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Two dozen families struggling with noise at Pinnacle Wind Farm

Human impacts, News, Wind turbines Add comments

The State Journal, a West Virginia business magazine, recently published a comprehensive article updating the situation at the Pinnacle Wind Farm in Keyser, WV, where more than two dozen families continue to struggle with noise from 23 turbines atop a steep ridge line (see earlier AEI coverage).  

At the beginning of June, the state PSC dismissed a complaint by neighbor Richard Braithwaite, which asked for turbines to be shut down at night, saying that because no sound conditions were placed on the site certificate issued by the PSC, it has no jurisdiction to consider such complaints.  Spot measurements taken at Braithwaite’s home measured 45dB, well below the 56dB state noise limit; Braithwaite has regularly measured higher sound levels both inside and out, and a PSC staffer who visited agreed that the noise was “very prominent” at times.  In dismissing the complaint, the PSC noted that while it would not step into the situation, the neighbors could seek recourse through a nuisance claim in civil court; the neighbors are considering such a step.

This week, Gary Braithwaite (Richard’s brother) filed a new complaint, asking for a full shut down of the project.  It’s unclear how this complaint may differ procedurally from the earlier one in ways that could change the PSC’s lack of jurisdiction.  Meanwhile, the article also updates the progress that Edison Mission Group, the wind farm developer, is making on their plans to install sound-reduction louvres on the turbines, which is expected to reduce routine sound levels by about 7db; it’s unclear whether this will reduce noise issues, since for many neighbors, it seems to be blade noise that is most problematic. UPDATE, 7/7/12: The PSC has dismissed Gary Braithwaite’s complaint, noting its similarities to his brother’s complaint.

For those following this and similar community noise response situations, the full article is well worth a read.

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