- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Noise-level standards met, sanctions still possible

Third time’s a charm: The owners of an industrial wind power facility in Lowell announced Wednesday that sound levels, measured in a May 22-June 5 test, remained within regulated limits.

Green Mountain Power’s news release follows by two days a Public Service Board (PSB) order that calls for a hearing to consider sanctions against the utility for noise violations documented between December and March.

Kingdom Community Wind, owned by Green Mountain Power (GMP), came online last fall. It is designed to reliably generate 63 megawatts of power, or enough electricity for the needs of about 24,000 Vermont homes.

Monitored continuously, the 21 turbines at Kingdom Community Wind never exceeded standards set by the Vermont Public Service Board – even while running at top capacity.

The data, measured at four different locations, were verified by an independent third party, Schnure wrote.

The timing of GNP’s celebratory memo is “disingenuous,” Annette Smith, executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, told the Burlington Free Press.

She likewise castigated the PSB for “a total lack of accountability” for inadequately representing the noise and health concerns of local residents, particularly those in Albany and Craftsbury.

“The board is holding this hearing to decide whether GMP should be fined a nickel or a dime,” Smith said.

A signed agreement guarantees the town of Lowell an annual payment of $535,000 from the utility – considerably more than the town’s municipal budget, which was $447,000 last year.

During the two earlier tests at the site, sound levels exceeded PSB standards for a total of about four hours, most likely due to heavy snow buildup, according to the utility.

GMP has notified the board that it believes better forecasting and video monitoring will allow facility operators to minimize turbine noise under adverse conditions.

The PSB hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., Aug. 8, at the board’s hearing room on the third floor of People’s United Bank Building, 112 State Street, in Montpelier.