Resource Documents: Vermont (38 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.
Reducing bat fatalities at wind facilities while improving the economic efficiency of operational mitigation
Author: Martin, Colleen; Arnett, Edward; Stevens, Richard; and Wallace, Mark
Concerns about cumulative population-level effects of bat fatalities at wind facilities have led to mitigation strategies to reduce turbine-related bat mortality. Operational mitigation that limits operation may reduce fatalities but also limits energy production. We incorporated both temperature and wind speed into an operational mitigation design fine-tuned to conditions when bats are most active in order to improve economic efficiency of mitigation. We conducted a 2-year study at the Sheffield Wind Facility in Sheffield, Vermont. Activity of bats is highest when winds speeds are low (< 6.0 m/s) and, in our region, when temperatures are above 9.5°C. We tested for a reduction in bat mortality when cut-in speed at treatment turbines was raised from 4.0 to 6.0 m/s whenever nightly wind speeds were < 6.0 m/s and temperatures were > 9.5°C. Mortalities at fully operational turbines were 1.52–4.45 times higher than at treatment turbines. During late spring and early fall, when overnight temperatures generally fell below 9.5°C, incorporating temperature into the operational mitigation design decreased energy losses by 18%. Energy lost from implementation of our design was < 3% for the study season and approximately 1% for the entire year. We recommend that operational mitigation be implemented during high-risk periods to minimize bat fatalities and reduce the probability of long-term population-level effects on bats.
Colleen M. Martin
Richard D. Stevens
Mark C. Wallace
Department of Natural Resources Management, Texas Tech University, Lubbock
Edward B. Arnett
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Loveland, Colorado
Published: 10 March 2017
Journal of Mammalogy (2017) 98 (2): 378-385.
Author: Ambrose, Stephen
There is an unsaid purpose and intent for this request [from the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB)]. Might it be an acknowledgement that “Vermont’s wind turbine noise rule does not protect neighbors from excessive noise and adverse health impacts”? This is obviously due to persistent complaints, and at least one home abandonment. This solicitation for public comments should not be used to divert-delay-deny public attention. Wind turbine neighbors want the PSB to correct the current flawed regulations based on accepting for regulatory rules those the wind industry recommends. If the PSB sought advice from truly independent sources they would have learned that 45 dBA is only applicable for urban-residential areas and even for those communities is not sufficient to protect people. Ontario, and other Canadian provinces have regulations setting 40 dBA as the not-to-exceed threshold. Yet, recent studies have shown strong evidence that 40 dBA is not preventing adverse health impacts. Even 40 dBA is too loud. Somehow the cautionary warnings of the 1970s about 35 dBA for quiet rural-residential environments have been ignored. Standards such as ISO 1996 and ANSI’s S12.9 still support 35 dBA for nighttime noise in quiet rural regions.
The noise rule needs a large scale reduction in its permitted noise limits to protect and minimize noise complaints. Anything less will only continue the endless discussions for equivocating with fudging, quibbling, and evading the need to lower to 35 dBA. Adding superfluous and complicated measurements, procedures or protocols around the 45 dBA will only continue to result in failure. The PSB should understand this after receiving reams of unfathomable data from acousticians closely aligned with developers that has no connection to a human response.
The PSB should seek assistance from independent experts to establish a noise rule that minimizes adverse human responses. This noise limit must be easy to understand and enforce. The PSB should not have to deal with the intricacies of acoustic science, noise sources, propagation, and weather. These are the concerns for the noise consultants who are responsible to their wind developer clients, who need to advise their clients on how not to harm the public. The PSB should focus on public health and enforcing compliance; and not be negotiating mitigating options with developers, operators, or consultants.
The current wind turbine sound rule should be abandoned and replaced with the previous noise limits. The Environmental Board used Lmax for its regulations and that has been upheld by the Vermont Supreme Court (see page 11). The Lmax refers to the instantaneous maximum level (LAmax) relative to the background (LA90). People hear the instantaneous variations above the background and respond accordingly, which cannot be substituted with a time-weighted average. Adverse public reactions are shown to occur when the Lmax exceeds the background L90 by 10 dB.
Answers for most of the questions start on the next page …
See also: Vermont Public Service Board Sound Rule Workshop (presentation)
Author: Ambrose, Stephen
VCE’s Investigation into the Environmental Health of the Lowell Mountains with Industrial Wind Turbines – July 2016
Author: Vermonters for a Clean Environment
1. The “wet” ponds are predominantly dry or are not holding the volume of water necessary to provide water quality treatment as required by the VT Stormwater Management Manual. Further, it is highly probable that instead of flowing through the outlet structure, stormwater is simply passing through the rock berms bypassing the water quality and peak flow attenuation necessary. This seepage is also highly likely causing the iron seeps to form (see below).
Stormwater ponds and level spreaders receive sedimentation that is regularly cleaned out and deposited uphill and seeded.
2. The iron seeps that are being found at the project perimeter, and specifically downslope of stormwater management features is being caused by stormwater or intercepted groundwater flowing over sulfide bearing rock and leaching out metals, and in particular iron.
When this occurs, the seep is comprised of a low pH (acid) floc that will both smother vegetation, wetlands and stream substrates, but also create an environment that will preclude vegetative growth. The preclusion of vegetative growth will lead to more soil instability and subsequent erosion.
