DPS criticizes the noise monitoring plan for the wind project

[T]The State Civil Service Department and a citizen group are both calling for significant changes to the proposed wind noise monitoring plan for the Deerfield Wind Project under construction along Highway 8 in Searsburg and Readsboro.

In comments submitted on June 15 to the Public Service Board, which is reviewing the company’s monitoring plan, the DPS questions Deerfield Wind’s role in the selection or supervision of the monitoring contractor and the specific methods of monitoring to determine the effects of noise on residences in the area.

The DPS asked the board to “reject the proposed noise monitoring protocol and require Deerfield Wind to submit a revised protocol” including the changes suggested by the ministry. The ministry’s position was echoed by the Wind Action Group and Thomas Shea, who owns property in Searsburg and is a stakeholder in the project permit process.

The 15-turbine wind project is being developed by Avangrid Renewables, which hopes to commission the facility by the end of this year.

The DPS points out that the company’s proposal, filed in May, says the developer will choose a contractor to carry out strong oversight, “subject to board approval.”

But the department opposes it and declares: “All sound checks must be carried out by an expert in sound control selected and supervised by a state body appointed by the Civil Service Council.

The DPS also objected to the reference in the monitoring plan to a “neutral third-party observer, mutually acceptable to be selected by the Ministry of the Civil Service” for an initial monitoring period of two weeks to assess compliance. noise requirements.

In addition, the DPS is requesting changes to the company plan for four seasonal follow-up sessions of two weeks each in the first year, instead offering two annual follow-up sessions of at least five weeks.

The noise complaint resolution protocols requested by the DPS include the specification that a complaint phone number be given to city clerks and selection committees, and that neighbors be given a number for the site supervisor. The department also wants Deerfield Wind to be required to record information about complaints, including weather and operating conditions, in reports to the board and the DPS.

Wind Action executive director Lisa Linowes said her group’s objections to the monitoring plan roughly mirror those of the ministry. Among Wind Action’s main complaints, she said, the plan proposes to investigate complaints only within a 1.5 mile radius of project sites and that only complaints from full-time residents be addressed. account.

Shea is a part-time resident who has criticized the project. He submitted his comments on the monitoring plan in conjunction with Wind Action.

Another issue, Linowes said, is whether the monitoring will capture every incident when the turbines exceed their allowable noise levels, given weather variables, season, level of power generation and other factors. She said the general guidelines are that turbine noise should not exceed 45 decibels outside a neighboring residence or 30 decibels inside.

Linowes said she believed the Civil Service Council would “ask Deerfield to review this plan.”

She said she preferred the council to hold an informal session to focus on the technical aspects of the plan and try to resolve disagreements. She stated that this would be preferable to the exchange of formal written comments and responses by the parties, which would take much longer.

Linowes said the board had requested a response from Deerfield Wind by June 28 to the comments.

Paul Copleman, spokesperson for the developer, could not be reached on Monday.

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