Dartmouth Wind Turbines -Rejected by Residents

Posted in the North Dartmouth Forum

Bill Carson

Mattapoisett, MA

#1 Dec 17, 2009
http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/...

Public packs forum on turbines
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December 16, 2009 4:35 PM

By CHRISTINA STYAN
Special Writer
DARTMOUTH Approximately 100 people attended a public forum held on Dec. 9 at Dartmouth High School on the proposed municipal wind turbine project being proposed for a site off Chase Road.
"Scheduled by town officials the forum is to give residents an opportunity to ask questions, to inform and clarify. It is not a debate," remarked Town Moderator Steven Sharek at the outset of the forum.
Alternative Energy Committee (AEC) Chairman Ronald DiPippo and consulting engineer and president of Atlantic Design Engineers LLC Simon Thomas presented a project overview for the audience, and addressed some resident concerns about shadow flicker, noise and fears of lowering homeowners' real estate values.
The turbines, to be located at 687 Chase Road, are estimated to cost $9.2 million; $2 million is already slated to come from renewable energy bonds authorized by the Internal Revenue Service at a one percent interest over 15 years, Dr. DiPippo indicated. The projected revenue data shows a positive cash flow for the town in the first year of operation, he noted.
Dr. DiPippo noted that the impact shadow flicker increases as you get closer to the turbine. On the town website,the AEC has posted a calendar graph for selected residences near the proposed site, displaying the number of hours each day that homes might be subjected to flicker.
Flicker is not a strobe effect, but rather a slow background process which lessens the farther away you go, he said.
The two 100-meter towers (referred to as the North and South Turbines) are buffered from neighbors by a radius of 960 feet and 860 feet respectively. Within the 860 feet radius there is only one residence, as compared to the Mass. Maritime wind turbine, which operates near several homes, a parking lot and playing fields, and campus buildings, he noted.
To monitor the noise levels, engineers used three microphones near the site to calculate the ambient noise. The data showed the proposed increased level are within the required limits, noted Dr. DiPippo.
In a study conducted by members of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory on the financial impact of turbines on residential property values, Dr. DiPippo presented facts recorded in nine states at 24 wind turbine sites. None of the models uncovered conclusive evidence of widespread financial impact, he noted.
There were some words of opposition, however. Chase Road resident Jeanne Nesto, living only 860 feet from a turbine location, criticized the project because of health and safety problems associated with industrial-sized turbines.
She cited symptoms defined as "Wind Turbine Syndrome" that were causing medical problems for hundreds of families living within one mile of operating turbines sites.
David Costa, another Chase Road resident, complained that he never received a phone call or letter about the wind turbines proposed for the neighborhood. "It is a shame that for four years, no one was notified. Why weren't we notified in the beginning?" he questioned.
According to Select Board member Natalie Dias, the AEC was established in January 2004, and has been testing areas and measuring the wind ever since. "I am sorry you feel we ignored you, but the area was chosen not very long ago," she commented.
If the Select Board approves of the AEC and Department of Public Works application for special permits Monday, the next step will be securing funding approval at Special Town Meeting.
tentatively scheduled for January 26. If the permit is issued, the Select Board will be filing an article on the warrant asking for an appropriation for a bond to fund the turbine project.
Mary Delaney

Providence, RI

#2 Dec 17, 2009
Public speaks on turbine plan
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December 16, 2009 4:35 PM

By ROBERT BARBOZA
Editor
DARTMOUTH Not everyone in town thinks that a proposal to erect a pair of commercial wind turbines at the municipal wastewater treatment plant off Chase Road is a good idea.
Neighborhood advocates rose in opposition to the project at Monday night's marathon Select Board public hearing on the special permit application after Alternative Energy Committee (AEC) Chairman Dr. Ronald DiPippo made an extensive presentation on the many benefits of the project.
The installation of the two commercial turbines on 100-meter towers will cost an estimated $9.2 million, to be paid by long-term bonds. According to Dr. DiPippo, electricity savings will cover the debt service.
Revenue from the sale of clean energy bond credits and power sold back to the utility company should generate $880,000 the first year, with a net financial benefit to the town of $32 million over 20 years, he indicated.
Dr. DiPippo's presentation noted there will be some "minimal" impacts from the project, with a small number of area residences potentially affected by shadow/flicker, noise, a degraded view, or the threat of falling ice.
He suggested the biggest potential problem, shadow/flicker effect, could easily be solved by shutting off the turbine at certain times of day,
It was that handful of affected residents that turned out in force Monday night, with Jeanne Nesto of 727 Chase Road presenting a petition of over 100 residents who think the plans are "fundamentally unfair" to surrounding neighborhoods.
A number of homeowners expressed concerns that the looming towers would hurt property values; Dr. DiPippo countered with a recent study showing turbines have no long-term negative effect on home values.
"I don't think most people think something like this should be anywhere near people's homes," Richard Borges suggested. "This is a bad idea; we don't want it!" another neighbor chimed in.
Resident John Alewood told the Select Board he was worried about airborne dust from a local gravel pit, and bio-aerosols stirred up around the treatment plant.
Edward Britto, speaking for a number of area residents, said the proposed towers are just too high, and pose health and safety risks for neighbors.
There are no other 100-meter towers on land in the U.S., Britto noted, except a few test units. "These are still considered prototypes in Europe," he told the Select Board.
The board now will spend a week considering the public input, and reviewing data, and is expected to vote on the special permit application at their Dec. 21 meeting.
"We're going to be looking at facts," said Select Board Chairman Joseph Michaud. "We are weighing the obvious financial gains from the turbines with the best interests of the community," he added.
The board will also use the continued public hearing process to do additional research on similar projects elsewhere, get answers to technical questions, and consider potential conditions on the project.
If the permit is approved, the Special Town Meeting warrant for Jan. 26 will likely contain an article seeking bonding authority for the project
A bunch of bunk

Windham, NH

#3 Jan 1, 2010
There are many 100 meter towers in the US and abroad. They are not experimental.
No Bunk

New Bedford, MA

#4 Jan 4, 2010
To the contrary, the only other standing 100+ meter towers in the US are the 21 105 meter units in an abandoned oil field in Snyder TX (not a home in site). Actually, there is still no 100m ones working. The techniques used in 100+ meter tower construction is still in development so they are considered experimental or prototypes even by the manufacturers. Do your homework, I have.

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