A Source of Information About Wind Energy In Franklin County and Western Massachusetts
Wind Turbines Don't Run on Wind - They Run on Subsidies
Small Wind-Big Problems
Lower real estate values, noise and health issues, and wild life impacts are reported in areas with large and small scale wind energy systems.
"I am unaware of any requirement that Massachusetts municipalities allow WEF (wind energy facilities)-by special permit, by right, at all." "towns may..altogether prohibit WEF's consistent with the Zoning Act and its authority under the Home Rule Amendment."
Small wind legal opinion-Adam Costa-1.pd[...]
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How much electricity do we need?
The Buckland Planning Board is Proposing allowing systems as large as 250 kW. Three Massachusetts towns, Peru, Heath and Shelburne, recently voted to allow wind production for on site use only. What does 250kW mean?
Sizes of electricity generating systems needed for average uses in the Buckland-Shelburne area:
Residential - 10 kW
Agricultural - 25 kW
Commercial - 30 kW for the largest spaces ( 3,000 square feet)
Light Industry - 10 kW
Source: Report of the Wind Advisory Committee to the Shelburne Planning Board - Octoher 7, 2013
Falmouth -The Woods Hole Research Center’s wind turbine
"I live.. [near a] 100[kw] wind turbine and the effects on me are very similar to what I’ve been hearing from neighbors of the Falmouth Wind 1 and Notus 400-foot wind turbines. It’s the low frequency noise or infrasound that bombards my home so that I can’t sleep. I have never experienced anything like this and I grew up very near a dam, railroad tracks, and an airport so I am used to noise.“
Small Wind Selected slides 10-15-13 PRG.[...]
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From the Slide Show - Reports of Problems with 10 kilowatt systems - a typical home owner system
Brewster, MA – 10 kw 2 bladed wind turbine
June 27, 2013 Brewster Planning Board minutes: Public Comments
Lincoln Hooper - Summary: He explained it has been noisy since the fall. He stated he was in favor of the project. He lives 800 feet away. He contacted the owner and the owner came to his house.
The day he visited, there was not a lot of wind. He called the next time it was loud. He believes it is clearly out of compliance. The owner told him it was recently serviced and the turbine is working the way it should work. Hooper's wife is having trouble sleeping. He requested the Board' s support.
Amy Rice - Summary: Rice noticed the sound in the early winter and spring. She hears it both outside and inside the house. She cannot keep the windows open. It is a constant vibration and has interrupted her sleep.
Brian Gustafson - Summary: Gustafson stated it is not a transient noise. The noise is persistent and chronic. He stated it sounds like a diesel truck idling. He is farther away than the other
neighbors are. He is concerned about the waiver in the decision. He stated it has to be tested by a third party. He questioned the thresholds. He questioned notice to the neighbors and clarification
of the abutter notification. He is concerned about property value. He hopes the process can be expedited.
Danni & Alex Jesudowich - April 13, 2012 Letter to Dr. Eten:
In actuality, we can hear the sound in nearly every area of our yard, almost constantly, day or night…some days are significantly worse than others. It will be impossible to sleep with the windows open during the summer months because of the constant droning. We had no idea that a small windmill would create such sound problems. The noise seems to be getting louder as time goes on.
Public Safety and Wildlife Impacts
Small Selected Slides-1.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [151.2 KB]
Small Wind Facilties Can Cause Big Problems - A Case Study
Is wind energy right for Buckland? The new proposed bylaw for Buckland allows wind energy systems of up to 250 kilowatts of capacity, a 120 foot height limit, and allows multiple turbines on single properties. Here is what happened in a small town just over the border in New York State. After multiple compaints to multiple agencies, and even after the town took the permtis away and ordered the turbines shut down, the turbines are still turning. And those bothered by the turbines continue to suffer. The turbines are 10 kilowatts.
video of this wind turbine
Is this what we want for Buckland?
Small Wind and wildlife
"Bird of Century" killed by wind turbine as hundreds of bird spotters watched
Bird-spotters were ecstatic about the first UK sighting of the rare white-throated needletail since 1991.
But their excitement soon turned to horror when it hit the 120ft structure’s rotating blades.
Hundreds of twitchers travelled the length of the country to see the “bird of the century” – only for it to fly into a wind turbine and die.
Buckland Wind Bylaws May Lower Real Estate Values
When asked if local bylaws allowing wind energy develpment could lower real estate values, expert Michael S. McCann responded:
I think the reality is that merely passing bylaws to allow wind projects near residential can motivate some people to sell or to NOT buy, and this can happen without any turbines actually present or an application pending. There has been at least one lawsuit where the buyer sued the seller for not disclosing that leases were being signed in the area. That is the trip-wire for existing residents, and also an ethical dilemma….to disclose or not disclose?
