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Turbine plan withdrawn – for now  

Credit:  By Emily Clark, Wicked Local Plymouth, www.wickedlocal.com 4 December 2010 ~~

PLYMOUTH – A proposal for two 480-foot wind turbines off Hedges Pond Road has been withdrawn.

Jim Sweeney, president of Sustainable New Energy, the applicant for the project, says he’s requesting the project be withdrawn for the time being while a modification of the plan is crafted.

The plan has drawn heated opposition from neighbors and abutters who say the turbines would be an eyesore, destroy their quality of life, drastically reduce property values and pose a potential hazard to residents.

But Sweeney maintains that fear of the unknown is the cause of this controversy, and not any real threats or problems with the turbines.

False information is placing another log on the fire of this debate, he added.

“There has been no known noticeable drop in property values due to any turbines anywhere,” Sweeney said. “There is no proof property values have declined due to turbines.”

Studies conducted by the National Association of Realtors confirm this fact, as do countless other studies, he added. The only noticeable drop in home values occurs temporarily when a wind turbine proposal is in the permitting stages due, once again, to fear. These values recover once the turbine is erected, he said.

Getting the accurate information out to residents is important to quelling these erroneous fears, Sweeney said. He will resubmit a modified wind turbine project for the area after he conducts an outreach program to neighbors and residents regarding the plan.

One of the chief concerns he feels he can allay regards sound. The turbines would be far enough from homes to pose no threat to neighbors’ peace and quiet, he said.

Additionally, the turbines would be equipped with flicker controls that halt the turbine’s operation at times when shadow flicker effect is an annoyance to residents most strongly affected by it.

“Flicker controllers are a software program that measures the sun, and if it’s in the direction of a certain house, you can shut the turbine down at that period of time,” Sweeney said. “We’re the first company in the northeast to put flicker control into the plan.”

Sweeney discovered this software during a trip to Germany where flicker controllers are used all the time to minimize the annoyance factor of turbines.

He was also anxious to allay fears that shadow flicker effect in any way causes those with epilepsy to experience seizures. Scientific data is conclusive that this is simply not the case, he said.

Sustainable New Energy is a project developer, not a wind turbine manufacturer. The company finds ideal locations for turbines and determines the type of machine to use prior to submitting a proposal. Once the plan is accepted, Sustainable New Energy leases property to site the turbine the company buys and operates.

“We’re definitely coming back with a revision of the plan,” Sweeney said. “We’re not sure yet what that will be until we do outreach and find out what neighbors think is acceptable.”

He said he’s hoping to submit a new turbine proposal for the site sometime in January.

Source:  By Emily Clark, Wicked Local Plymouth, www.wickedlocal.com 4 December 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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