An updated turbine mitigation plan would shut down one turbine during some adverse winter conditions.
The plan proposes shutting down the southern turbine for four hours on nights from midnight to 4 a.m. during adverse conditions between Nov. 15 and April 15.
The mitigation plan lays out three factors that together would constitute adverse weather: When the wind is from the northwest, northeast or south-southwest; when the wind is moving slower than seven meters per second; and when there is no precipitation.
The updated mitigation plan was released Friday afternoon by the Fairhaven Board of Health following a public records request filed by The Standard-Times. The board discussed the plan, which it received Nov. 11, publicly at a meeting Monday, but did not go into detail at that time.
Once the plan is approved by the town, Fairhaven Wind would request that Sinovel, the turbines’ manufacturer, create a special software program to automatically shut down the turbines during inclement weather. Gordon Deane of Fairhaven Wind said he expects it would take three to four weeks to create the software, which he expects to cost his company “a five-figure dollar amount.”
In the meantime, Fairhaven Wind representatives would check weather reports on the West Island weather station’s website. If adverse wind conditions are predicted, Deane said, his coworker Sumul Shah would set the turbines to turn off and on automatically at the correct times. That means that Shah would not have to be awake or near a computer to turn the turbines off and on at the correct times.
On Friday, Ken Pottel, who is a member of the turbine-opposition group WindWise, said the mitigation plan was “totally inadequate.
“Turning them off some nights from midnight to 4 a.m. does not deal with the sleep issues people are having,” he said. “It’s a tragedy.”
Linda Therrien, who belongs to pro-turbine group Friends of Fairhaven Wind, said she liked the plan. She noted that the state only found the turbines to violate noise regulations between midnight and 4 a.m.
“I think this is a good start and it should alleviate a lot of the problems,” she said.
Members of the Board of Health did not respond to requests for comment.
Selectman Geoffrey Haworth said there are aspects of the plan that he is “not comfortable with,” but he would not go into detail because the mitigation plan is technically a contract negotiation for the Board of Selectmen.
The selectmen will meet about the plan in a closed session on Dec. 2.
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