BAD AXE – Costs are mounting as the county will now foot a more than $20,000 bill to pay for day and nighttime studies of wind turbines.
Grand Rapids acoustics firm Acoustics by Design was hired in August to conduct noise studies at turbine sites, at a cost of $10,500.
Now, the county will pay the firm another $9,650 for nighttime studies at up to four locations.
“Nighttime has been where a lot of the complaints have arisen,” Huron County Commissioner David Peruski said Tuesday. “Nighttime is when the ambient (sound) comes into play more than in the daytime.”
The counter thought, Peruski said, is that more study is unnecessary and too expensive.
“Is this going to eventually end?” Commissioner John Bodis said. “Are we going to need a dusk and dawn study after this?”
Spending more money on testing didn’t excite Commissioner John Nugent either.
“But I think the money is available,” Nugent said.
Money will be used from yearly inspection fees paid by developers, not taxpayer money, according to commissioners.
“You’re going to be criticized for not having considered all aspects of the sound problems,” Nugent said. “I think it’s critical that the nighttime be included in it, because it is a concern.”
Commissioner Steve Vaughan said several areas in the county should be tested.
According to its proposal, Acoustics by Design says it will prepare and submit a report of findings and recommendations for improving the county’s wind energy ordinance, or creating a new one. The $10,500 cost includes an estimated 60 hours of work.
A template will include appropriate levels for audible noise and sound pressure or other phenomena, such as vibrations, “that may have an impact on the health and safety of humans residing in close proximity to a wind energy facility,” according to the proposal.
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