FAIRHAVEN – Developers of the Fairhaven’s two wind turbines say they can meet state noise regulations by shutting down just one turbine overnight.
Three members of Fairhaven Wind LLC met with selectmen Monday night to submit a “mitigation plan” and explain what developer Sumul Shah described as the “extreme step” of shutting off one turbine per evening.
Tests conducted by Fairhaven LLC and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection last week confirmed that shutting down one turbine overnight would ensure the turbines do not exceed state noise regulations, Shah said.
“I have been out there and felt the impact myself and the data supports it,” Shah said, addressing the difference between running one and two turbines at night.
Fairhaven Wind plans to continue testing the turbines to see whether changing the angle of the blades to slow their spinning could maintain higher levels of power production while still ensuring compliance with state law. But, Shah said, the company is willing to turn off one turbine at night while they test alternate fixes.
Still, Shah contended the two turbines would not be out of compliance with state law if they both ran overnight during the summer because the DEP’s noise testing last summer did not find any violations of state regulations. The five found were during the winter.
Shah spoke at the meeting where more than 70 town residents were present to show their support or opposition to the turbines. He said he was confident that his plan would put the turbines in compliance with state law. But he also said that “no matter what plan we proposed, it will not be accepted by 100 percent of the community.”
Shah’s presentation to selectmen was required because the board put the developer on 30-day notice for violating the lease by violating state noise regulations. The overnight shutdown of both turbines was mandated by the Board of Health, which will have to review any mitigation plans before they are put in place. The health board will meet with Fairhaven Wind at a July 15 meeting.
Shah said he would like the town to form a steering committee with representatives from the Board of Health, Board of Selectmen, DEP, and representatives from town groups supporting and opposing the turbines to bargain and come to a compromise.
Selectman Geoffrey Haworth welcomed the idea, calling it “a complete 180” turn in the developer’s attitude toward residents’ experiences.
“That’s what we need, we need to find common ground,” he said.
Selectman Charlie Murphy said he is interested in whether the developer’s plan would be “a way we will not have an economic impact on the Town of Fairhaven and still allow people to have a good night’s sleep.”
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