However, the closest to that situation that has been opined by any industry studies is the “wind farm anticipation stigma theory”, which was a conclusion of a grad student at Illinois State University. ISU is a decidedly pro wind academic advocate for wind development, and they get significant funding from industry for their renewable energy program. Jennifer Hinman wrote that study as a master’s thesis, and stated that her research found lower values occurred upon announcement of a project, but before construction. I think she may have been a little loose in her determination of “constructive notice” to the community that a wind project was forthcoming…relying on media announcements as opposed to leases being signed, which is even earlier information in the large scale multiple turbine projects.
On the other hand, when a community zoning or other ordinance/bylaw sets favorable conditions for attracting wind development, this can be viewed as a precursor to the use coming, and casts a cloud on the title to possibly affected properties and the overall market. Probably too speculative to meet legal criteria for a nuisance or a “taking”, but still an important factor for some people in the buy/sell decision process.
On a very basic level, “Value” is defined as “the present worth of anticipated future benefits”. Extra emphasis on “anticipated”. And if the benefits are perceived in the market as being at risk, or likely to be impaired, it affects decisions and sale prices. Of course, any definition of value assumes a fully informed buyer, and the PR campaigns of wind development regularly deny any adverse impacts, despite the considerable documented experience to the contrary. This is analogous to a home seller or broker claiming the roof does not leak, based on the fact that it is not raining now and thus not leaking.
Michael S. McCann
McCann Appraisal & Consulting, LLC
500 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Wind Turbine Noise Complaint Predictions Made Easy
Final Report on Small Wind Energy Systems, Shelburne, MA
Shelburne Small Wind Energy Report.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [897.7 KB]
Status Report on Small Wind Energy Projects Supported by the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust
This report analyzes the energy output of 21 small wind turbines installed in Massachusetts, with funding from the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust (MRET), to determine whether these systems are, on average, meeting energy production estimates made prior to, or directly after, their installation. This report also identifies possible causes of lower‐than‐expected energy production and quantifies their impacts.
What is the Background or Ambient Noise Level in Buckland?
Background noise levels for rural Buckland have not been documented in the course of proposing wind system noise standards. This study done in Ashfield may be relevant for Buckland.
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Massachusetts Towns Can Reject Large Scale Wind
Shelburne Industrial Wind Ban Upheld
SHELBURNE — The attorney general has OK’d the town’s one-year moratorium on windmills and a zoning ban of commercial electric generating windmills,” while allowing smaller-scale turbines for h
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Shelburne, MA- AG letter-wind byaws.pdf
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Shelburne Town Meeting Warrant.doc
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Hoosac Wind Project In The News
News from New York and Vermont
Lowell wind: Neighbors complain of ‘unbearable’ noise over weekend Robin Smith, Staff Writer | The Caledonian Record | 11/8/2012
The Lowell Mountain went online recently. Noise is being reported at 61/2 miles away.
lowell mountain noise compaints.zip
Compressed archive in ZIP format [544.5 KB]
Iberdrola is also the owner of the Hoosac Wind Project in Florida, MA
Residents sue Iberdrola and affiliates i[...]
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Dozens of neighbors of a $200 million wind farm sued the companies behind it, claiming noise and lights give them migraines, make them nervous and keep them up at night.
Iberdrola Wind Suit Complaint 10-22-12(1[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [1.6 MB]
Shelburne Wind Developer Returns Before the Town Votes on a Ban or Moratorium
SHELBURNE FALLS — Last week’s unexpected special permit application for a wind farm has left town officials in a quandary over whether a new, four-turbine facility proposed for Mount Massaemet cou
wind recorder 4-9-12.doc
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This permit was submitted to the Zoning Board of Appeals one day before the Shelburne Planning Board decided to bring a wind moratorium before the town for a vote.
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SHELBURNE — Selectmen have placed on the annual town meeting agenda the Planning Board’s call for a year-long moratorium on all windmills, while the planners develop a zoning bylaw for siting wind
wind recorder 4-11-12.doc
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Shelburne Wind Developer Attempts to Maneuver Around Town Meeting Bylaw Change Process
The wind farm proponents pulled a pre-emptive legal maneuver Monday, when they filed subdivision plans for the land where the four 328-foot tall windmills would be located.
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The Planning Board Wednesday night rejected a subdivision application for the Mount Massaemet Windfarm — an action that could keep the four-turbine electricity generating facility from going forward
wind recorder 5-10-12.doc
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Residents voted down the idea of using paper ballots, and a
two-thirds vote was required for each proposed bylaw change.
They voted 229-46 in favor of an article allowing small wind
turbines for “on-premises use” and voted 196-57 in favor of a definition for
small turbines for home, farm or business use. The vote on excluding commercial
wind turbines passed by 195-57.
Everyone voted in favor of the moratorium, which was adopted
Michael Parry said it’s too early to know what the next
steps will be. “We’re certainly happy that the town sent a clear message about
(commercial) wind,” he said. “Mr. Field has said repeatedly he wanted to know
what the town thinks. The message couldn’t have been any clearer.”
Do you want this near you or your neighbors?