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Lowell wind project: Private noise monitoring not sufficient, PSB says

LOWELL – State utility regulators on the Public Service Board said Wednesday that Green Mountain Power should have the time to research how to continuously monitor sound from the Lowell wind turbines.

The board also said that complaints by Shirley Nelson about the health impacts of noise from the turbines near her Lowell home cannot be considered as part of a discussion over penalties for noise violations. The board said Nelson’s private monitoring results don’t meet board standards.

The board is awaiting information from GMP and the Department of Public Service about whether continuous monitoring of sounds from the 21 Lowell wind turbines is financially and physically feasible.

The department wants GMP to pay a penalty for several noise violations last winter that came from selected monitoring of four areas around the turbines. The department wants the PSB to enforce a $56,000 penalty against GMP to be used to do continuous monitoring.

GMP at first resisted the idea of continuous monitoring, but then said it would research the idea.

The board this week said GMP has the rest of the year to do that research.

GMP spokesman Dorothy Schnure said Thursday that the order gives GMP time to do a comprehensive look at monitoring options and to see if other wind projects have tried to do the same kind of monitoring.