Archive for the ‘Maine Public Utilities Commission’ Category

Excellent analysis of why a public policy response is needed for enforcing wind turbine noise standards: from a former Lt. Gov. of Vermont, Brian Dubie

October 7, 2015

Wind Turbine Noise: What you can’t hear can harm you.
by BRIAN DUBIE on October 6, 2015 at 9:33pm

Wind Turbine Noise: What you can’t hear can harm you.

What do you think of when you think of an industrial wind project? Wind developers want you to think of free, green electricity. People who live near industrial wind turbines think of noise. Let’s see why.

An Industrial Wind project in Swanton proposes to install seven 499-foot tall wind turbines along 6,000 feet of Rocky Ridge (elevation 323 feet). We recently learned that the developer of this proposed project plans to use Chinese made, Gold Wind 2.5mw turbines. The Chinese manufacturer Gold Wind http://www.goldwindamerica.comdoes not even list the noise rating of this turbines. Hiding a noise rating from the public is bad omen for proper siting for an industrial wind turbine. Let’s assume that the developer will use a GE 2.75-120 Wind Turbine. At 475 feet, it is slightly smaller than the developer’s Swanton turbines. GE says a single one of their 475-foot monsters can produce 106 dBA of noise. Scaling up to seven turbines would increase that noise to 109 dBA. (Noise is measured as pressure on a scale that is logarithmic, so sometimes the numbers are difficult to understand, but 109 dBA is loud. For comparison, my chain saw is rated at 109 dBA. I wear ear protection when I use it.)

So, when you think of industrial wind turbines on a ridge line, envision an airport with a line of airplanes that are holding for take-off. The airplanes are powered by chainsaw engines that have run up their engines to full power. But, unlike planes at an airport, the turbines never take off. Now, imagine this at 2am in the morning.

Some people will say wind turbines are not that noisy. Well that depends on how far from the turbines (chainsaws) and how many turbines (chainsaws) there are. Sound attenuates over distance. The further you are from the turbines (chainsaws) the more the noise attenuates and thus the quieter the sound is. Noise attenuation is also dependent on many topographical and meteorological factors. For example if you are downwind from the turbines (chainsaws) the noise is greater. If the turbines (chainsaws) are located on high ground, the noise carries farther. (more…)

Wind Power: Not Even Close to a Panacea for Energy Problems But It Sure Sucks Up A Lot Of Oxygen

September 16, 2015

CONTRIBUTORS
What New England’s foolhardy, clean energy policy looks like
The Oakfield Wind Project is now complete. A total of 48 turbines have been erected and are now producing electricity for SunEdison Inc.
By Chris O’Neil, Special to the Bangor Daily News
Posted Sept. 14, 2015, at 1:32 p.m.

Last Tuesday, Sept. 8, the New England electricity grid system operator (ISO-NE) had a terrible day. What played out Tuesday (and dozens of other days, especially in summer and winter) is a glaring example of our feel-good energy policies leading to catastrophic results. (more…)

Maine wind power: conflicts of interest abound

August 21, 2012

(The following from Citizens Task Force On Wind Power) On July 1, most of Central Maine Power’s customers unknowingly suffered a 19.6% increase in electrical transmission rates. If they did notice the shocking increase to their electric bill, they most likely failed to connect the rate hike with the aggressive agenda to push wind power in Maine. (more…)

Fox Islands Wind: fails to adequately respond to Maine Public Utilities Commission

August 10, 2011

It is a pattern with Fox Islands Wind: delay, twist the dialogue, use political influence in Augusta, and at the end either refuse to answer the question by regulators or provide answers to different questions, than the ones asked. Neighbors of the wind turbines have seen the pattern, time and again, over the past year and a half seeking some fairness and equity in the costs of excessive noise from the turbines. Recently, based on a complaint by neighbors, the Maine Public Utilities Commission asked the question of Fox Islands Wind: why should ratepayers be paying the costs of complying with noise rules and regulations? Instead of answering the PUC’s specific questions, Fox Islands Wind and George Baker provided a hodgepodge of answers, including data mismatched to the commissioners’ request. This is the same strategy FIW profitably deployed with Maine environmental regulators. Here is how Fox Islands Wind Neighbors responded to the FIW submittal to the Maine PUC.

What does the Maine PUC want from Fox Islands Electric Coop?

July 29, 2011

Since no one was interested in either the question or the answer, at the FIEC board meeting this week, here is what the Maine PUC wants to know: Maine Public Utilities Commission letter to FIEC asking many of the same questions Fox Islands Wind Neighbors asked, for a year and a half with no response. Frivolous? Don’t think so.

News: Fox Islands Wind Neighbors files petition against State of Maine

July 29, 2011

(For news reports, click on “Vinalhaven in the News” in the pages section) Neighbors of the Vinalhaven wind turbine farm filed a lawsuit (Fox Islands Wind Neighbors Petition for Review) against the state of Maine yesterday for failing to enforce noise regulations against Fox Islands Wind, the turbine operator. The neighbors’ lawsuit charges that the decision by Maine DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) on June 30th was arbitrary and capricious and driven by political meddling against the recommendation of DEP regulatory staff.

Everywhere industrial wind turbines are placed too close to residences, there are complaints. What distinguishes Vinalhaven from other aggrieved victims of wind turbine noise is the extent to which neighbors initiated their own acoustical measurements and engagement with state regulators who admit that state standards fail to capture the acoustical impacts of wind turbines. For a year and a half, Vinalhaven neighbors carefully documented violations of the state noise standard while the wind turbine farm operator, Fox Islands Wind, continuously denied it was breaking state law.

In a separate matter, the neighbors recently filed a complaint against the Vinalhaven Electric Cooperative with the Maine Public Utilities Commission, charging that the utility had improperly billed ratepayers for the turbine operator’s expenses related to ongoing regulatory issues. But at this week’s annual meeting of the Fox Islands Electric Coop, the issue was not even on the agenda. The local utility is required to respond to the Maine PUC by August 1st.

The complaint filed yesterday in Superior Court seeks to vacate the DEP decision and compel the agency to go back to the recommendations of regulatory staff that put the burden of noise compliance on the wind turbine operator and not on citizens bearing the costs.

Disappointment at Fox Islands Electric Coop Annual Meeting

July 26, 2011

Chip Farrington put the audience to sleep. George Baker talked about what a fabulous job he has done to stop the controversy over the turbine noise. Not a single mention was made of the Maine Public Utilities Commission response to the complaint filed by turbine neighbors. As a matter of fiduciary responsibility, the officers should have highlighted for ratepayers the Maine PUC request. The agency is seeking the same information that neighbors have been asking for a year and a half: data that FIW refuses to produce on the underlying economics of the project: we want to know, are the wind turbines saving ratepayers money or not?

For more detail, read the interview in Maine Business Daily with former Gov. Angus King, now a wind power developer, who highlights a visit to Vinalhaven over the 4th of July, “Waiting for the Winds of Change” and comments by a few readers that set the appropriate discussion. Click, ‘more’ to read the comments. (more…)

FIWN files complaint against FIEC with Maine Public Utilities Commission

July 25, 2011

For readers unfamiliar with the positions of Fox Islands Wind Neighbors, the complaint filed against Fox Island Electric Coop with the Maine Public Utilities Commission contains a library of information. You can read the entire MPUC Complaint here. By August 1st, FIEC must respond to a series of questions from the Maine PUC. One of the key points made by neighbors is that the turbine operator, FIW, should be shouldering the costs of noise violations and not FIEC ratepayers. Tom Zeller wrote for Huffington Post on the complaint.