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Opposition mounts to Scituate wind turbine

SCITUATE – The Alliance for Responsible Siting of Alternative Energy Installations has taken aim at the 390-foot-high Scituate wind turbine. The group will lobby Washington, D.C., legislators to create national wind siting regulations.

After an hour of testimony at the April 10 annual Town Meeting, residents maintained their support for the turbine. In March, the Board of Health ordered an acoustic study of the turbine.

According to the alliance’s website, residents near the 1.5-megawatt turbine suffer health problems caused by “excessive and invasive noise and strobing effects.” The permitting for the turbine relied on “antiquated noise guidelines,” the group alleges, from the pre-turbine era and thus the alliance has aligned itself with an independent noise study initiated by neighbors of the turbine

The group also plans to analyze federal and state tax incentives and the siting provisions from the state’s Green Communities Act.

The alliance, wich is led by Thomas Thompson, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The turbine was approved for construction in 2010 on town-owned land next to a municipal golf course and 50 acres of conservation land. The turbine helps power the nearby municipal sewage treatment plant. Excess energy is returned to the power grid and credited to the town through a process known as net metering. The town is expected to save an estimated $300,000 annually from the turbine’s electricity generation, according to local officials.

According to the developer, Scituate Wind LLC, the renewable energy generated by the turbine is equivalent to displacing some 6.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide, more than 330,000 gallons of oil or electricity needed to power 403 homes annually.

Scituate also is moving ahead with plans for a 3-megawatt solar array atop the town’s 12-acre former landfill. The project is estimated to save the town $200,000 in annual electricity costs. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for June 18.