In January 2012, MassDEP released for public review and comment a Wind Turbine Health Impact Study. The study was conducted by an independent expert panel, and included several recommended best practices for addressing wind turbine noise. After reviewing the study and over 500 comments, many accompanied by additional information for MassDEP review, MassDEP concluded that the information currently available suggests the need to consider revisions to MassDEP’s noise regulations and policy to address wind turbine noise.
In response to the Wind Turbine Health Impact Study and comments received, in June 2013, MassDEP convened a technical advisory group to consider potential revisions to its noise regulations and policy.
The purpose of the MassDEP Wind Turbine and Noise Technical Advisory Group (WNTAG) is to provide technical advice to MassDEP on how best to craft effective regulatory and policy responses to wind turbine installations and possible noise impacts. MassDEP seeks a policy and regulations for wind turbine noise that encourage appropriate wind development, provides regulatory clarity for developers, towns and communities, and are protective of public health and the environment.
The scope of the Technical Advisory Group includes offering advice to MassDEP on the following:
- Potential revisions to the existing noise policy and regulations to explicitly address unique characteristics of wind turbine sounds, including amplitude modulation.
- Technical issues associated with technical implementation of the policy, and with monitoring ambient and project sound levels.
- A possible pre-construction permitting requirement for wind turbines, including discussion of modeling requirements.
MassDEP sought to create a Technical Advisory Group with: 1) technical expertise and knowledge of the issues; and, 2) a range of stakeholder perspectives and views. The membership of the WNTAG was appointed by the Commissioner, and a list of members is available here.
WNTAG meetings are open to the public, and agendas include a specified time for brief public comments. As the WNTAG meetings are held primarily for the benefit of developing and offering advice by WNTAG members to MassDEP, time allowed for public comment will be limited to ensure that other meeting topics can be covered.
All media requests should go to the designated MassDEP representative.