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Resource Documents: Maine (45 items)


Unless indicated otherwise, documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are shared here 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. • The copyrights reside with the sources indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations.

Date added:  September 8, 2017
Impacts, MainePrint storyE-mail story

Resolution in opposition to industrial scale wind development in Somerset County, Maine

Author:  Somerset County, Maine, Commissioners

Please be advised that the purpose of this letter is to express the Somerset County Commissioners’ opposition to additional industrial scale wind development and its associated facilities in Somerset County or the Moosehead Lake Region for the following reasons:

  1. The adverse visual impact of 500+ foot wind turbines and associated transmission required for interconnection and other supportive facilities on the world class scenic beauty of Somerset County, the Moosehead Lake Region and its surrounding communities.
  2. The permanent destruction of ridgelines along with the adjacent development areas caused by the construction of over two hundred turbine pads, hundreds of miles of access roads, bridle path transmission corridors, plus utility substations and facility control centers.
  3. The adverse impact on dark/night sky by turbine aviation navigation lighting. The Moosehead Region is renowned for its dark/night sky and has already been effected by the aviation lighting from the Bingham Wind facility 26 miles to the southwest.
  4. The adverse economic and visual impact of the currently proposed industrial wind facilities in the Moosehead Lake Region and surrounding towns and townships. The proposed projects are: NRG’s Somerset Wind, EverPower’s Northwest Wind, Next Era’s Alder and Moose Wind and EDF’s Timberline Wind. Together they could install 231 turbines covering hundreds of thousands of acres.
  5. The potential to permanently alter ridgeline aquifers due to excessive blasting to create 60 foot craters for turbine pads. Many of these aquifers supply sensitive ecosystems. The Moosehead Lake Region is home to exceptional trout ponds and streams and highly diverse wildlife populations including Canadian Lynx, Bald Eagles and the endangered Bicknell’s Thrush. Disruption to these habitats could permanently alter the region’s wildlife populations.
  6. The danger turbines present regarding the many gallons of flammable liquids contained in each turbine and the very real possibility of a fire being ignited in these remote areas. These areas do not have the resources or the manpower to fight a large fire should one occur in one of these remote locations.
  7. The devastating economic impact on local tourism economies throughout the region and surrounding communities. The Moosehead Lake Region is the largest contributor of tourism revenue for Somerset County and a large contributor to Maine’s economy. Tourism is one of the largest employers and revenue generators in Somerset County.
  8. Widespread concern from residents of Somerset County and specifically the Moosehead Lake Region, both full-time and seasonal, for their way of life, their businesses, and their property values.
  9. The results of a recent (May 2017) tourism study underwritten by the John Muir Trust sighting travelers are unwilling to visit areas heavily impacted by wind farms and utility transmission lines. The study states that 55% of respondents would not visit an area subjected to large scale wind farms and their associated utility transmission.

Therefore, the Somerset County Commissioners hereby request that no further industrial wind facilities be permitted or approved in Somerset County and the Moosehead Lake Region.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.


Dawn M. DiBlasi, Esq. Somerset County Administrator
41 Court St.
Skowhegan, ME 04976
Fax: 474-7405; Tel: 474-9861
Email: DDiBlasi@somersetcounty-me.org

Somerset County Commissioners
Newell Graf, Chairman (Dist 4)
Lloyd Trafton, Vice-Chairman (Dist 5)
Cyprian Johnson (Dist 2)
Robert Sezak (Dist 1)
Dean Cray (Dist 3)

To:  Governor LePage, Somerset County Delegates, State of Maine LUPC, DEP, MA Electricity providers

Opposition to Industrial Scale Wind Development in Somerset County, Maine

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Review of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

Author:  Stevenson, David

The nearly decade-old Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) was always meant to be a model for a national program to reduce power plant carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explicitly cited it in this fashion in its now-stayed Clean Power Plan. Although the RGGI is often called a “cap and trade” program, its effect is the same as a direct tax or fee on emissions because RGGI allowance costs are passed on from electric generators to distribution companies to consumers. More recently, an influential group of former cabinet officials, known as the “Climate Leadership Council,” has recommended a direct tax on CO₂; emissions (Shultz and Summers 2017).

