back from the property line of any Nonparticipating Landowner a distance of no less than 1.5 times the turbine height. Type 1 Wind Turbines greater than 100′ and less than 150′ shall be set back from the property line of any Non-participating Landowner a distance of no less than 3 times the turbine height. Non-participating property owners may waive this setback with a written Mitigation Waiver. (See Section 13.4 -Mitigation Waiver), but in no event shall any Wind Turbine be located at a distance from an Occupied Building that is less than the height of the Turbine.
b. Public Roads – Type 1 Wind Turbines shall be set back from any public road, from the edge of the right of way, a distance no less than 1.5 times the turbine height.
13.1.2 Setback standards for Type 2, 3, and 4 wind turbines:
a. Non-participating Landowner Property Lines – Type 2, 3 and 4 Wind Turbines To protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Freedom, Turbines shall be set back from the property line of any non-participating land owner a distance of no less than 13 times the turbine height. Nonparticipating property owners may waive this setback with a written Mitigation Waiver (see Section 13.4 – Mitigation Waiver), but in no event shall any WindTurbine be located at a distance from an Occupied Building that is less than the height of the Turbine.
b. Public Roads – Type 2, 3 and 4 Wind Turbines will be set back from any public road, from the edge of the right of way, a distance no less than 4 times the turbine height.
13.1.3 Setbacks from Scenic or Special Resources:
All Wind Turbines exceeding 80 feet or average tree height on site, whichever is greater, must be set back a minimum of 2,500 feet from any Scenic or Special Resource as defined in Section 8.
13.2 Noise Standards
13.2.1 Noise Standards for Type 1 and 2 wind turbines:
For Type 1and Type 2 Wind Turbines, audible noise levels (dBA)at any property line due to wind turbine operations shall not exceed 35 dB(A) from 6 AM (8 AM on Sundays) to 8:30 PM and 30 dB(A) from 8:30 PM to 6 AM (8 AM on Sundays). Property owners may waive this noise restriction with a written Mitigation Waiver. (see Section 13.4 -Mitigation Waiver).
13.2.2 Noise Standards for Type 3 and 4 wind turbines:
a. Audible noise levels (dBA) due to wind turbine operation shall not exceed either of the following two conditions:
1. The pre-construction ambient noise level by more than 5dBA as measured at any property line. Pre-construction ambient noise studies shall be conducted, by the applicant, for all properties located within 2 times the setback of proposed wind turbine site.
2. The audible noise levels will not exceed 40 dBA during the day or 35 dBA during the night.
b. Low frequency noise levels (dBC) due to wind turbine operation as measured inside an occupied building or at any property line will not exceed:
1. 20 decibels (measured as dBC) above the pre-construction ambient noise level (measured as dBA). Pre-construction ambient noise studies shall be conducted, by the applicant, for all properties located within 2 times the setback of proposed wind turbine site.
2. 50 dBC.
13.3.1 Wind Turbines shall be designed and sited so that shadow flicker and/or blade reflection will not fall on a shadow flicker receptor as defined in Section 8. The flicker or reflection shall not exceed 10 hours per year for any given receptor.
16.7.1 Wind Turbine Projects shall be sited and operated so that they do not interfere with emergency (fire, police/sheriff, ambulance) radio two way communications (base stations, mobile, and hand held radios, including digital) and/or paging, television, telephone (including cellular and digital), microwave, satellite (dish), navigational, internet or radio reception to neighboring areas. The Owner/operator of the project shall be responsible for the full cost of any remediation necessary to provide equivalent alternate service or correct any problems, including relocation or removal of the Wind Turbine, and any and all related transmission lines, transformers, and other components related to the interference.
23.0 Decommissioning Standards
23.1 The Owner/operator shall, at its expense, complete decommissioning of the Wind Turbine Project within:
1) twelve (12) months after the end of the useful life of the Wind Turbine as determined by the Owner/operator or;
2) as specified in the materials provided at the time of application or;
3) pursuant to remedies described in Section 22.8, The Wind Turbine will be presumed to be at the end of its useful life if no electricity is generated for a continuous period of twelve (12) months.
23.2 Decommissioning shall include removal of wind turbines and foundations to a depth of 36 inches. All buildings, cabling, electrical components, roads, and any other associated facilities shall be removed unless, at the end of the Turbine or Wind Turbine Project‟s useful life, as determined in accordance with section 23.1, the Applicant provides written evidence of plans for continued beneficial use of these components of the Wind Turbine Project.
