Sound engineers hired to find out whether Scituate’s wind turbine is too noisy haven’t started testing yet because the weather hasn’t cooperated, the turbine’s owner said.
Gordon Deane of Palmer Capital says Tech Environmental of Waltham is waiting for windier overnight conditions before it tests the noise emitted by the 390-foot-tall turbine, which is off the Driftway. Palmer Capital and Solaya Energy make up Scituate Wind LLC, which owns the turbine.
A group of residents have complained that the noise and shadow flicker from the turbine, erected last year, are hurting their health. At the behest of the town’s board of health, Scituate Wind hired Tech Environmental to see if the turbine complies with state noise standards.
State law says turbines cannot emit noise that is more than 10 decibels louder than the ambient noise. Deane said Tech has been available to test since April 29 – when the state approved the testing protocol – but it is waiting for a night when wind speeds reach about about 20 mph.
Deane said Tech plans to test on four different nights, each time between midnight and 5 a.m., when the ambient noise is at its lowest level. He said two of the tests will be done at low tide and the other two at mid to high tide; two will be done east of the turbine, and two to the west.
The community group looking to shut down the turbine, led by Tom Thompson of Gilson Road, has hired its own firm, E-Coustic Solutions of Okemos, Mich., to conduct a noise study to run concurrently with Tech’s sampling. Unlike Tech, E-Coustic will measure the turbine’s low-frequency sound and amplitude modulation, factors not recognized by the state.
Deane said Tech will notify E-Coustic of its testing plans a day or two in advance. He said anything sooner would be difficult because of unpredictable weather conditions.
“We cannot give two weeks’ advanced notice,” Deane said.
Thompson said Scituate Wind should be able to give E-Coustic at least five days’ notice. Also, he accused the turbine owner of wanting to test when wind speeds are too high, in hopes of increasing the background noise.
“Anything higher than (11 mph), it tends to distort the analysis. It raises the level of ambient noise,” Thompson said.
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