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Falmouth Town Meeting Members Nix Turbine Shutdown

Falmouth town meeting members rejected a measure that would have shut down the town’s embattled wind turbines at Thursday’s town meeting.

Town meeting members voted 101-73 against an article that would have shut down the town’s turbines, Wind One and Wind Two, according to the Cape Cod Times. The turbines will continue to operate between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Residents have long complained the turbines cause negative health effects like headaches and depression.

Town meeting members also rejected a measure that would have required the town to notify residents if the water department found possible contamination in the water supply. Right now officials are only required to notify the state until the contamination is confirmed.

What do you think of Thursday’s vote? Tell us in the comments below.

Blowin Smoke November 25, 2012 at 02:34 AM
"Wind Turbine Syndrome: mass hysteria in the 21st Century?" By a professor of public health.. http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/wind-turbine-syndrome-mass-hysteria-21st-century
David Kent November 25, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Blowin, The author of that book is a Pediatrician from upstate New York. Ironically, she's from Fox Hospital in Cooperstown which is very near my hometown. A good country hospital. But Pediatricians from good country hospitals are hardly qualified to comment upon turbine effects. She has no training or credentials that are applicable to evaluating the effect of turbines. The term "Wind Turbine Syndrome" comes from this author. That's not a recognized syndrome, rather, it's something that she coined. Now I believe the turbine neighbors and I believe that something should be done to help them even if that something is costly to the town. That does not mean, however, that I accept every argument from the anti-turbine side. And the contention that this author is credible in this debate is incorrect.
Blowin Smoke November 25, 2012 at 04:57 PM
David Kent, you are 100% correct - Nina Pierpont is hopelessly biased and unqualified. But the link I sent is NOT to her work. It's an article written by the director of research at Syndey School of Public Health, Sydney University, Australia. He's written over 360 peer-reviewed articles. You should READ it... note he also sent a long letter to the Falmouth Board of Health in May 2012. http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/wind-turbine-syndrome-mass-hysteria-21st-century
David Kent November 25, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Blowin, Sorry for mixing up the Pierpont thing. But it's worth having said: She's not an authority. I have read some of the Australian guy's work (at a high level), including his letter to the Falmouth Board. I've spent more time reading the State's survey of wind turbine studies and I've done shallow review of other such surveys. After all of that (not that I've done exhaustive work) here's where I've come out so far: 1. Existing science DOES NOT support the existence of effects of turbines on human health. 2. Existing science provides little evidence of the impact of turbines on human mood, etc. (exception: Sleeping). 3. I still believe the neighbors. It takes science time to understand things. It is possible for human experience to defy the statistical findings of science (Effects MAY exist even though studies can't find statistically significant differences). Normally, I adhere strictly to science and evidence. But here, talking to a couple of neighbors for significant periods of time has caused me to take a different course. I readily admit that I can't defend my position with science and evidence. I still waver on this: I could change my mind.
mark cool November 26, 2012 at 12:23 PM
David - FYI - International Journal NOISE & HEALTH - peer reviewed support in the article titled 'Effects of industrial wind turbine noise on sleep and health'. (Michael Nissenbaum, Chris Hanning and Jeffery J. Aramin) ~~The adverse events of sleep disturbance and ill health by those living close to IWTs ARE SUPPORTED.~~ see www, noiseandhealth.org (featured -http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121110/NEWS/211100329)
mark cool November 26, 2012 at 01:29 PM
David - Some more reading / refs / info for the realities of living with industrial wind turbine noise can be found at the Acoustic Ecology Institute : http://www.acousticecology.org/srwind.html I hope you will see when you read this link that they are presenting a fair and balanced information source on the issues. Of all the sites I have seen on wind turbine noise issues, I would highly recommend it for giving an impartial view.

