Noise, noise and more noise
To the Editor:
Since it has been in operation the Lowell Wind Project has received 124 complaints about noise. Green Mountain Power has only acknowledged one instance of excessive noise, when there was ice buildup on the wind turbines. According to spokespeople, they are not responsible for this one instance because the turbine manufacturers from snowless Denmark failed to tell them that ice and snow could increase wind turbine noise. GMP's lawyers argued before the Public Service Board that because they incurred expenses trying to remedy the situation and were totally embarrassed by this one instance, that somehow morphed into six violations, their client should not be fined for any noise violations.
The Department of Public Service favors a plan that would call for continuous monitoring in lieu of fines imposed for violations of the 45-decibel limit. At a September hearing the Public Service Board granted Green Mountain Power 90 days to come up with a plan to do continuous monitoring of noise on the Lowell Mountain Wind Project. The question remains. Why does Green Mountain Power need 90 days to assess continuous noise monitoring when the Lowell Wind Project has been producing noise, sometimes in violation of its Certificate of Public Good, for more than a year? This would delay continuous noise monitoring until the end of December. Since noise from wind turbines begins to increase in the fall after the trees have shed their leaves and continues to increase during the winter, there should be continuous noise monitoring during this most critical time.
Judging from the history of the Lowell Wind Project, if GMP moves forward with continuous noise monitoring, it should be held to a higher standard of scrutiny than it ever has before. A realistic assessment of wind turbine noise could be a game changer in the debate over Big Wind. The discussion should begin to move away from merely counting decibels and start analyzing the real impacts of wind turbine noise on human health.
Newport Center, Vt.