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VN 7/17 - Maine Problem

UPC Wind's industrial wind power project on Mars Hill in Maine, just completed this winter, has caused a lot of local stir, primarily because of the noise it makes. Residents who live within half a mile of the project began complaining of disturbing thumping noises as soon as the turbines were activated. Since then, UPC has done a lot of public relations "damage control" and commissioned its own noise study to evaluate the situation. The results are now public.

Did UPC's noise study find and correct the problem?
- No. According to UPC's new numbers, there really isn't a problem. Their project meets the noise criteria they said it would. Period.
- Why is there still a problem? The answer can be found by comparing the noise study done for Cohocton with the new one done in Maine.
- Both studies have fraudulently defective assessments of ambient noise obtained by using improper wind screens on their microphones which give baseline noise levels that are 5-10 dBA high. The resulting levels of "allowable noise" are therefore 5-10 dBA too high as well.
- Both studies assume that turbine noise will be masked by ambient noise but overlook the fact that naturally-occuring ambient noise does not have the deep low "thumping" sounds that turbines generate.
- Both studies estimate noise propagation and masking based on the average noise turbines generate at all frequencies (106 dBA) not their much higher dBA output at lower frequencies (120 dBA).
- Microphones used to monitor noise compliance don't measure accurately down into the thumping frequencies below 100 Hz.

So the result is troublesome noise that UPC can deny. What else can you expect from a developer whose bottom line is making money? Costly corporate honesty? It's time to wake up and smell the coffee before it's too late and we're all stuck with noise that won't go away.

Click on the Label for Noise below
for more "Updates" articles about this subject, then go to the Sound section on our main website for more background information and updated links, including this link to an index page of UPC noise studies. After you've studied the noise problem for a while, be sure to let our Town leaders know what you think.



for this post

Anonymous Anonymous Says:


Just thought I'd bring you up to date a bit on our scene. I've been busier than a bee in spring time lately, meanwhile a lot has been happening - some of it quite good.

* We "won" an appeal to the Oregon Supreme Court challenging the County's approval of temporary use permits for UPC's wind measurement devices which they had already erected while the case was pending in the various levels of court. Unfortunately it wasn't a clean win in that the Oregon Court remanded the case back to the County Court, saying they need to do it over because they did it improperly - not "they can't do it" which is what we were hoping for. We appealed on a number of points: 1) UPC claimed the met towers were independent of the energy facility. Right! 2) County ordinances stipulate that the application must be filed by a lease holder; UPC isn't the lease holder, GE is. 3) The Oregon Dept of Wildlife required that UPC contact them to coordinate wildlife studies; they never did. So we'll see what they do with these points now.
* One of the 3 landowners who has leased their land for the windfarm has decided they don't want to do this any more and is working on getting out of the contract.
* We have learned that another landowner has not yet signed a contract.
* The local newspaper has been very helpful and favorable to our perspective.
* The site certificate will be approved at the state level. They are recognizing a lot of public opposition to the project and are coming next week for an informal visit and public comment meeting.

Your comparison of sound studies with that of Mars Hill will be useful to us at the comment meeting. We are making arrangements for an independent study to be done.

We have added a bit to our website.

You all are in our prayers.


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