Positive RGGI program reviews have been from RGGI, Inc. (the program administrator) and the Acadia Center, which advocates for reduced emissions (see Stutt, Shattuck, and Kumar 2015). In this article, I investigate whether reported reductions in CO₂ emissions from electric power plants, along with associated gains in health benefits and other claims, were actually achieved by the RGGI program. Based on my findings, any form of carbon tax is not the policy to accomplish emission reductions. The key results are:

David Stevenson is Director of the Center for Energy Competitiveness at the Caesar Rodney Institute. He prepared this working paper for Cato’s Center for the Study of Science.

Download original document: “A Review of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

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Date added:  March 24, 2017
Environment, Maine, WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Audubon letter: wind turbines near Monhegan Island, Maine

Author:  Maine Audubon and National Audubon Society

[To:  Diana Heyder, NEPA Division, U.S. Department of Energy]

… First of all, we would like to request a more formal and detailed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), as was proposed when a similar project was first evaluated in 2012 (Docket No. BOEM-2012-0049; FR Doc. 2012-19592 Filed 8-9-12; 8:45 am; BILLING CODE 4310-VH-P). That project was sited almost 20 miles away from Monhegan Island, which is a vital stopover for migrant landbirds. Based on current knowledge of the environmental issues surrounding this site, concerns about the current proposal (see bottom of page two for a list of specific issues), and the project’s proximity to Monhegan Island, we believe the only possible outcome of an EA will be a finding of significant impact on the human environment. The expanded opportunity for public comment on an EIS as well as the more detailed discussions of the affected environment, of the alternatives, and of the environmental impacts and mitigation for such impacts is critical for a project of this scope and nature. Please consider an EIS for this project in place of the EA.

Generating energy from offshore wind is potentially a promising opportunity for Maine and elsewhere in the US, and National and Maine Audubon support developing renewable energy sources as long as they are sited in a way that minimize risks and impacts to wildlife and wildlife habitat. However, we know very little about how wildlife species use Maine’s coastal and offshore waters; for example, we do not know the location of foraging sites for most seabird species, including endangered Roseate Terns, bird and bat migration routes, behavioral responses to turbine activities, and the indirect and direct risks posed by offshore wind power development. Even if passing migrants avoid collisions with turbines, as has been observed at some wind sites in Europe, indirect impacts through avoidance behaviors and habitat alterations may cause cumulative damage to sensitive species. It is essential we have a greater understanding of how wildlife uses the area around the test site before permits for any turbines are issued.

Our greatest concerns about possible impacts to wildlife from the turbines include:

We strongly recommend the following be addressed in the proposed site’s EIS or EA:

We also have the following specific concerns about this project, giving us further reason to request a full Environmental Impact Statement before determining whether to issue a permit:

  1. The initial assessments regarding potential effect on wildlife (e.g. radar studies of bird and bat use) done for the original proposed deployment at Monhegan are not applicable to the currently proposed work. The initial project was for a single, small (< 100 ft, including rotor swept area above the spar) turbine to be deployed for 4-6 months at a time. The current project proposes two much larger turbines (each with a 495’ rotor diameter) to be deployed continuously for up to five years. The current proposal also involves multiple sites for construction of the anchoring/platform system and installation of the ‘submarine’ cable to the mainland.
  2. Observations from the Maine Department of Fisheries and Wildlife biologists and the local birding community indicate that the area around Monhegan Island is one of Maine’s most important high use areas for the state endangered Peregrine Falcon and other raptors during migration. Raptors and falcons in particular are likely extremely susceptible to collision to lighted structures during inclement weather situations (NRC 2007).
  3. Monhegan Island itself is also one of Maine’s most critical stopover sites for landbird migrants using coastal waters as a flight route north in the spring, including endangered/threatened species, species of special concern, and boreal species that have been particularly hard hit. Over 250 species have been reported on the island in the last five years, and Monhegan Island has been nominated as an Important Bird Area for Maine. The potential impact to a broad range of migrant songbirds, many of which are already in decline, is a big concern of Audubon organizations both within the state and across the region.
  4. Both the indirect as well as direct effects on habitat and wildlife for all stages of the project, including construction, deployment, operation (maintenance, data collection), and decommissioning are of grave concerns to both National and Maine Audubon. The investment of the cable to the mainland would mark a major commitment and incentive to expand the project in the future. The effects on wildlife and commercial fishing would be greatly increased with an enlarged project.
  5. Construction of the floating platforms at the Hampden site brings increased risk to disturbing an area well known for mercury contamination. This brings increased risk of releasing mercury into the food chain, including threats to Atlantic salmon, alewives, and the marine food web.
  6. Increased boat traffic, barges, etc. may cause habitat displacement for birds and other wildlife throughout the entire project (minimum of 5+ years).
  7. The underwater footprint will have an effect on the ocean floor both in installation and ongoing risk to diving birds such as gannets that may be attracted to schools of fish that use the installation as an underground reef. Migrating whales face similar risk.
  8. Radar work associated with the original proposal for smaller blades showed that significant numbers of birds and bats would be at risk. The new project, with a sweep area of blades nearly five times larger would pose significantly larger risk. The effect of two large blades only 2.5 miles from Monhegan Island we believe poses a significant threat to one of the most important migratory stopover locations on the Atlantic coast for landbirds. Likewise, the sweep elevation clearly makes the blades a threat to seabirds such as gannets and terns. Half of Maine’s federally endangered Roseate Terns nest on Eastern Egg Rock, less than eleven miles away- a distance well within the known foraging range of the species.
  9. Finally, the proposal does not include any ongoing monitoring of pollution caused during the construction or follow-up monitoring of incidental kill or even use of the actual project site(s).

