A newly created organization opposed to the proposed wind turbine at Winter Park recently hired the lawyer that represented residents against turbines in Falmouth and Plymouth.
Made up of Salem and Marblehead residents, Salem Wind hired Christopher Senie, who sent a letter to Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll and the city council last week.
“Salem Wind is very concerned about the documented noise and health issues associated with wind turbines in residential areas,” Ed Moriarity, President of Salem Wind said in a statement. “Wind turbines do not belong in densely populated areas where residents would be barraged with constant noise, flickering light, and sweeping shadows from the turning blades. We have listened to the City of Salem’s proposal and understand the need for alternative sources of renewable energy.
“However, there is well documented evidence that the proposed wind turbine on Winter Island would be harmful to residents in Salem and Marblehead.”
The 1.5-megawatt wind turbine that would be erected near the harbormaster’s office at the 27-acre park would generate $200,000 to $700,000 in annual revenue according to the city. The $4.2 million turbine would be nearly 400-feet tall.
Driscoll said she received Senie’s letter of Friday.
“We are asking our consultant to take a look at some of [Salem Wind’s] issues,” Driscoll said during a brief interview in her office this afternoon. “We actually did additional acoustical analysis that took measurements at the site on the site so I think we feel like we are trying to go above and beyond whatever the requirements are to make sure we are addressing any kind of concerns around the turbine.”
Salem Wind also hired acoustic engineers, Robert Rand and Steve Ambrose, to review and analyze the city’s acoustical analysis conducted by Howard Quin Consulting, LLC in association with Harris Miller Miller & Hanson, Inc. and Cavanough-Tocci Associates.
“First, ambient sound pressure measurements were not correctly done according to Department of Environmental Protection standards; modeled sound levels were not correctly done; the starting ’sound power level’ was not properly adjusted; and, the study failed to address the different sound propagation over water – as ’Winter Park is close to hundreds of residential homes along the coastline,” Salem Wind’s statement says. “The Rand/Ambrose review concludes: ’The Study appears to under-predict the sound level at receptors by 4-5 dB over land and 5-12 dB over water.’”
Driscoll said a demonstration of the sound that the turbine will make will be played at the next community meeting on the issue next month.
“We can come into the meeting and actually play what folks will hear from 500 feet, 1,000 etc. etc. from the wind turbine,” Driscoll said of the meeting that has yet to be scheduled.
The city will also float a balloon at the proposed height of the turbine in early October, the city’s energy and sustainability manager Paul Marquis said. The city also put up temporary markings at the site this past Saturday to show how big the base of the turbine would be as part of a 350.org event, Marquis said.
He also said they are organizing a free ferry boat trip to Hull so residents can see the turbine there. The trip is tentatively scheduled for either 3 p.m. on Oct. 11 or Oct. 18, he said.
“We certainly heard some folks in Salem and some folks in Marblehead at the public meetings had some concerns,” Driscoll said. “There’s been a lot of work done and we want to try to educate folks in the community about turbines. There are a few things we’re doing.”
Senie, the lawyer hired by Salem Wind, said three quarters of the total installed mega-watts of wind energy in the United States are located in states with population densities of less than 100 people per square mile.
“Over 99 percent are located in states with population densities of less than 500 people per square mile,” he said in the statement. “The population density of Massachusetts is over 800 people per square mile. In Salem, it is over 5,000 people per square mile. A turbine suited to the Texas Panhandle, where a wind turbine developer may have thousands of acres of land to work with, does not fit in Salem, especially on Winter Island Park.”
During a heated public meeting in August city officials said construction could begin next summer and be completed by the fall of 2012. There will be another public meeting next month.
“I’m really hopeful we can work with the community to try to build a consensus,” Driscoll said. “If there are folks who have strong feelings it’s certainly not unusual to see them organize.”
A full copy of Rand/Ambrose review along with a letter to the Mayor of Salem and the city council from Senie is available at www.salemwind.org.
“We want to make all of the residents in Greater Salem aware of the noise and safety issues associated with the proposed wind turbine,” Moriarity said in the statement. “We also encourage the City of Salem and its councilors to listen to its residents and community associations who are very concerned about this proposal and the impact on our neighborhoods.”
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