KEYSER – A Keyser man has filed a formal complaint with the West Virginia Public Service Commission over noise from the Pinnacle Wind Farm.
Richard Braithwaite filed the complaint last month, citing excessive noise levels both inside and outside his Green Mountain home near the 23-turbine wind farm. He is asking the PSC to order Edison Mission Group, the wind farm owner, to either fix the noise problem or shut down the turbines, at least at night.
“The noise from either direction penetrates my home almost as loud as it is outside,” Braithwate wrote in his complaint to the PSC. “The constant droning makes me have a bad headache like a migraine almost all of the time. It is impossible to rest or sleep. I have recorded on my sound meter over 80 DB. It is almost always over 60DB inside my home.”
In addition to the noise, Braithwaite said that Edison Mission has not fulfilled its pledge to shut down the turbines at night until the noise issue can be addressed.
“They told me they would shut the wind turbines down at night but this never happened,” Braithwaite wrote. “They keep stalling saying they are going to install mufflers on them. This is crazy as this will never work on something with this amount of noise.”
Officials with the PSC said Tuesday that, as a result of the Braithwaite complaint, a letter has been sent to California-based Edison Mission, seeking a response from the company. The response is due by late next week.
Company officials have previously stated that the noise is coming not from the turbine blades that rotate in the wind, but rather from cooling equipment inside the large, bus-sized nacelles to which the rotors are attached.
Charlie Parnell, a spokesman for Edison, said the company ordered an experimental muffler prototype for one of the turbines, in an effort to quiet the noise. The muffler has been delivered from Mitsubishii in Japan, and is now in the process of being installed. The company hopes to have testing completed by early April.
As for the PSC complaint, Parnell said he could not comment on the matter because it is a formal legal proceeding, but indicated that the company remains committed to addressing any complaints from those living near the Pinnacle Wind Farm.
“We’re taking this seriously and would like to do anything we can to resolve potential complaints with our neighbors,” he said.
PSC staff will evaluate Braithwaite’s complaint, and the company’s response, and report back to the Commission with a staff recommendation within 35 days of receiving the complaint. At that point the matter may go to an Administrative Law Judge within the PSC, or be referred on for additional review by the agency. The entire process can take as long as 90 days.
Every formal complaint filed with the PSC generates a similar process, from water bills to power line siting. “We do thousands of cases per year,” said Susan Small, communications manager for the PSC.
Braithwaite’s complaint can be followed on the PSC’s Internet web docket at HYPERLINK “http://www.psc.state.wv.us/webdocket”www.psc.state.wv.us/webdocket. The case number for the Braithwaite complaint is 12-0251.
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