KINGSTON – When WCVB’s nightly news magazine “Chronicle” scheduled a program on power options in Massachusetts, it turned to Kingston for its focus on the impact of wind turbines in communities.
The “Chronicle” program titled “Power Plays,” which aired last week, featured pieces on soaring electric bills, ways to cut costs through the use of solar power and air source heat pumps, lower oil prices and what’s wrong with wind power.
The segment called “Too Close for Comfort” focused on Kingston, with Leland Road resident Doreen Reilly in the opening commenting on flicker effect.
“You can’t read. You can’t watch TV. You can’t be out in the yard,” she said.
“It’s just too irritating, and it makes you feel sick,” she added.
The Independence wind turbine, installed in 2012, was described as an object of controversy due to its location.
“Chronicle” identified Town Planner Tom Bott, interviewed at the Kingston Town House and from the Kingston Collection parking lot with views of the Independence and Mary O’Donnell’s wind turbines, as a believer in wind power.
“Everything that you can do to produce power in a sustainable and a responsible fashion is a great idea – solar, wind, hydroelectric,” he said.
The Independence powers municipal buildings including the Town House, Bott said, and has generated about 9 million kilowatt hours of electricity for that purpose. He spoke of plans to add solar panels near the Independence.
Reilly, in describing the controversy over the location of the turbine, shared family photos from 22 years in her house and explained that its proximity has impacted their lives.
“Our quality of life is important, and I don’t think the town of Kingston took the residents into consideration that would be the most affected by the turbine,” she said. “I don’t think anybody did it maliciously. I don’t think people realized what they were actually voting on. Even the people in charge didn’t realize what they were doing. They weren’t educated.”
She described the sound of the turbine as at times sounding like a boot in a dryer and other times making a wooshing sound.
Bott, who was interviewed Jan. 14 for the piece, referenced four sound studies, including three prior to the siting of the Independence. He said the fourth study, performed more recently, found that under certain conditions the turbine exceeds mandated state Department of Environmental Protection noise levels.
When the discussion turned to flicker, Bott said that no health hazards have been identified as resulting from flicker, although some view it an annoyance, and it can have an effect from a certain perspective on quality of life. For the vast majority of people, he said, the turbine is a success and people “are happy with it.”
Reilly shared boxes and boxes of research and testimony she and others have collected to bolster their case that large turbines should be sited farther away from residential areas. As for flicker, she said, the turbine should be shut down in spring and fall on days when flicker is at its worst.
“We’re not anti-wind,” she said. “We’re just looking for someone to help us. It’s just not right.”
Reilly has repeatedly written letters to the town, including one from Jan. 7 regarding the “continued invasive and excessive noise” from the turbine and says she’s being ignored.
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