Every two years the wind industry, acousticians, MD’s, noise professionals, academics et al all get together for what’s called the International Conference on Wind Turbine Noise. If industrial wind turbine noise was not a problem, why do they have an international two yearly conference on it? The ref. Blowin repeatedly cites begs the question - I wonder what Chapman's motivation is? it is bizarre that a tobacco lobbyist chooses to focus on this issue. Let alone a lobbyist that is also an academic, and it seems he hasn't properly analysed the papers he cites in his article. In fact, he distorts some of his references! Sloppy stuff.
mark cool November 26, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Health Canada cites these peer-reviewed scientific articles indicating that wind turbines may have an adverse impact on human health: -

Keith, S. E., D. S. Michaud, and S. H. P. Bly. 2008. A proposal for evaluating the 
potential health effects of wind turbine noise for projects under the Canadian 
Environmental Assessment Act. Journal of Low Frequency Noise, Vibration and Active Control, 27 : 253-265. -

Michaud, D., S. H. P. Bly, and S. E. Keith. 2008. Using a change in percentage 
highly annoyed with noise as a potential health effect measure for projects under the 
Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Canadian Acoustics, 36(2): 13-28. 

 -Pedersen, E., and Halmstad, H. I. 2003. Noise annoyance from wind turbines – a 
review. Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Report 5308. -
Pedersen, E. and Persson Waye, K. 2008. Wind turbines – low level noise sources 
interfering with restoration? Environmental Research Letters, 3: 1-5. -

Pedersen, E., and Persson Waye, K. 2007. Wind turbine noise, annoyance and 
selfreported health and wellbeing in different living environments. Occup. Environ. Med. 64: 480-486. -

Pedersen E. and Persson Waye, K. 2004. Perception and annoyance due to wind 
turbine noise – a dose-response relationship. J. Accoust. Soc. Am. 116: 3460-3470. 

