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Colebroook wind tower plans reviewed; outcome of proposal uncertain  

Credit:  By JASON SIEDZIK, The Register Citizen, www.registercitizen.com 20 May 2011 ~~

NEW BRITAIN – Draft findings of fact in the first of two proposed wind farms in Colebrook came out Thursday, but do not paint quite as definitive of a picture as the findings in a similar proposal in Prospect.

The draft findings of fact in Colebrook South, the project intended for Flagg Hill Road, were posted on the Connecticut Siting Council’s website Thursday. The document lists the various facts that will be taken into consideration as the council ponders Colebrook South. However, the findings do not reflect the final result of the Connecticut Siting Council’s vote. Positive findings in the Prospect proposal did not lead to an approval, as the council voted 6-2 to reject the plan.

According to the findings, the turbines will not be sited in high background noise areas. Such a designation would have allowed for higher noise limits. However, the maximum noise emissions that would be produced by the turbines and measured at the closest house to turbines, according to BNE Energy’s models, would only be 49 decibels during daytime and 47 decibels during the nighttime.

These figures only amount to 10 decibels higher than the existing background noise levels. However, these noise levels could exceed the allowable limits for a residential emitter – the state does not have turbine-specific limits – by two decibels at night. The council also held that worries about discrete tones were unfounded.

Ice throw is addressed in the draft findings as well. The closest house to the turbines, located at 17 Flagg Hill Road, is approximately 676 feet from the closest turbine. According to the findings of fact, the odds of ice striking the house are once every 512 years, assuming mitigation methods are not used and the longest supported turbine blades – 50 meters – are used. The turbines will meet GE’s recommendations for setbacks, as far as ice throw goes.

Concerns about flicker were raised during the evidentiary hearings as well. However, the draft findings of fact state that the turbines will not exceed 3 Hz, the frequency determined by the Epilepsy Foundation to potentially trigger photosensitive epilepsy. Only one of the seven houses that could be impacted by flicker would experience flicker more than 30 hours per year, and that house is at 17 Flagg Hill Road.

The draft findings of fact for Colebrook South were released at the Connecticut Siting Council’s Thursday meeting. A similar meeting is scheduled for May 24, where both Colebrook proposals will have their draft findings of fact discussed. The draft findings of fact on Colebrook North – the Rock Hall Road proposal – will also be released at that meeting.

Source:  By JASON SIEDZIK, The Register Citizen, www.registercitizen.com 20 May 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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