Following is some additional background information about the importance of the project area to a suite of wildlife species.

Gulf of Maine Background:

The Gulf of Maine is an internationally significant and essential coastal resource for a variety of wildlife species including federally listed species (Roseate Tern & Piping Plover, northern right whale, humpback whale, finback whale), state listed species (Least Tern, Arctic Tern, Harlequin Duck, Razorbill, Atlantic Puffin, Barrow’s Goldeneye, Great Cormorant, Peregrine Falcon) and species of concern or in decline (e.g. Common Tern, Common Murre, Leach’s Storm-petrel, Red-necked Phalarope, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Bonaparte’s Gull, Laughing Gull). It also is an essential link in the Atlantic migratory pathway, and millions of shorebirds, songbirds, waterfowl, raptors, and other birds pass along the Maine coast and through Gulf of Maine waters during spring and fall migrations.

Unlike many of the areas in Europe with existing offshore wind energy sites, the Gulf of Maine is dotted with thousands of islands along the coast. A total of 377 of Maine’s 4,500 islands (8% of all islands in Maine) are considered important habitat for seabird nesting. Forty-seven of these islands have been recognized as Important Bird Areas, part of a global effort to identify the most critical habitats for long-term bird conservation within each state and across the globe. Our coastal waters are the only nesting location in the United States for some of these species. Ten of Maine’s coastal islands provide habitat for 94% of all Common and Arctic Terns and 100% of all Roseate Terns nesting in Maine. These islands are intensively managed to provide a system of multiple and alternative nesting sites when adverse conditions are present (e.g. disease, predators etc.) that may drive the birds to breed elsewhere.

Species of Concern:

In addition, Maine coastal islands host 90% of all Common Eiders nesting in the continental United States. Further, hundreds of thousands of migrating shorebirds, songbirds and raptors depend on Maine coastal areas during spring and fall migration, a period that comprises more than half of their life cycle. Many of these species are also federally or state listed as endangered, threatened, or of special concern. Bald Eagles are now prevalent along our coast as well. This species has recovered from endangered status and the coastal population is flourishing, having grown from a core population located in coastal Downeast Maine. Maine’s Bald eagles are still under the protection of the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. In addition to eagles, many other raptors, such as the Merlin and Peregrine Falcon, breed as well as migrate along and through the Gulf of Maine.

Current research in avian migration is demonstrating that the Gulf of Maine is a critical pathway in passerine migration, with much higher numbers of migrants passing through in spring and fall than biologists had previously known. Many of these birds, such as Bicknell’s Thrush, are of concern and face challenges at both wintering and breeding grounds. Migrating songbirds frequently fly at an altitude of over 1,000 feet in clear weather, easily clearing any rotors from a wind facility. However, in foggy and inclement weather passerines fly lower and potentially within the rotor’s zone. Gulf of Maine weather in spring and fall is frequently foggy with poor visibility, and these conditions are the most difficult to survey for wildlife, making monitoring at sites more challenging. Using radar to detect large scale movements of migrants can be very helpful, though NEXRAD radar systems operate at a relatively insensitive scale during inclement weather, and may be missing bands of migrating birds. Radar survey methods must be verified in all weather conditions and at various times of day- notably at night and in the early morning in order to catch migrating birds passing through. We recognize this provides challenges, but it is critical that we gauge the reliability of radar system detections.

