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Peck’s wants new turn with turbine

MARSTONS MILLS – Owners of Peck’s Boatyard Inc. are trying once again to put up a wind turbine, two years after a powerful nor’easter ripped apart the blades of the first one.

“We’re making good on this one, basically,” said Conrad Geyser of Cotuit Solar, the company that installed the first turbine and has an office on the Peck’s property on Route 28.

Cotuit Solar is scheduled to appear before the Barnstable Planning Board tonight to provide an update on the project.

The board asked that a consultant review the company’s plans before it will sign off on the installation of a new turbine on top of the existing tower. The new turbine’s blades will rise 122 feet off the ground and, despite the addition of an 11-foot extension on the tower, will sit lower than the original because it is a smaller machine, Geyser said.

Neighbors of the property are concerned about the project, including the level of noise from the spinning blades and the possibility of another failure.

There were problems with noise with the original machine, said Richard Lesniewicz, who owns property across Route 28 about 500 feet from the Peck’s property.

“As best as I can describe it, it was a whop, whop sound like a helicopter,” he said.

Lesniewicz contacted the town about the noise, but before anything could be done, the turbine was destroyed in the March 2010 storm, he said.

Lesniewicz said he and his wife knew to expect the traffic noise when they bought their property in 2004, but that type of noise is different than what he heard from the turbine.

“It’s not constant,” he said about the sounds of traffic versus the sound of the turbine during a windy period.

The effect of sounds from the nearby roadway was factored into his property’s valuation when he bought it, Lesniewicz said.

“I’m sure it was affected by the sound of the traffic,” he said. “It wasn’t affected by the sound of a wind turbine.”

Lesniewicz said he has spoken to other neighbors who share his concerns about what could happen if the new turbine is torn apart like the previous one. “They ran the risk of injuring people the last time,” he said.

The new five kilowatt turbine is smaller than the original turbine and will be much quieter, Geyser said.

“This turbine is quieter, slower, and we wouldn’t be trying to do this if we weren’t pretty darn sure that we’ve got a turbine that is going to be fine,” Geyser said.

The company that manufactured the first turbine was considered reputable at the time but had modified the size of the turbine twice without doing proper testing Geyser said. It has since gone bankrupt, he said.

The new turbine – an Endurance S-343 – is capable of generating between 10,000 and 20,000 kilowatt-hours of energy per year, according to the company’s website.

Unlike the Proven 15 kilowatt machine originally installed on the property, the Endurance includes a series of safety measures that will automatically shut it down if something goes wrong, Geyser said.

Geyser said he does not plan to install more turbines on the property. He said he hopes the planning board will allow Cotuit Solar to address these and other concerns raised by neighbors before closing the public hearing.