May 23, 2013

Fairhaven eyes partial turbine shutdowns; Wind direction, night hours considered after troubling state report

By Ariel Wittenberg | May 22, 2013 |

FAIRHAVEN – Following Tuesday’s announcement that Fairhaven’s two wind turbines violated state noise regulations at times during months of testing, some town officials are hoping the industrial-sized machines can be turned off at night.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Charlie Murphy had called for a meeting in April between the Boards of Health and Selectmen to look into turning the turbines off between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. On Wednesday, he said the study’s findings have only strengthened his resolve to “give our residents a good night’s sleep.”

“Before people didn’t believe the turbines were that loud at night, but now the study shows it,” he said.

The sound study, conducted by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, is not yet complete. Interim findings released Tuesday show that noise from the turbines exceeded state regulations in five of the 24 periods during which the DEP conducted testing.

Those violations occurred at three locations south of the turbines when winds were coming from the north. While the DEP or Boards of Selectmen or Health could take steps to shut the turbines down, the DEP recommended Tuesday that the two boards sit down to talk about their options with turbine developers and come to a solution that does not require legal action. That meeting has been scheduled for June 10 at noon.

Shutting down the turbines all night and every night may not be necessary to remedy the violations, according to turbine developer Sumul Shah.

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