SCITUATE – A study that will look into if noise created by the Scituate wind turbine is acceptable by state standards likely won’t start until late March, Al Bangert, the town’s special projects manager, said.
Selectmen agreed a little over a year ago to commission a noise study, the town’s third, after years of complaints from residents living near the 262-foot turbine on the Driftway. An engineer was chosen last spring and the study was expected to get underway early this month, but problems with temperature control in the turbine’s engine have the engine running below full capacity and have pushed off the study’s start date.
“When we test it for noise compliance with the state regulations, we want to make sure that we are testing the turbine under normal conditions,” Bangert said.
The turbine was first built in 2012 and is just 666 feet from the nearest home. Residents have been fighting the town over the turbine for years, saying the noise keeps them up at night and that the flicker caused by the blades turning in front of the sun causes frequent headaches.
Two previous studies by the town showed that while the turbine is in compliance with the state’s noise regulations, residents complain most often during the summer between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., when the wind is less than 10 mph and blowing in a southwest direction. The town shuts down the turbine during those hours and conditions, but nearby homeowners say it’s not enough.
The most recent study, conducted in 2017, said complaints were still up and Bangert said maybe it was time to consider shutting the turbine down at night year-round. In a presentation to selectmen back then, town health director Jennifer Keefe said the move would cost the town about $163,000 in yearly revenue.
Bangert said the current turbine issues are expected to be fixed by the end of next month and that the study will begin as soon as they are. The town has contracted Maynard-based engineering firm Epsilon Associates to complete the work.
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