23.3 Except as otherwise provided by section 23.2, disturbed earth shall be graded and re-seeded, unless the Participating Landowner of the affected land requests otherwise in writing. Any alterations to Town roads or property during decommissioning must be approved by the Town.
23.4 Special Decommissioning Standards for Type, 3 and 4 Wind Turbine Projects
23.4.1 An independent and certified Professional Engineer shall be retained to estimate the total cost of decommissioning (“Decommissioning Costs”) without regard to salvage value of the equipment and the cost of decommissioning net salvage value of the equipment (“Net Decommissioning Costs”). The Planning Board shall review the estimates and determine the amount of decommissioning funds that must be guaranteed prior to operation of the Wind Turbine Project. Additional estimates by an independent and certified Professional Engineer shall be submitted to the Code Enforcement Officer every fifth year after approval, along with the application for renewal of the Operational License, and additional funds shall be guaranteed at that time if necessary in accordance with the revised estimate.
23.4.2 The Owner/operator shall post and maintain decommissioning funds in an amount equal to Net Decommissioning Costs; provided that at no point shall decommissioning funds be less than twenty five percent (25%) of Decommissioning Costs. The decommissioning funds shall be posted and maintained with a bonding company or Federal or State-chartered lending institution chosen by the Owner/operator and Participating Landowner posting the financial security, provided that the bonding company or lending institution is authorized to conduct such business within the State and is approved by the Town of Freedom, whose approval shall not be unreasonably withheld. Adequate funds shall be posted or guaranteed before the Code Enforcement Officer may issue an Operational License to the Owner/operator.
Appendix A – Noise Measurement Standards and Procedures
1. A qualified independent acoustical consultant shall conduct all noise studies. The acoustical consultant shall be hired by and report to the Permitting Authority during the permitting review stage, and by the Code Enforcement Officer for review of any suspected violations or for review of an Operational License.
2. Sound level meters and calibration equipment must comply with the latest version of the American National Standards Institute “American Standard Specifications for General Purpose Sound Level Meters” (ANSI Standard S1.4) and shall have been calibrated at a recognized laboratory within one month prior to the initiation of the study.
3. Except as specifically noted otherwise, measurements shall be conducted in compliance with ANSI Standard S12.18-1994 “Outdoor Measurements of Sound Pressure.
4. Prior to permit application approval, a pre-construction ambient noise level study shall be conducted at each Occupied Building within 2 miles of any proposed Wind Turbine.
5. The tests shall be conducted using both an A-weighting scale (dBA) and low frequency C weighting scale (dBC).
6. Tests shall be reflective of seasonal changes to vegetation and atmospheric conditions. At a minimum one set of tests should be performed during each of the four (4) calendar seasons of the year.
7. All measuring points shall be located in consultation with the property owners and such that no significant obstruction blocks noise and vibration to the site.
8. Outdoor noise level measurements must be taken at 6 feet above the ground and at least 15 feet from any reflective surface.
9. Duration of measurements shall be a minimum of ten continuous minutes for each criteria at each location.
10. Measurements must be made when the wind levels are less than 4.5 mph and with appropriate wind screening for the recording device.
11. Measurements should be obtained during representative weather conditions when the Wind Turbine noise is most noticeable, including periods of temperature inversion most commonly occurring at night.
12. Measurements shall be taken at each of the following three time periods:
- Day (10 a.m. – 2p.m.)
- Evening (7p.m. -11 p.m.)
- Night (12 midnight – 4 a.m.)
13. Each measurement shall be replicated during the same time period over three different days within the same season for a total of 9 measurements per location per season (i.e., three daytime measurements in the winter, three evening measurements in the winter, three night time measurements in the winter). The lowest of the three measurements per time period, per season, will be used to determine the pre-construction ambient noise for that time period and season.
14. For each measurement the following minimum criteria will be recorded:
- Lmax, Leq, L10 and L90 in dBA (Lmax: the maximum noise level measured; Leq: average noise level for a given period time; L10: sound level exceeded 10% of the time; L90: sound level exceeded 90 % of the time, generally equivalent to ambient noise.)
