Peru committee considers wind turbine noise levels

PERU — The town Wind Ordinance Committee discussed the issue of turbine sound at its Wednesday night meeting.

The committee voted to have a safety setback from property lines, roadways and public areas that is three times the height of a turbine, which would most likely amount to 1,500 feet, Chairman Bill Hine said.

When discussion switched to turbine sound, questions and concerns were raised.

Ann Erickson, of Sumner, said she attended a meeting in Augusta with the Bureau of Environmental Protection before attending the Wednesday night's committee meeting. She said legislators are discussing lowering the state's standards for acceptable sound levels measured in decibels. She believed the consensus was to pass the bill which would lower the acceptable decibel level to 42.

Hine asked the board to consider whether to set a setback distance for sound or to have a sound standard for the whole town.

The committee used Rumford's proposed wind ordinance as an example and noted that decibel levels were set for daytime and nighttime.

Committee member Steve Fuller asked why a wind company could not have a single decibel level for all hours of the day.

"If they can meet that level at night why can they not meet that level during the day?" he asked.

The board agreed to pencil in a 24-hour decibel level of 40.

Hine also wanted residents to be aware that EDP Renewables North America LLC, of Houston, Texas, is in the early stages of assessing whether a wind power project is possible in Peru.

The company was granted a permit in October 2011 to place a meteorological test tower off Black Mountain Road near the Sumner town line. A company representative told town officials this month that there could be 25 to 35 turbines involved, should the project be developed.

The committee agreed to meet at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, to further discuss sound setbacks and visual impacts.

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Peru may want to consider lights, since these are not talked about much. There are red blinking lights on half of the turbines. In Lincoln they stretch for 7 plus miles, which dominate the night skies. If you have lakes nearby the reflection is unnerving as one paddles across. Look at the pics at ...the pic of Upper Pond from the Egle's camp is telling. One cannot ignor this and it ruins the very reason people visit Maine's lakes. An ordinance to limit tower height so lighting is not required might be useful, and make it inclusive so cell towers and whatever else might come along are restricted too. Protect the citizens because the state and industry WILL NOT.

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The company was granted a permit in October 2011 to place a mete

The company was granted a permit in October 2011 to place a meteorological test tower

by whom? whose names?

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Peru, be sure and get a "Good

Peru, be sure and get a "Good Neighbor" agreement worked into any ordinance you draw up, requiring any wind developer to sign on the dotted line that if they exceed or violate your ordinance conditions, especially reagarding sound or shadow flicker, or cause harm to existing residents through property devaluations, they buy the injured party's property at fair market value. If they have an ounce of integrity they'll sign without a quibble. If they don't, send them packing.

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I noticed on 3 sound modeling maps provided to the DEP and LURC from the developer a trend.

The trend is a range of 35-45 dBa with-in a mile from turbine centers.

If we rural people are used to 20 dBa what will 42 dBa sound like?

On the decibel scale, doubling the intensity corresponds to an increase of 3 dB.

This does not correspond to a perceived doubling of loudness, however. We perceive loudness to be doubled when the intensity increases by a factor of 10! This corresponds to a 10 dB increase.

A change by 1 dB is about the smallest change a human being can detect.


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