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O’Donnell expects turbines to resume this week, responds to new turbine concerns

KINGSTON- Mary O’Donnell (pictured) expects the operation of her three industrial-sized wind turbines to fully resume this week and is firing back at resident complaints about flicker and property-value loss.

O’Donnell’s Marion Drive wind turbines have been out of operation since the night of February 8, when Winter Storm Nemo brought heavy snow and tropical storm-force winds to Kingston.

“I assume they’ll be back soon,” O’Donnell told KingstonJournal.com over the phone this afternoon. “They can’t perform in very high winds.”

Like the O’Donnell turbines, the Kingston Wind Independence (KWI) Turbine and the MBTA’s turbine at the Kingston Commuter Rail Station have also been dormant since February 8.

O’Donnell said the week-long shutdown of her turbines was due to a “distribution issue,” adding that her turbines “had to switch to a different system” after Winter Storm Nemo.

High winds can have the ability to threaten the structural integrity of a wind turbine, according to Curiosity.com. Wind turbines have also been known to shutdown when electric supply outstrips demand, a common practice in the United Kingdom.

While O’Donnell did not disclose any additional information as to why her turbines had been shut down for eight days, she did briefly respond to resident complaints about wind-turbine flicker and lost property value.

“People think they’ve lost property value,” O’Donnell said. “You know, in California people pay extra to live near the turbines and have a view of them.”

“It’s all about perception,” O’Donnell said as she compared the controversy surrounding wind turbines to the opposition that is sometimes generated by cell-phone towers.

“When’s the last time you heard anybody saying anything about cell-phone towers?” O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell also responded to allegations that her Marion Drive turbines, along with the KWI Turbine atop the town’s capped landfill, had not submitted a site-specific flicker study prior to construction, as per town bylaws.

“There isn’t even a federal standard about flicker,” O’Donnell told the Journal.

O’Donnell further stated that she believes her turbines are in compliance with town bylaws, maintaining that a flicker study had been done.
On Feburary 6th, Kingston Town Planner Tom Bott told the Journal he had “never seen a flicker study for the O’Donnell turbines.”

Kingston’s Wind Overlay District Bylaw, approved by town meeting in 2007, states wind-turbine applicants have “the burden of proving that [shadow flicker] does not have significant adverse impact on neighboring or adjacent uses.”