Massachusetts environmental protection department flunks wind farm compliance test
Acoustics firm hired by power giant Con Edison fails to show compliance with noise regulations, and uses some pretty dodgy methodology, too
August 22, 2018
With thanks to Wind Wise Maine
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has rejected a technical report provided to the Town of Plymouth by Con Edison Inc., on wind turbines and compliance with noise regulations.
The technical report was prepared by Tech Environmental Inc., an environmental consulting firm based in Waltham, Mass.
In a politely written but nonetheless excoriating review letter, the DEP noted several critical points in the consultants’ report:
- There were no compliance audit data available at the time of commissioning as is required
- Two of the five turbines were turned off completely during monitoring
- Noise assessment was to be done during the quietest hours of the night so as to indicate a worst-case scenario, specifically 12 -4 a.m.; the assessment was done for two hours only, from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
- The consultant did not follow the government-required protocol for the presentation of data
- Several data points were missing entirely
As a result, the Massachsuetts DEP said, it was “unable to concur with Tech Environmental Inc.’s conclusion” that the noise assessment demonstrated compliance with the noise limits.
Read the relevant correspondence here:
This wholesale manipulation of data and flagrant contempt for regulations designed to protect health of the residents forced to live nearby industrial-scale wind turbines seems endemic to the wind power development industry.
In Ontario, many wind power projects are without completed acoustic Immission Audits post-operation as they are required and, when called on to perform assessments in the recent example of two homes in the Underwood project, seem free to manipulate the data at will. We regret too the news that the Ministry of the Environment Conservation and Parks has now accepted a noise abatement plan for the problematic single turbine operated by union Unifor, despite hundreds of complaints filed over five years, and the fact that noise complaints began on day one of the pilot noise abatement plan.
More government departments need to perform actual technical review of the material presented by power developers, and call them to account. If in violation, curtailment and shutdown need to be enforced, immediately.