- Lmax, Leq, L10 and L90 in dBC
- A narrative description of any intermittent noises registered during each measurement
- Wind speed and direction at time of measurement
- Description of weather conditions at time of measurement
- Description of topography and contours relative to proposed or actual Wind Turbines
15. A 5 dBA and/or a 5 dBC penalty shall be applied for short duration repetitive noise or repetitive impulse noise. This is a characteristic “thumping” or “whooshing” sometimes exhibited by larger Wind Turbines. Per Maine TA Bulletin #4, intermittent noise is a more serious nuisance than constant noise.
16. A 5 dBA penalty shall be applied for tonal noise. This is a single or limited frequency noise (vs. broadband noise) associated with mechanical noise artifacts (i.e. high pitched whining, screeching, buzzing). Per Maine TA Bulletin #4, noise over a narrow frequency is a more serious nuisance than broadband noise.
17. For sites being measured with existing Wind Turbines two sets of measurements are required: 1) one set with the Wind Turbine(s) off and; 2) one set with the Wind Turbine(s) running.
18. For nuisance complaints after the Wind Turbines are operational, the measurement points, season, time, and duration of measurements shall be selected in consultation with the affected property owner. If requested by the property owner, continuous measurements may be taken for longer periods of time to capture intermittent nuisance noise patterns.
19. When conducting their pre-construction noise prediction analysis, the Applicant shall make specific reference to: 1) the unique aspect of the mountainous contours and terrain of the area and its effect on noise predictability and 2) line source noise predictions ( emanating from a line of Wind Turbines) in addition to the traditional single point source predictions.
20. Any noise level falling between two (2) whole decibels shall be deemed the higher of the two.
Author: Dixfield, Maine
Section 11. Approval and Performance Standards
A WEFU or WEFS shall comply with the following setback requirements. If more than one (1) set back requirement applies, the greater set back distance shall be met. All measurements shall be based on horizontal distances.
11.1.1 All WEFUs shall be set back a horizontal distance of four thousand (4,000) feet from any Occupied Building in Dixfield and two thousand (2,000) feet from the boundaries of the Project Parcel unless the Applicant submits in writing: 1) a waiver of the Occupied Building setback signed by the pertinent abutting landowner and; 2) evidence such as operating protocols, safety programs, or recommendations from the manufacturer or a licensed professional engineer with appropriate expertise and experience with WEFUs, demonstrating that the reduced set back proposed by the Applicant will not cause the WEFU to violate any other approval standards of this Ordinance.
11.1.2 All WEFUs must be set back a minimum of four thousand (4,000) feet from any Scenic or Special Resource as defined in Section 4.0 of this Ordinance.
11.1.3 Each WEFU shall be equipped with an over-speed control system that: 1) includes both an aerodynamic control such as stall regulation, variable blade pitch or other similar system and a mechanical brake that operates in fail safe mode; or 2) has been designed by the manufacturer or a licensed engineer and found by the Board, based on its review of a written description of the design and function of the system, to meet the needs of public safety.
11.1.4 WEFUs shall be setback a horizontal distance equivalent to one hundred and fifty percent (150%) of the Turbine Height from Project Boundaries, Occupied Buildings, public and private rights-of-way and overhead utility lines that are not part of the proposed WEFS. No waiver of this standard is permitted. …
11.10.2 Sound Limits
No Permit shall be issued if the pre-permit information or sound study indicates that the proposed WEFU or WEFS will not comply with the following requirements, which are to apply at all Sensitive Receptors within four thousand (4,000) feet of any WEFU, except on Project Parcel(s) or on a Participating Parcel(s) which is subject to a Mitigation Waiver which specifies different sound limits than those below.
If pre-construction estimates of the post-construction sound levels exceed the limits below, then the WEFU or WEFS Application shall be denied; if these limits are exceeded after the WEFU or WEFS has been built, then the WEFU or WEFS will be in violation of this Ordinance:
A. The sound limits below are stated in terms of LeqA (post). Prior to construction of the WEFU or WEFS, the “pre” values are as measured and the “post” values are as calculated. After the WEFU or WEFS has been constructed, the “pre” values are the WEF-OFF values and the “post” values are the WEF-ON values.
B. Audible Sound Limit
1) No WEFU or WEFS shall be located so as to generate post-construction sound levels that exceed thirty-five (35) dBA at night (7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.) or forty-five (45) dBA during the day (7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.) anywhere in the Town beyond the boundaries of the Project Parcel and all Participating Parcels whose owners have waived noise restrictions.
