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Barnstable County hears from the public on proposed wind turbine rules  

Credit:  By Rich Eldred, Cape Codder, www.wickedlocal.com 14 April 2011 ~~

BREWSTER – Proposed rules
Turbines 65-feet: Reviewable as developments of regional impact
Clear area: 1.5 times the height for large (660 kw) turbines
Setback: 10 times the height of the turbine – unless minimal noise impact
Flicker: Less than 10 hours a year
Decommissioning: After 120 days idle
Noise studies required
Above requirements, except clear area, waived for small (250 kw) municipal turbines

Cape Cod may be less than a week away from having countywide rules for locating wind turbine projects.

The Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates held a three-hour public hearing Wednesday evening on rules forwarded from the Cape Cod Commission. They heard from proponents, opponents, town officials and citizens, a turbine manufacturer and even Paul Revere (an attorney, not the silversmith). They’ll discuss the two proposed ordinances themselves next Wednesday at 2 p.m.

In November the assembly sent back a set of proposed rules to the commission, saying they weren’t strict enough. But local officials argued they’re still too strict.

“Effectively what this will do is there will be no turbines on Cape Cod,” declared Ed Lewis, chairman of the Brewster board of selectman, and a proponent of the town’s twin turbine project. “It is isn’t going to work, it becomes an overbearing experience. It becomes impossible.”

“I don’t think this is a ban on wind and it certainly wasn’t intended to be one,” countered Paul Niedzweicki, executive director of the commission. “But some sort of regulatory review might be more helpful in siting projects than the process in place now.”

“The town by town process is inconsistent and may be outdated,” noted Mitch Relin of Brewster. “Wind turbines are no longer an issue for individual towns. The projected Dennis turbines are within 1,700 feet to the nearest Brewster resident.”

That argues for a regional approach, and others made the same point
“Incorrectly sited wind turbines represent a clear and present danger to the people of Cape Cod,” said Preston Ribnick of Wellfleet. “People are being made ill by industrial wind turbines all over the world.”

“When the blades are spinning it has been hell at my home and backyard,” said John Ford who lives 3,000 feet from Falmouth’s town turbine. “I don’t sleep much because of the constant thumping. During World War II low frequency sound was used as a form of torture. I feel tortured.”

But don’t base everything on troubles in Falmouth.

“The technology of Falmouth is no longer used,” explained Carl Freeman of Orleans. “Those blades are fixed. Today they use pitch regulated where the blades turn in their sockets and are much quieter.”

Others thought the rules were too tough.

“My main objection is a noise standard relative to rotor diameter, as a measurement of sound,” Brewster Selectman Dan Rabold said. “The final standards you’re proposing don’t fit what you’re trying to measure.”

Brewster Town Administrator Charles Sumner noted his town has spent more than $500,000 on their project, currently in limbo, and he was concerned that these rules, if approved long after Brewster’s project began, might prohibit it.

“In my opinion the regulations (on noise) as written will lead to litigation,” said county commissioner Bill Doherty.

All in all 17 people spoke in favor of the rules and 15 against, including local officials.

Source:  By Rich Eldred, Cape Codder, www.wickedlocal.com 14 April 2011

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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