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DPU comment period: so many criteria, so little time

December 6, 2013 is the deadline to tell the Mass. Department of Public Utilities your thoughts about their wind siting initiative. In this latest incarnation of streamlined siting regulations for wind turbines, the Energy Facilities Siting Board (EFSB) takes control. This board currently sites coal and natural gas plants.

In its “motion into Best Practices” for siting land-based “Wind Energy Facilities” (WEFs), the DPU is asking for comments in 10 areas: Design, Environmental and Human Health, Safety, Construction Impacts, Socio-Economic Impacts, Decommissioning, and Review Process. Each area includes multiple subareas, with the Environmental and Human Health category listing “noise” as the first of its 10 items.

The public can weigh in on height maximums, setbacks, construction impacts, effects on wildlife, strobing, and the euphemism “use of mechanisms that may provide added flexibility, such as voluntary agreements between developers and impacted residents” AKA gag clauses. The DPU has structured its request for comments with 12 questions.

The bad news is that the December 6, 2013 deadline gives wind skeptics a mere 5 weeks to respond to the “investigation” on the  Motion into Best Practices. The DPU plans to issue a draft “wind siting guidance proposal” in spring 2014. The good news is that the DPU claims it will hold hearings, beginning in January. (The “interested” parties attending the pro-wind Working Group presentation on October 30th received a week’s advance notice over the public announcement of the comment period).

The Docket number is D.P.U. 13-165. For more details, read on…

Any person with an interest in the matters discussed above is invited to submit written comments to the Department by December 6, 2013. Comments should be submitted to the Department as follows:

(1) in electronic format by e-mail attachment, sent to:


(2) the original hard copy by US mail or hand-delivery

Mark Marini, Secretary
Department of Public Utilities
One South Station Boston MA 02110
M. Kathryn Sedor, Hearing Officer,
Department of Public Utilities
One South Station, Boston MA 02110
  1. Docket number D.P.U. 13-165
  2. the name of the person or the company and company representative submitting the comments
  3. the mailing address, email address, and telephone number for the person or representative
  4. a brief descriptive title of the document.

A copy of all comments will be available for public inspection at the Department’s offices during business hours and posted on the Department’s website.