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Sheffield wind case: Timeline of years-long sound level fight

SHEFFIELD – A case before the Vermont Public Utility Commission (formerly the Public Service Board) over noise levels being allegedly exceeded from turbines at the industrial wind project in Sheffield has been concluded, and an agreement between the parties, Vermont Wind, LLC, and Sutton homeowner Paul Brouha of Sutton, has been issued.

A timeline of the case, which dates back just over six years officially – but concerns were documented starting in 2011 – follows from the public record in the decision by the PUC issued in recent weeks:


“On March 3, 2014, Mr. Brouha filed a complaint with the Commission alleging that the Project’s sound levels at his residence exceeded the limits of conditions 8 and 9 of the (CPG) … which require the Project not result in noise levels in excess of 30 dBA at surrounding residences,” the order lays out.

More than a full year later – on Dec. 11, 2015 – the Commission launched the investigation into Brouha’s complaint over sound limits.

In April of 2017, the Commission issued an order “adopting a plan for testing Project sound levels at Mr. Brouha’s residence.”

An independent consultant was required to do the work, by the Vermont Department of Public Service (DPS) at the time.

In September of that year, the Commission modified the sound-monitoring plan after it reconsidered the earlier order in response to a motion brought by Brouha through his attorney.

The new plan called for sound monitoring at the Brouha residence which took place in September and October of 2017.

Later, Brouha questioned the analytic methodology planned for the testing, in a subsequent motion.

Vermont Wind likewise filed a motion requesting reconsideration of the analytic methodology plan by the State.

In the winter of 2018, the DPS “reported that the results of the fall sound-monitoring campaign were inconclusive and recommended a spring sound-monitoring campaign using an alternative monitoring location in addition to the primary monitoring location used in the fall,” the order released in April goes on.

In April and May of 2018, the testing at the Brouha residence was undertaken by the independent consultant.

That October, the results of the wind testing at the Brouha home was released summarizing the data – and finding that the noise levels did exceed the CPG – and a litigation schedule for an evidentiary hearing was required.

At the evidentiary hearing in May of last year, requests to continue the hearing to allow the parties to discuss a potential resolution was granted until July 8, 2019, the record shows.

But in late June, Vermont Wind and Brouha filed a joint status update which announced “they had reached an agreement settling the issues involved in the investigation and were preparing a stipulation reflecting the terms of the agreement.”

Finally, in early February of this past winter, the parties filed the Stipulation which has now been agreed to and issued in the investigation conclusion order.