Let’s look at why the proposal to build industrial wind turbines should not go ahead. It all centers on the setback issue. In 2004, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative ignored the University of Massachusetts and had a group of companies involved in the wind industry conduct the feasibility study for Fairhaven.
The area under consideration would not be able to support a wind project using the standard of 1,200 feet set by UMass.
The wind and power companies contracted for the study did not do a noise study, and they recommended to the town that they establish a 400-foot setback for industrial wind turbines, which the town adopted on their advice. They have no expertise on this matter, and they should have had UMass come in before any setbacks were recommended.
UMass does all of the noise studies for the MTC with few exceptions, one being Fairhaven. In my opinion, the only conclusion that one can reach is that if UMass came in and the standard recommendations were adopted, the project would not have been able to go forward. It is unfortunate that up to this point we have listened only to the developer and to the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. The MTC has strong ties to the multi-billion-dollar wind industry. Only agencies with no ties should be involved in making recommendations.
One of the arguments advanced by some is that these turbines don’t give off much noise. The problem with this analysis is: This is the biggest wind project in the history of Massachusetts. Yes, it’s even larger than Hull’s. The two turbines being proposed are two very large turbines. The larger turbines give off a lot more noise.
To give a comparison, these are Vespar V82, and they are 1.65 megawatts as opposed to the one in Buzzards Bay, which is only 660 kilowatts or .660 megawatts. The two turbines being proposed are almost three times larger than the one in Buzzards Bay. The industrial wind turbine in Buzzards Bay is 248 feet tall, and these are 400 feet tall.
It is well documented by different studies that the location of these turbines in a quiet area and close together will also contribute to the amplification of the noise. Also, the higher the turbine, the further distance that the noise travels. Noise from a turbine travels away from the turbine, not down below the turbine.
We have the making of the perfect storm in regards to the amount of harm that could be inflicted on our residents. A community should never compromise the quality of life of its citizens for a small amount of financial gain.
By Ray Suprenant
16 May 2007