See the geologic report prepared by a geologist retained by Princeton Hydro in 2011 and a paper on acid mine drainage and sulfide-bearing rock. The extensive and irreversible changes to the surface and groundwater hydrology of the mountain will continue to cause environmental damage well beyond the perimeter of the area of disturbance of this project.
BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS
PHOTO BEFORE – MAY 2011
PHOTO AFTER – JULY 2016
The headwaters of this mountain will be irreparably harmed. The monitoring thousands of feet downstream of the project to comply with the Water Quality Certificate will not detect the impacts to the headwater streams.
3. The photographs also reveal that the level spreaders and the wet ponds are causing erosion of the hillside and, in particular, the “vegetated buffers” that were claimed by KCW to reduce the flow of stormwater and prevent erosion. In fact, downstream of the level spreaders, the opposite is occurring.
The concentration of water in the vegetated buffers and other mountainside areas is exactly what Princeton Hydro stated would happen, not sheet flow down to the receiving wetlands and streams.
This is important for two primary reasons:
A) The concentrated flow means the stormwater model that KCW used to show that they met the stormwater peak flow attenuation requirements of the VSMM is fatally flawed and is not meeting the standards and is increasing stormwater runoff from the KCW site. The Water Quality Certification monitoring thousands of feet downstream of the project will not detect increases in flood waters that could impact downstream properties.
B) The concentrated flow is clearly eroding the forest floor in the vegetated buffers and mountainside receiving areas. This will continue to degrade the hillside and create larger and larger rills and gullies.
EXISTING STREAM CHANNEL
Existing stream channel is being overwhelmed. Sides are eroding.
In May and October, 2011 we visited this beautiful wetland near turbine 8 which be seen at the end of Energize Vermont’s video.
The wetland is mostly dry now, with a die-back of sphagnum moss. This wetland was very special because it flowed both north and south. While parts of Vermont are in drought, this area is experiencing relatively normal rainfall.
The evidence of the extensive use of herbicides on the site shows that the project is promoting the growth of invasive species of plants, which will likely be required to be eradicated in perpetuity. The project is promoting the growth of such invasives that will eventually spread deep into the prior relatively unfragmented forest.
According to the 2015 Invasive Species Report,
“A total of 51.5 gallons of mixture was applied at the designated sites across the entire KCW invasive plant monitoring area including the restored logging roads (see 2015 Invasive Vegetation Monitoring Maps). A two way mix was used for the application: Milestone VM Plus and Rodeo at 4 percent.”
Milestone VM Plus contains chemicals that are moderately toxic to aquatic organisms and have very high potential for mobility in soils.
Wildlife on the Lowell Mountains are being exposed to wind turbine noise at very high levels. Click on these two images to hear what the wildlife are exposed to now.
The areas shown in these two photos have been completely destroyed.
Montane Yellow Birch forest is now turbine 13
Serpentine boulder is now turbine 18
The forest edges around the roads are dying.
ANR’s Eric Sorensen testified to the PSB in the GMP Lowell Wind case:
This project will result in the construction of 6.5 miles of 65 to 205 foot wide, mostly rock- blasted road and turbine pads in mature montane forests along a ridgeline in one of the larger blocks of unfragmented habitat in the region.
At the construction site for this Project there will not merely be a change in vegetation type, but instead there will be a complete conversion from mature montane forests to industrial wind farm.
This area will be permanently altered by removal of soil, bedrock blasting, and regrading. We cannot predict what will grow on this disturbed site after decommissioning, but we can be confident that it will not be the mature Montane Spruce-Fir Forest or Montane Yellow Birch-Red Spruce Forest that occurs there now.
Ecologist Sorensen’s testimony is proving to be accurate. The Montane Yellow Birch Forest is experiencing group mortality which is not normal.
From ANR’s Eric Sorenson’s testimony about the Yellow Bird-Red Spruce Forest
This image from the 2015 invasive species report shows the area of the intersection of the access road with the ridgeline road, along with the chart from the same report that shows that the invasive species are increasing and spreading every year. These invasives will eventually make their way to the interior forest.
WIND PROJECTS IN VERMONT – OPERATING, PROPOSED, DEFEATED
Red Square: Operating: Georgia Mountain, four 2.5 MW 440 foot tall, Lowell Mountain, twenty one 3 MW 459 foot tall, Sheffield sixteen 2.5 MW 420 foot tall.
Orange Square: Actively Proposed: Swanton Rocky Ridge seven 2.5 MW 490+ foot tall, Irasburg, two 2.5 MW 490+ foot tall, Holland one 2.5 MW 490+ foot tall, Windham/Grafton twenty eight 3.45 MW 490+ foot tall, Searsburg/Windham fifteen 2.0 MW 417 foot tall.
Green Circle: Successfully Defeated: Glebe Mountain, Little Equinox, Ira, Pittsford Ridge, Northfield Ridge, Derby Line, Newark/Brighton/Ferdinand.
This report was compiled by Annette Smith, Executive Director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment. Most of the narrative was written by Princeton Hydro. Photos are by VCE’s field investigator, who will be writing more about his findings. Information is from public records.
About Vermonters for a Clean Eenvironment: VCE’s mission is to raise the voices of Vermonters and hold corporations accountable for their impacts on our people, our land, our air and our water. We are united in the belief that Vermont’s future lies in conserving its clean, rural, small-town environment. We have joined together to pursue the common goals of encouraging economic development with minimal environmental impacts and preserving Vermont’s natural beauty. VCE is committed to providing facts and information so that people can make informed decisions. We encourage your participation.