Antrim’s Board of Selectmen wants the state’s Site Evaluation Committee to help more with the complaints about the windmill project in town.
John Robertson, chairman of the select board, said the board has been hearing from residents who have problems with the noise generated by the $60 million Antrim Wind project. Residents have been complaining about the wall-shaking noise the windmills make, and the near-constant flashing lights.
“The select board will write a letter to the SEC, voicing concerns from the people,” Robertson said.
Richard Block, one of the residents who lives near the windmills, said he is pleased that the board is getting involved, though he wants to see results.
“It remains to be seen if the board will be proactive enough, but we’ll be watching,” Block said.
Antrim Wind is owned by Canadian utility company TransAlta, and is made up of nine wind turbines spread out across 1,700 acres in Hillsborough County. The project was first approved by the state’s Site Evaluation Committee, with limits on the amount of noise the turbines could generate and on the lighting on the turbines.
The project was completed last summer and the owners went before the SEC for a hearing in November where the committee was set to go over the post-construction issues. Block said the SEC never properly notified Antrim residents about that hearing. It was during that hearing that TransAlta was given a waiver on the noise testing it is required to do on site, resulting in the project being allowed to make more noise than originally anticipated.
Resident complaints about the noise pushed the SEC last month to create a subcommittee that will investigate issues residents have had with the project. Residents and lawmakers have also expressed concern that they are not getting notified of SEC meetings that deal with the project, and decisions are being made without their input.
Robertson said many of the issues people have with the SEC boil down to the state budget. The SEC had an administrative position cut, leaving the committee without a consistent avenue of communication with the public, he said.
“If you write a letter to the SEC, there’s no one to receive the letter,” Robertson said.
The SEC needs to be able to communicate with the public, especially as more renewable energy projects come online, Robertson said.
“We’re going to need more renewable energy facilities, but the committee needs assistance in order to do the job,” Robertson said.
[rest of article available at source]
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