-World Health Organization (WHO). 1999. Guidelines for Community Noise. Eds. B. 
Berglund, T. Lindvall, D. H. Schwela. WHO: Geneva.
David Kent November 26, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Mark, You've collected a bunch of papers that, in you opinion, support your side of this argument. It would be easy to generate a similar list of papers that argue the other way. Finding the truth amongst conflicting sources is above my pay grade (and beyond my available time). That's why credible overview studies of the available science are so important: Like the one produced last May for MassDep which employed a panel of qualified people to review the science and said that Science has found little evidence of turbine effects on humans. In some situations they found very little evidence, in others they found some evidence. As I recall, just about the only area in which the report spoke confidently of impact on humans was upon sleep. Of course, as science always does, the report relied upon statistics. In order to say that there was a demonstrated impact, data had to show a statistically significant difference. The report pulled its punches consistently via that statistical approach. So, I think that the science in this are is far from conclusive as to the demonstrated effects of turbines. But that doesn't mean that there aren't effects. Science may not have caught up yet. Anyway, I think that conversations with neighbors are more important than the science in this case. The neighbors I've talked to are believable. I'm not going to say to them "I don't believe you because science hasn't demonstrated what you're saying using statistics".
mark cool November 27, 2012 at 01:33 PM
David - I think it clear what those references show (not simply my opinion). This is part of the list being used to launch the Canadian health study of turbine. The implication, similar to that of the Mass DEP/DPH Expert Panel report, is that more research is necessary. Specific to Falmouth, in my opinion, this position is compelling enough to recognize that our Wind Turbine noise problem quite likely causes community health issues, even if difficult to measure. The Falmouth problem is an example of non-compliance of noise pollution by operating Wind 1. I use this example because the turbine was specifically accepted by the community (our neighborhood) before construction, and they (State Agencies/Industry Consultants/Town Administration) gave assurances it would not be noisy. That hasn’t been the case once it started operating. The DEP test of Wind 1’s exceedance is the proof. It far from the proof necessary to determine to what extent of non-compliance, rather, it's an indication that other exceedances/violations are very likely. The implication of what is required (until further statistical proof is available) seems obvious. It’s a shame the issue has so many doubting Thomas’s, and/or those more willing to perpetrate continued harm because it’s too costly to protect neighbors from further risks of harm.
David Kent November 27, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Mark, I wonder: What is the typical attitude of a Town Meeting member voting against shutting the turbines off? I’ll speculate, but I’d be interested in what you think. I’d say that the attitude of the typical “no” Town Meeting voter is as follows: 1. He/she doesn’t believe you guys. He/she thinks that you’re making a mountain out a mole hill. 2. He/she is concerned about the hole that shutting the turbines down would put in the town budget. I’d also say that there a very few TM members who believe you’re suffering greatly BUT still vote against shut down. Thoughts?
mark cool November 28, 2012 at 07:11 PM
David, Your assessment concerning whether TM voters believe the ill effected neighbors has me somewhat confounded. I understand your point, but would question your assertion that that very few TM members believe we’re suffering greatly. Obviously there is a portion of voters that think we’re liars. However, the past spring town meeting’s vote upheld a conditional shut-down of the turbines. I believe this is telling. TM members believed we we’re suffering at that time. This gives me hope that people remain sympathetic and that they want to provide the relief we seek. Theses two TMs behind us, I’m left to conclude that many spring TM voters, still having our best ‘wellness’ interests at heart, became inclined to focus on what you implied regarding the town budget. This time, being the fiduciary government body, those TM voters gave priority to the town’s fiscal health, rather than it’s community health. The community’s health, after all, is the responsibility of the health board. Though disappointed with the outcome, and trying to be objective, I believe TM voters did what they had to do. Bringing me to my thought I’ve always felt. The solution to this health problem, not at all unlike an emergency boil water order, cannot be steered by politics. Rather, the designated government body having authority to decide courses of action during an immediate community health problem, should rest only with the board of health.
mark cool November 28, 2012 at 07:12 PM
David -The question I would pose, given the May 24 testimonials, weight of similar world wide anecdotal stories, and the growing body of effect specific scientific evidence offering plausibility to the harm, would you shut them off? Removing all the politics involved, would you urge the board of health to err on the side of caution? Thoughts?
mark cool November 28, 2012 at 07:13 PM