The largest colony of federally endangered Roseate Terns in Maine is on Eastern Egg Rock, a seven acre island owned by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, less than 20 miles away from the proposed site. Despite decades of research and extensive monitoring, we still do not know foraging sites of these rare birds in Maine. Nesting sites elsewhere have observed Roseate Terns seeking food 20-30+ km from nest sites during the breeding season, and local prey availability can drive terns to forage farther away from nest sites (J. Burger et al., 2011). It is imperative that we have a better understanding of foraging locations of Roseate Terns on Eastern Egg Rock and elsewhere on Maine’s islands before infrastructure potentially damages foraging areas, routes to feeding grounds, or migratory pathways.

Beyond birds:

Birds aren’t the only migrants flying through the Gulf of Maine. Several bat species cross over the Gulf and some breed on Maine islands. Bat populations have declined dramatically in the region since 2009 due to the spread of white-nose syndrome (WNS), with the loss of at least 5.7 million bats in that time. Although this loss has hit residential cave hibernating bats the hardest, the potential mortality to migratory tree bats at wind farms has been well- documented, particularly in the Appalachian Mountains and the mid-Atlantic states, and concern for this additional mortality is elevated due to the confounding mortality from WNS. Bats seem to be attracted to turbines spinning at lower speeds, and recent terrestrial wind developments in Maine have required cut-in speeds be raised to 5.0 m/sec at dusk and dawn, from April to September, to reduce potential mortality. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is currently considering listing several species of bats that breed and pass through Maine because of these dramatic declines, making them of particular concern.

Closing Comments

The most conspicuous potential risk to wildlife from wind facilities is collision with the rotors and associated structures. However, offshore wind facilities may have harmful effects on wildlife because of avoidance behaviors, barrier effects, and habitat alteration, all of which can be difficult to quantify and assess in the marine environment (Dreweitt and Langston, 2006) but are important considerations for the long-term survival of sea and water birds using the Gulf of Maine. Because these varying effects are difficult to measure, it is absolutely critical that the proposed test site is demonstrated not to be in a major migratory pathway or foraging area, and pre-construction surveys must cover not only the test site, but a wide area (1 km) around the site in order to detect potential displacement (Fox et al, 2006).

Given the extent and complexity of wildlife use in the area and the increase in size and scope of the project from the earlier proposed project at the same site, once again we strongly urge you to require a full EIS rather than the shorter EA to evaluate risks and alternatives.

If construction proceeds, we recommend that Aqua Ventus is cautious with lighting at the site through construction, maintenance, and operating phases. In order to minimize risks to migrating birds, we recommend that lighting is minimal, flashing, and red.

We appreciate the opportunity to provide comments and welcome any questions you may have about our recommendations.


Andrew Beahm
Interim Executive Director
Maine Audubon

Stephen Kress, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Seabird Restoration Program
National Audubon Society

[March 22, 2017]

Literature Cited

Burger, J., C. Gordon, J Lawrence, J. Newman, G. Forcey, L. Vlietstra. Risk evaluation for federally listed (roseate tern, piping plover) or candidate (red knot) bird species in offshore waters: A first step for managing the potential impacts of wind facility development on the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf. Renewable Energy 36 (2011) 338-351.

Drewitt A.L. and R.H.W. Langston. Assessing the impacts of wind farms on birds. Ibis 148 (2006) 29-42.

Fox, A.D., M. Desholm, J. Kahlert, T.K. Christensen, I.K. Petersen, Information needs to support environmental impact assessment of the effects of European marine offshore wind farms on birds. Ibis 148 (2006) 129-144.

National Research Council – National Academy of Sciences. Environmental Impacts of Wind Energy Projects. (2007).

Download original document: “Audubon letter re wind turbines (Aqua Ventus I) near Monhegan Island, Maine

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Date added:  November 27, 2015
Maine, OrdinancesPrint storyE-mail story

Town of Freedom Wind Turbine Ordinance

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:

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:

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.

Download original document: “Town of Freedom Wind Turbine Ordinance

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