“The vibration comes through the walls” (Massachusetts)

Jul 31, 2010

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To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Nan Cook, and I live in Newburyport, Mass. First of all, I am not against wind power, but for properly siting these huge pieces of equipment.

We had a 292-foot Elecon T600-48 installed roughly 1,000 feet from our house in January 2009 (600kWatt). Noise and flicker modeling was done by experts who assured us the studies were correct. Noise would not be an issue and flicker would be not be perceived. However, reality is different than models. Wind and weather data can be modeled over time, but not predicted.

We did not know the turbine would create a light show at night as the red Federal Aviation Administration [required] flashing light strobes up each 78 foot blade 13 or 23 times per minute as the blades rotate.

We did not know that shadow flicker can occur at night with a full moon; that we hear it at night when the noise levels are quieter; and that it is not as quiet as a refrigerator. Some neighbors have taken to sleeping with window fans and TVs running to drown out the low frequency hum.

We found out that the sound is not louder, but is more annoying, than birds singing. It doesn’t go away unless the wind stops. The vibration comes through the walls in some houses. Fog and unstable air seem to make the turbine sound louder. The noise bounces off the houses at odd angles and depends on the wind direction, so that one minute you hear it, the next you don’t. We have had ice build up, even with an insignificant 2 inch snow fall. This did not create blade imbalance, nor did the rotor shut down as documents published by experts clearly stated. It did, however, make the turbine sound louder. And lately we have learned that once a little wear occurs on the blade surfaces, and the lubrication oils thin, the sound increases.

Contrary to the experts, this is not a “gentle whoosing sound,” nor does it sound like “a kid riding a wagon down the street.” This sound is not masked by the wind, but can be heard distinctly over the wind at times.

We have had a “flicker report” prepared by experts, showing a mass of circles marked with “A” through “E” with times of flicker start and end printed in a 24-hour time. Are you in “A”? Are you in “E”? How do you read this thing? Where are the houses marked? Show me where my house is! The experts said we will not get any shadow flicker during the month of April until April 16th. Our neighborhood sits east of the turbine, the worst receptor for evening shadow flicker. Yet neighbors have been bathed in a huge shadow strobing over 10 houses and three streets on sunny days. People have logged hours of flicker already. Drapes do nothing, yet people close them still, at the end of the day, and the strobe effect can make you dizzy for hours afterward, like an amusement park ride that spins around. Sometimes you can’t go in your backyard because the flicker is still there. It has truly affected the quality of our lives. I feel for people who can’t get out of their houses on their own.

I urge you to consider the neighborhoods under your care, and ensure these turbines are sited in a way that doesn’t affect the quality of your neighbors’ lives, like our lives. The developers will tell you all meets spec, but specs are created in a laboratory atmosphere or on a computer program, and developers will “spin” the data in a positive light so their project is approved. In our case, we are realizing too late that the specs were wrong. We are currently hoping the safety specs are not wrong.

Thank you for your consideration.

Nan Cook
Newburyport, MA
www.backbaywind.org
July 27, 2019

NOT against Wind Turbines.  FOR responsible siting.

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