David, Your assessment concerning whether TM voters believe the ill effected neighbors has me somewhat confounded. I understand your point, but would question your assertion that that very few TM members believe we’re suffering greatly. Obviously there is a portion of voters that think we’re liars. However, the past spring town meeting’s vote upheld a conditional shut-down of the turbines. I believe this is telling. TM members believed we we’re suffering at that time. This gives me hope that people remain sympathetic and that they want to provide the relief we seek. Theses two TMs behind us, I’m left to conclude that many spring TM voters, still having our best ‘wellness’ interests at heart, became inclined to focus on what you implied regarding the town budget. This time, being the fiduciary government body, those TM voters gave priority to the town’s fiscal health, rather than it’s community health. The community’s health, after all, is the responsibility of the health board. Though disappointed with the outcome, and trying to be objective, I believe TM voters did what they had to do. Bringing me to my thought I’ve always felt. The solution to this health problem, not at all unlike an emergency boil water order, cannot be steered by politics. Rather, the designated government body having authority to decide courses of action during an immediate community health problem, should rest only with the board of health.
mark cool November 28, 2012 at 07:42 PM
David - Your response to my comments may be something like - “it’s just not as simple as Mark’s tried to portray.” I respect that. However, the night-time curtailment has been introduced to allow for uninterrupted resident’s sleep periods. We can agree, sleep is essential to human health? I'm going to mixing health and politics (only to raise a point). The WTOP consultants reporting on night curtailments and project fiscal stability, briefed that the town wind project will “bleed to death” if forced to shut down either wind turbine for any portion of the over night period beyond 5 hours. I'll go out on a limb here and hedge a bet that 8 hours is the customary sleep period understood to be healthy. If you were a TM voter, and had you been presented this information, would you have voted to “amputate”?
Blowin Smoke November 29, 2012 at 01:19 AM
MA DEP/DPH Independant Expert Science Panel, press release 1/17/12: http://www.mass.gov/dep/public/press/0112wind.htm Excerpt: There is no evidence for a set of health effects from exposure to wind turbines that could be characterized as a "Wind Turbine Syndrome." Claims that infrasound from wind turbines directly impacts the vestibular system have not been demonstrated scientifically. Available evidence shows that the infrasound levels near wind turbines cannot impact the vestibular system. The weight of the evidence suggests no association between noise from wind turbines and measures of psychological distress or mental health problems. None of the limited epidemiological evidence reviewed suggests an association between noise from wind turbines and pain and stiffness, diabetes, high blood pressure, tinnitus, hearing impairment, cardiovascular disease, and headache/migraine.
David Kent November 29, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Yes Blowin. I reviewed the MassDEP study when it came out last January and posted that review in my blog: http://www.capecodtoday.com/news/headlines/2012/01/19/wind-turbine-study I went through the study and pulled out each of its conclusions (which were scattered throughout) and summarized them in a table. As you say, and as I said back then, the people who conducted the study found that almost all of the scientific studies on the effects of turbines “pulled their punches”. That is, they found that the data supported VERY FEW (I any) measurable effects on humans. Back then, I also reviewed – at a high level – a couple other survey studies (ones that surveyed the available science) and they too pulled their punches. That was a very ad hoc exercise, however. So, unless things have changed greatly over 10 months, the science on turbine effects on humans doesn’t appear generally to point to measurable effects of turbines on humans. But I still believe the neighbors. So I must conclude (and have) that there ARE effects that have not yet been identified yet by the scientific studies.
mark cool November 29, 2012 at 12:52 PM
David - Not to say you need further convincing, this is the latest peer-reviewed study demonstrating that industrial wind turbines have a direct and serious adverse impact upon sleep and health, both physical and mental http://www.noiseandhealth.org/article.asp?issn=1463-1741;year=2012;volume=14;issue=60;spage=237;epage=243;aulast=Nissenbaum. The “Wind Turbine Health Impact Study: Report of Independent Expert Panel,” cited five peer-reviewed studies, upon which it relied. The most recent - Shepherd, D., McBride, D., Welch, D., Dirks, K. N., & Hill, E. M., “Evaluating the impact of wind turbine noise on health-related quality of life”, Noise Health, 2011. It’s odd, given this study’s finding that industrial wind turbine (IWT) noise contributes to sleep disorders and diseases associated with the serious adverse responses to the low frequency impulses generated by the IWTs, that the study’s conclusions have been so mischaracterized, especially when the “Expert Panel’s” recommendation was suggesting further study was necessary. It would seem ‘caution’ has been abandon by many, so that other pressed agendas (political or otherwise) do not suffer interruption.
Bill Carson November 30, 2012 at 11:42 PM
The Air Force Civil Engineer Center at Otis Air Force Base is making the claim that the 1.5 MW Fuhrlaender (FL-1577) installed in 2009 does not have a failure ? They have known since January that the bearings and gears of the three year old wind turbine have lots of metal in the gear box. Turbines of the same megawatt size have failed inn Portsmouth ,Rhode Island and Princeton, Massachusetts . The wind industry is hiding a dirty little secret about gear box failures in three to five year old turbines ! Can we trust a federal government agency that tells the public it has a wind turbine that isn't breaking down ? While on the other hand they ordered a new gear box for the turbine just in case . The government doesn't know the replacement cost ? It's 700 thousand for the gear box ,150 thousand for the crane and blade inspection close to a one million dollar repair ! They are telling the public it's not broken ? Can we trust our government ?
