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New wind sound standards won’t affect Holland project; Impact on pending Kidder Hill Wind is unclear

HOLLAND – The single-turbine Dairy Air Wind Project will not be affected by new noise rules for new wind turbine projects in Vermont.

The new rule, which will go into effect Nov. 22, will apply to any wind project that files a petition for a certificate of public good on or after that date, according to state utility and wind project regulators on the Vermont Public Utilities Commission.

One pending project that will likely be effected is a project by renewable energy developer David Blittersdorf, Kidder Hill Wind Project,where two industrial wind turbines are intended for Blittersdorf’s Kidder Hill property in Irasburg or on the Lowell section, or one in each town.

He had filed a petition for Kidder Hill but the commission found that there were details missing or incomplete in the application, including the impact on the electric grid and the need for impacts on the ecology of the area.

The new rules set a limit of 42 decibels of sound from a wind turbine at a distance 100 feet from a home during the day and 39 decibels at night. Large wind project developers will be subject to sound monitoring to make sure that the established level is being complied with, the PUC notes in a statement Wednesday.

For small wind projects (up to 50 kilowatts) and medium wind turbines (50 to 150 kW – the kind seen on farms in Vermont) the limit is 42 decibels at 100 feet, the commission notes.

Blittersdorf could not be reached for comment on whether he will refile his petition for the Kidder

Hill Project before the new rule goes into effect.

Industrial wind project opponent Annette Smith, executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, said she does not believe that Kidder Hill Wind has time to pull together the reports and studies to file an updated petition before the deadline.

Smith and Mark Whitworth of Energize Vermont, which also opposes large wind projects, said that the new standards are less strict than the temporary standards that are in place.

The standards were set as required under the Legislature, the commission states.

In setting statewide standards, the commission sought to protect neighbors’ interests while preserving the opportunity to develop wind projects as part of Vermont’s renewable energy goals, according to the commission’s statement.

“The Legislature entrusted us with a most difficult task,” commission Chairman Anthony Roisman said.

“The commission undertook an extensive process that included a thorough review of scientific research and practices in other jurisdictions, while listening to hundreds of Vermonters with many different perspectives regarding wind projects.

“We sincerely appreciate the constructive input given by Vermont residents, state agencies, legislators, and acoustic experts who assisted us in developing the rule.”

The text of the final rule adopted by the PUC is available on its website: http://puc.vermont.gov/ about-us/statutes-and-rules/current- rules-and-general-orders.