My wife and I own a house near Garnet Lake in Peru. There is a proposal in front of Peru Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to build a 15 MW wind farm composed of five, three MW, 500-foot tall turbines on the hills surrounding Garnet Lake. Yet there are private properties that are less than 800 feet from the proposed turbines!
To understand the significance of this number let’s take a look at what happened in Falmouth. A month ago a judge issued a court order banning operation of Falmouth’s 1.65 MW turbine from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. as well as on Sundays and public holidays. As the result this turbine is now losing money every day – during its lifetime it will never recover its costs. It happened because the noise from this turbine violated current state Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) regulations and caused numerous health problems for people living nearby.
After people started complaining about noise a study showed actual noise even at 1,200 feet from the turbine to be 50 percent over the current MassDEP limit (5 decibels over the 10 dB limit)! You do not need to be a math wizard to make a conclusion about what is going to happen in Peru when instead of one 1.65 MW turbine you will have several 3.0 MW turbines even closer to your property then the one in Falmouth!
I do embrace green energy, but I can’t embrace wind energy developers who propose a project that is too big and too close to homes. A recent study by a member of MassDEP’s Wind and Noise Advisory Group, Stephen Ambrose, analyzed the difference between projected (before construction) and actual noise levels for 10 wind farms. This study found that actual noise level exceeded projected numbers by up to 13 dB!
My fellow citizens of Peru, respected members of the Zoning Board of Appeals, are we ready to put people in harm’s way? Is it our goal to become wind industry guinea pigs and serve as a testing ground for largest turbines in Massachusetts? Are we ready to forever change the rural character of our town only to find ourselves in the Falmouth situation when operation of these turbines will become unprofitable and no longer provide any financial benefit to the town?
Let’s quickly close this chapter before the harm is done and work on alternative energy bylaws that are right for our town.
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