2) No WEFU shall be allowed to operate if it exceeds fifty (50) dBC anywhere in the Town beyond the boundaries of the Project Parcel and all Participating Parcels whose owners have waived noise restrictions. …
D. Post-Construction Sound Measurements. Starting within twelve (12) months after the date when the WEFU or WEFS has begun operating, a post-construction sound study shall be performed for all WEFUs or WEFSs that are operating. Post-construction sound studies shall be conducted by a Qualified Independent Acoustical Consultant. The Permittee shall also pay for a Qualified Independent Acoustical Consultant chosen by the Planning Board to review the Permittee’s study. The Permittee shall deposit the estimated cost of such review upon notification by the Board. The Town’s consultant may observe the Permittee’s consultant’s monitoring. The Permittee shall provide all technical information required by the Board or Independent Qualified Acoustical Consultant before, during, and/or after any acoustical studies required by this document and for local area acoustical measurements. The Post-construction sound measurements shall be repeated every three (3) years throughout the life of the facility and submitted to the Code Enforcement Officer. The applicant may seek a waiver from the Code Enforcement Officer of all but the first post-construction measurements if no valid noise complaints are received during the previous three (3) year period.
E. Pre-construction and post-construction monitoring shall report sound levels in terms of LeqA, L90A, LeqC, and L90C for each hour of the monitoring period.
Author: Fox Islands Wind Neighbors
It is a sad spectacle for the citizens of the State of Maine (and more than that for the Fox Islands Wind Neighbors, the “Neighbors”) to see the Department of Environmental Protection (the “DEP”), the state agency charged with the responsibility to protect us from environmental harm, align itself with Fox Islands Wind, LLC (“FIW”) to grant a de facto exemption from the Noise Rule and then responding in court with claims that it has the absolute right to do so without judicial oversight. It is even worse that the Commissioner responsible for this was in a highly compromised position, having been employed as an industry lobbyist for the very same law firm asking for such special treatment weeks before she issued the Condition Compliance Order (the “CCO”) at issue in this appeal.
A. Issues about Excessive Noise in Connection with the Licensing of the Project.
B. Noise Complaints Following Commencement of Operations.
C. DEP’s Finding of Non-Compliance and FIW’s Refusal to Cooperate.
D. Events Leading to the Challenged Condition Compliance Order.
I. The Superior Court correctly ruled that it had jurisdiction over the petition for review and that the neighbors have standing.
II. The Superior Court correctly ruled that the CCO is unlawful.
III. The Superior Court erred by dismissing the neighbors’ First Amendment retaliation claim.
For the reasons stated above, the Neighbors respectfully request this Court to affirm the decision of the Superior Court that the CCO is invalid as a product of arbitrary and capricious action, without substantial evidence to support it, and an abuse of discretion and hold that the Neighbors have established a valid First Amendment retaliation claim under Rule 80C, with allowance for an award of attorney’s fees or, in the alternative, that they have set forth a plausible claim under Section 1983 of First Amendment retaliation that may proceed on as an independent claim. The Neighbors further request that the matter be remanded back to the Superior Court so that the matter can be remanded to the DEP with detailed instructions on the parameters of a valid CCO.
Dated: August 5, 2014
Rufus E. Brown, Esq.
BROWN & BURKE
Attorney for the Fox Islands Wind Neighbors and the Individual Petitioners
Author: Town of Sumner (Maine)
An IWEF shall comply with the following setback requirements, which shall apply in addition to the construction requirements found elsewhere in this ordinance. If more than one (1) setback requirement applies, the greater setback distance shall be met. …
A Minimal Fixed Distance of one (1) mile (5,280 ft.) is required from the outer edge of the base of each IWT to the closest point on any property line of any non-participating property in Sumner. …
Sound Restriction Requirements
All acoustical instrumentation and sound measurement protocol conducted under the ordinance shall meet all the requirements of the following ANSI and IEC Standards cited in the Appendix.
1. Audible Sound Restrictions
No IWEF shall be allowed to operate if, it exceeds (35) dBA day or night, anywhere in the Town, or the pre-construction L90A+5dB whichever is more restrictive. Background Sound Level L90 results are valid when L10 results are no more than 15 dBA above L90 for the same time period. Pre-construction background noise studies for audible noise shall be conducted by a qualified independent acoustical consultant selected by the Board for all properties any part of whose property lines are located within two (2) miles of an IWT. Such background noise studies shall also be conducted before a new Owner/Operator’s application is approved by the Board and every three years during the operational life of the IWEF, unless such a study has already been conducted during the previous twelve (12) months.
