March 9, 2012
West Virginia

Resident on Pinnacle wind turbine noise: ‘I can’t take it’

Michael A. Sawyers, Cumberland Times-News, 8 March 2012

CROSS, W.Va. – Tasker Road resident Richard Braithwaite hopes his complaint filed with the West Virginia Public Service Commission recently will eventually help him get some sleep.

“I can’t take it,” Braithwaite said, speaking of the noise from wind turbines that he said sounds like an airplane when the wind comes from the east and like a train in his front yard when the west winds blow. Braithwaite said the sound makes his head hurt.

The closest turbine to his bedroom at his Green Mountain home is about a half-mile, Braithwaite said Thursday.

Edison Mission Energy, owners of the turbines at the Pinnacle Wind Farm, have committed to a study of the noise and say they want to be good neighbors.

The PSC will evaluate Braithwaite’s Feb. 22 complaint along with Edison’s response and determine how to proceed.

“I never thought I’d be involved in something like this and I wish I wasn’t,” Braithwaite said.

Braithwaite said that when the turbines spun for the first time Nov. 5 that he woke up in the middle of the night and went all around his house trying to find out what was making the noise that had awakened him.

“Then I opened the door and heard it. It even got the coon hounds to howling up all the hollows,” he said. “They wondered what it was too, I guess.”

Braithwaite even bought a decibel meter.

“When I went out to feed the chickens this morning the reading was 75.1 (decibels),” he said Thursday.

But there are no regulations to break, according to Susan Small of the PSC, who said in January that West Virginia has no existing or proposed regulations dealing with sound from turbines.

Braithwaite said he would like the turbines to be quieted or at least turned off at night. Company spokesman Charlie Parnall said recently that a muffler is being installed with results to be known by April.

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