Peru committee considers wind turbine noise levels

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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.

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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.

ecox@sunjournal.com

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