2. Low Frequency Sound Restrictions
a. Sumner baseline background noise levels (separate dBA numbers measured for day and night) plus fifteen (15) equals the maximum dBC levels allowed, but never exceeding 50 dBC anywhere in the Town. If the day or night dBC levels are lower than 50 dBC, the most restrictive of these noise levels shall control.
b. No IWEF or individual IWT shall be approved if pre-construction sound modeling and studies indicate, by a preponderance of the evidence, that to do so would cause any of the above noise restrictions to be exceeded.
c. Pre-construction background noise studies for infra and low frequency sound shall be conducted by a qualified independent acoustical consultant selected by the Board for all properties any part of whose property lines are located within two (2) miles of any IWT. Such background noise studies shall also be conducted before a new owner/operators application for an operational license is approved by the Board and every three years during the operational life of the IWEF, unless such a study has already been conducted during the previous twelve (12) Months.
3. Post-Construction Sound Measurements/Testing
a. The Owner/Operator shall continually collect sound level and MET data at several key locations on the turbines and around the perimeter of the IWEF as determined by the Board with consultation from an acoustical engineer of their choice. Such data collection, to continue throughout the full life time of the IWEF, will be transmitted in a form, frequency, format and distribution acceptable to the Board.
b. Summary reports of any and all exceedances or complaints, with explanations as to what they were, why they happened and what action occurred to correct the problem(s) must be sent to the Board on a monthly basis. All sound/Met data, in a format acceptable to the Board, must be sent to the Board quarterly and when requested for complaint resolution(s).
c. Sound measurement studies conducted by an independent acoustical consultant selected by the Board will determine sound levels immediately after construction of the IWEF, first with all IWTs operating and then with all IWTs shut down. Such tests will be repeated on multiple days and during different weather conditions until the consultant is satisfied that sufficient and representative data has been obtained. The results of these studies shall be compared with those conducted prior to construction of the IWEF and reported in writing to the Board for its consideration of noise compliance. These studies shall be conducted for each application for a Permit/Operational License.
d. The IWEF Applicant and/or Owner/Operator shall provide all technical information required by the Board or acoustical consultant before, during, and/or after any acoustical studies required by this document. …
IWEFs may not cause an unreasonable adverse shadow flicker effect at any occupied structure on a Non-Participating Landowner’s property. For the purpose of this section, “unreasonable adverse shadow flicker” means shadow flicker occurring for three (3) days or more in any one (1) month that, if annualized, would total more than twelve (12) hours of flicker per year. The application will not be approved if the study estimates that the duration of the flicker will be such that there are more than twelve (12) hours of flicker per year at any occupied structure located on a Non-Participating Parcel. …
Stray Voltage Assessment and Requirements
1. Following construction of the IWEF and within one (1) year after commencing operation, the Applicant shall conduct a post-construction stray voltage test on all buildings located within a one (1) mile radius of the Project Parcels. An investigator, approved by the Board, using a testing protocol which is approved by the Board, shall perform the tests. A report of the tests shall be provided to the Board and to the owners of all property included in the study area. The Applicant shall seek written permission from property owners prior to conducting testing on private property. The Applicant shall not be required to perform testing on property where the owners have refused to grant permission to conduct the testing.
2. The Owner/Operator shall provide neutral isolation devices to property owners where testing reveals neutral-to-earth voltages in excess of zero point five (0.5) volts caused by the IWEF.
3. The Owner/Operator shall be responsible for all costs incurred with the pre- and post-construction test. …
Re-commissioning & Decommissioning
1. The Owner/Operator shall at its own expense either re-commission or decommission the IWEF at the end of its useful life. The “end of useful life” is defined as: thirty (30) days after the Owner/Operator decides to cease generating electricity or one-hundred eighty (180) days after the IWEF has stopped generating electricity for any reason. The Board may consider alternative timelines based on a written request from the Owner/Operator.
2. Decommissioning shall include removal of IWTs and foundations to a depth of twenty-four (24) inches. All buildings, cabling, electrical components, roads, and any other associated facilities shall be removed unless, at the end of the IWT or IWEF’s useful life, as determined in accordance within this ordinance, the Applicant provides written evidence of plans for continued beneficial use of these components of the IWEF, and this evidence is approved by the Planning Board.
3. Except as otherwise provided elsewhere within this ordinance, disturbed earth shall be graded and re-seeded, unless the Participating Landowner of the affected land requests otherwise in writing.