FAIRHAVEN – Selectmen are seeking some information from wind turbine developer Fairhaven Wind LLC before taking a position on its mitigation plan.
Discussions were held during an executive session Monday night.
“We didn’t vote on the plan,” Select Board Chairman Charles Murphy said Tuesday. He said they “gave it more consideration” and asked for some information.
The mitigation plan addresses exceedances, or conditions when the turbines exceed noise limits set by state law. State regulations don’t allow the turbines to add more than 10 decibels to existing background noise.
The plan, submitted Nov. 11, calls for shutting down one turbine from midnight to 4 a.m. from Nov. 15 to April 15 when the exceedances occurred in tests conducted by the state Department of Environmental Protection. The developer also offered to make adjustments during certain wind speeds, wind directions and weather conditions. Some of the adjustments will require changes to the software programming.
Most of the mitigation involves the south turbine.
Mr. Murphy said they would “probably have to get the mitigation team together,” referring to a subcommittee that has been meeting with the developer. The subcommittee includes a member of the Board of Health and representatives from the state DEP and Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
Mr. Murphy said they need to get together so they can include additions to the plan suggested by the Board of Health. The health board wants to be notified when the turbines are shut down so it can match the data with complaints from residents. It also wants an independent acoustical consultant to verify the developer’s data.
The health board discussed the mitigation plan in open session Nov. 18 and released it to the public on Nov. 22 after receiving an opinion on making it public from town counsel. Selectmen did not release the plan. They have held their discussions in executive session, saying the closed meetings are warranted because the mitigation plan is part of contract negotiations with the developer.
Mr. Murphy said under the open meeting law the full board couldn’t meet with all three representatives from the developer Monday, but that Town Counsel Thomas Crotty and Executive Secretary Jeffrey Osuch did. Mr. Murphy said they met in different rooms at Town Hall and had individuals communicating back and forth between rooms.
Before heading into executive session, Sumul Shah of Fairhaven Wind answered questions from The Advocate about the shut down of the north turbine.
Mr. Shah said the north turbine was shut down on Monday, Nov. 25, after an inspection found that it was “out of level by 0.19 inches.” He said it is “part of normal maintenance to survey the foundation.”
Mr. Shah said they were having it adjusted because the turbines are still under warranty. He said they are stabilizing the soil using grout that was injected last week and are waiting for it to harden before restarting the turbine.
Mr. Shah said they are awaiting laboratory results and that they can’t run the turbine until they establish that the grout underneath it has hardened. He said the turbines are in bedrock.
Mr. Murphy said the Select Board meeting didn’t finish until midnight. The board also discussed strategy for collective bargaining with some town unions and litigation with Tibbetts Engineering.
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