David Kent November 30, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Can you provide references for the failures you site and for the costs of repair?
Bill Carson December 01, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Portysmouth Rhode Island Wind Turbine Failure http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/gearbox-failure-investigation/print/ Gearbox Failure Investigation Roberts, Don EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The town of Portsmouth, Rhode Island (Portsmouth) commissioned a new AAER 1500-77-65 1.5 Megawatt wind turbine on March 24, 2009. On May 18, 2012, significant amounts of metal were found in the gearbox oil filter housing and significant internal damage was observed with a borescope. The filter element was replaced on May 25, and the turbine was returned to service. The turbine was removed from service on June 18, 2012 after significant additional metal was discovered in the filter housing. The Portsmouth wind turbine gearbox has suffered a significant, premature failure of the first and second planetary stages. The gearbox must be replaced in order to return the turbine to service.
Bill Carson December 01, 2012 at 12:28 AM
http://docs.wind-watch.org/Portsmouth_RI_Turbine_Gearbox.pdf See page 19 table two for repair costs Subtotal, gearbox replacement cost (non-­‐recurring) $695,200 Also add special crane costs
Bill Carson December 01, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Tuesday Nov 27 While I appreciate everyone's interest in the success of wind energy, I feel I must clear up the issues associated with the Otis Air National Guard Base wind turbine located at the MA Military Reservation. The owner/operator of the Otis ANG Base wind turbine is the Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC). Our name changed from Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment (AFCEE) on 01 Oct 2012 after a reorganization. I am the project manager for the operation of our pump and treat systems, the plume cleanup, and the three 1.5 MW wind turbines installed by AFCEC/AFCEE at MMR. We have one 1.5 MW Fuhrlaender (FL-1577) wind turbine and two 1.5 MW GE wind turbines at MMR. We installed the wind turbines to offset the costs and environmental impact associated with our cleanup program. The FL-1577 started operating on 02 Dec 2009. The GE turbines started opeating on 03 Nov 2011. Regarding the FL-1577 gearbox, it HAS NOT failed. We noticed some metal flakes in the gearbox oil this past January and had a borescope inspection done. The inspection showed pitting of the gear teeth caused by pressing the metal flakes between the teeth. The problem component in the gearbox appears to be a bearing. Based on Fuhrlaender's recommendation, we are continuing to run the wind turbine while we work on procuring a new gearbox that has a different/better bearing.
David Kent December 01, 2012 at 12:47 AM
I don't know, Bill, that 2 failures point to the industry wide trend that you're claiming. And, of course, our turbines are from Vestas. Neither of the failed turbines are from that manufacturer.
Bill Carson December 01, 2012 at 04:16 PM
"One of the biggest concerns remaining in the wind industry is the reliability of the gearbox. 'With our current wind turbine fleet currently going out of warranty period, we estimate that we are carrying a potential risk on gearboxes of about US$300 million. Failures are still relatively rare these days because our fleet is recent, but we expect this will change dramatically as our wind turbines approach their 5–7 years of operation. Our concern is such that we are even considering acquiring a company with gearbox servicing capabilities.' This statement from a large US wind farm operator is far from being an isolated case in an industry that will see over 8000 MW of wind farm capacity go out of the warranty period every year in the US alone in the next few years." http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2010/06/wind-turbine-gearbox-reliability
Bill Carson December 01, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Danish manufacturer Vestas’ plans to turn around its financial performance have been hit by a fault affecting large numbers of gearboxes supplied by Hansen Transmissions (now part of German-owned ZF Friedrichshafen) for its V90 3MW wind turbines. Related Stories * Offshore strategy intact despite 7MW delay, insists Vestas * Vestas admits 'disappointing' Q1 as fault hits 376 turbines * Vestas hires ex-Vattenfall man Andresen as CFO The news came as a shock to analysts amid worse-than-expected financial results and could significantly damage Vestas’ reputation. Chief executive Ditlev Engel described the issue, which was detected by Vestas’ own performance diagnostic centre and affects 376 turbines it sold between June 2009 and September 2011 — including 36 offshore — as a “very nasty surprise”. http://www.rechargenews.com/energy/wind/article312711.ece
David Kent December 01, 2012 at 07:50 PM
OK Bill, this gear box thing will be something to keep an eye on. I'm not sure that it is very important to the debate over the Falmouth turbines, however, where the main issues seem to me to be: a. Whether or not one believes the objecting neighbors b. The relative importance of protecting the neighbors and protecting the town budget. Well, I can think of one way in which the gear box issue might affect that discussion: If we keep the turbines to benefit the town budget, that budget might take a huge hit anyway at some point via a gearbox failure. Anyway, thanks for the sources.
OldTownie December 07, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Bill Carson is a shill for a Koch Bros funded anti-wind website. Ask him, I dare ya.
OldTownie December 07, 2012 at 06:55 PM
The crane cost was included in the bid, and you know it.
OldTownie December 07, 2012 at 06:57 PM
The Town of Portsmouth does know the cost and it is nowhere near what Bill Carson is quoting. He likes to make up facts.
OldTownie December 07, 2012 at 06:58 PM
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0ByjfQs1P4lPaem9vNHVabmJNOEk/edit?pli=1

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