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On quiet Maine lake, new wind farm over a mile away spurs noise issues

Human impacts, News, Wind turbines Add comments

This probably looked like a great place for a wind farm: only a handful of homes within a half mile, and nearly all the more densely-populated roads to the east and west well over a mile from the ridge on Flathead Mountain, where the Record Hill Windfarm was to be built.  After the bad experiences at Mars Hill and Vinalhaven, where residents within 3000-3500 feet reported serious noise issues, this location likely seemed like just the ticket. But this week, after a month of operations, several residents told the Roxbury selectmen that the slowly turning turbines had changed their peaceful lakeside existence for the worse.

Linda Kuras told the selectmen, “I know what the ice in the lake sounds like and this noise is not that. This is a repetitive thumping sound: a whemp, whemp. What was once a quiet night’s sleep is now this.” She described the low-frequency sound as being akin to heavy items in a clothes dryer tumbling around.  Selectman Tim DeRouche concurred, saying, “It sounds like wind gushing right over the mountain. It sounds like a jet.”  Both DeRouche and Kuras live along Roxbury Pond (noted as Ellis Pond on Google Maps); the closest homes along the lake shore are between a  mile and a quarter and a mile and a half from the turbines, according to this map from Record Hill Wind.

RecordHillWindFarm Roxbury ME

Selectmen encouraged residents to report their complaints to the State Department of Environmental Protection, which is still in the process of setting up a complaint management system for this new wind farm.  Record Hill’s director of community relations, a Roxbury resident, was in attendance, and noted the issues; he also shared that one turbine is awaiting a replacement part to fix a problem (the article didn’t clarify whether this turbine is operating or not).

By all accounts, the noise at the pond is not particularly loud, and is only sometimes audible, most notably when the pond and environs are otherwise dead quiet (which, we may presume, is one of the reasons many folks live there).

2 Responses to “On quiet Maine lake, new wind farm over a mile away spurs noise issues”

  1. Catherine Bayne Says:

    Excerpt from the Sun Journal:
    Board Chairman John Sutton told DeRouche that people with wind turbine noise complaints should contact the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. He said they have the ability to measure levels of sound, but Sutton is incorrect, Samantha DePoy-Warren, DEP spokeswoman, said by email on Thursday afternoon in Augusta.

    “The department does not have the equipment, staff, nor expertise to readily measure sound,” DePoy-Warren said.

    So the runaround begins! And all this desecration of a state once cherishing of its landscapes and spectacular fall foliage vistas for a big sWINDle.

    http://www.bentekenergy.com/WindPowerParadox.aspx

  2. aeinews Says:

    In fairness, the excerpt from the article that you mention is followed by more info from the DEP spokesperson, which indicates that while the DEP does not have staff/expertise to do field monitoring in acoustics, they hire acousticians to do so, and charge the developer for their time. And, the DePoy-Warren gave the name and email address of a specific person who will be fielding complaints from Roxbury, starting now.

    The Bentek Energy report presents one view of the CO2 question, from a fossil fuels advocacy perspective. As ever in these debates, the report has been critiqued, and is contradicted by, among others, DOE studies, which show reductions in overall CO2 output (with increased overall energy use) in at least some states with significant wind resources. None of this is as black and white as advocates for each side suggest…..

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