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Published On: Thu, Feb 7th, 2013

ARE KINGSTON’S WIND TURBINES ILLEGAL? (BREAKING) KJ.com’s explosive new findings

kwiclose-upKINGSTON- The legality of Kingston’s wind turbines stands in question today as KingstonJournal.com uncovers evidence to suggest that all four of Kingston’s industrial-sized wind turbines may be out of compliance with existing town bylaws.

Kingston’s Wind Overlay District Bylaw, which was approved by town meeting in April 2007, states wind-turbine applicants have “the burden of proving that [shadow flicker] does not have significant adverse impact on neighboring or adjacent uses.”

Yesterday afternoon, Kingston Town Planner Tom Bott told the Journal that he has “never seen a flicker study for the [Mary] O’Donnell turbines.”

Mary O’Donnell’s property along Marion Drive was added to Kingston’s Wind-Overlay District in 2008 at town meeting.

tombott-gosselin

Town Planner Tom Bott (left) and Planning Board-member Bob Gosselin (right).

The Journal also asked Bott for a copy of the flicker study pertaining to the Kingston Wind Independence (KWI) Turbine.

“It’s on our Web site,” Bott said.

No document on the Kingston Planning Department’s Web site makes any mention of possible shadow-flicker impacts stemming from the KWI Turbine specific to homes in Kingston.

Similarly, feasibility studies from the Kingston Green Energy Committee in 2008 do not mention flicker and only discuss a “range of visibility,” encompassing several towns within sight of the KWI Turbine’s physical structure but far beyond the much more localized impacts of shadow-flicker.

This week, Leland Road resident Sean Reilly told the Board of Health (BOH) that he requested a flicker study from Bott. “We received portions of discussions about flicker studies…as far as we know, there was no flicker study,” Reilly said to the BOH on Monday.

After Reilly’s short address, longtime BOH-member Bill Watson spoke up. “If there is nothing in writing then this comes down to us to write a regulation on the hours of operation and flicker…which could be no flicker at all.”

Besides the town’s wind overlay bylaw, only one other document attached on the Kingston Planning Department Web site, the “Wind Turbine Health Impact Study,” even discusses the general phenomena of shadow flicker.

kwilandfill

The KWI Turbine sits atop Kingston’s capped landfill.

The health-impact study, conducted by a panel of health professionals and professors from prestigious local universities, does not mention Kingston. One part of the study reads, “In terms of safe distances to reduce shadow flicker, these are often project-specific because it depends on whether there are residences or roadways present and what the geographic layout is.”

Like with the O’Donnell turbines, no site specific shadow-flicker study exists for the KWI Turbine atop the town’s capped landfill.

Bott told the Journal that he and the Planning Board “felt comfortable” with the discussion about flicker upon approval of the plans for Kingston’s skyscraping turbines.

Since the 2012 construction of Kingston’s four industrial-sized turbines, emotional citizen complaints about shadow flicker have taken center stage at BOH meetings as some residents call for the turbines to be shut down during flicker hours.

This week, at Monday night’s BOH meeting, Mark Wheeler of Prospect Street appeared visibly overcome with grief when describing seeing his 18-month old daughter blink her eyes excessively while looking out the window at the KWI Turbine during a period of shadow flicker at the Wheeler residence.

“Clearly there’s an issue with shadow flicker,” Wheeler said to the BOH. “The power of observation is the only thing required to know that it’s real.”

Wheeler told the BOH on Monday that he believed “immediate mitigation” was necessary in response to complaints about shadow flicker from Kingston’s turbines.

kwishadowflickr

An example of shadow flicker, taken at the Kingston Transfer Station this morning. Note the wide dark stripe (the KWI Turbine column’s shadow). The shadow of a blade (right) also sands out against the tree line.

Leland Road resident Dan Alves spoke to the BOH on Monday night and claimed that the shadow flicker in his home sometimes flashes 45 times per minute. Alves, who has an epileptic son, expressed concern that the number of flashes per minute from shadow flicker in his home was approaching a level that could cause seizures.

Alves lives within 900 feet of the 404-foot tall KWI Turbine.

Scientific studies have suggested that exposure to 60+ shadow-flicker flashes per minute from a wind turbine could cause seizures.

“The Planning Board wouldn’t have approved this if they thought there was going to be a problem,” Bott told the Journal yesterday afternoon.

Bott estimated the number of flashes per minute emanating from the KWI Turbine during shadow flicker at “17 on average.”

The “Wind Turbine Health Impact Study” used as reference on the Kingston Planning Department’s “Wind Turbine Project” Web page writes that “scientific evidence suggests shadow flicker does not pose a risk for eliciting seizures.”

odonnellturbines

Mary O’Donnell’s three Marion Drive turbines. Photo taken underneath KWI Turbine.

The same study later reads, “there is limited evidence primarily from a German government-sponsored study that prolonged shadow flicker (more than 30 minutes) can result in transient stress-related effects on cognition and autonomic nervous system functioning.”

Bott told the Journal he believed Kingston homes were not exposed to shadow flicker for more than 30 hours annually.

Another section of Kingston’s Wind Overlay District Bylaw, entitled “Financial Surety,” outlines requirements for turbine applicants “to cover the cost of removal in the event the town must the decommission the [turbine].” The section (4.16.8.3.) directs turbine applicants to “provide a form of surety at a date certain…of an amount and form determined by the Site Plan Approval Authority.”

Authority to approve site plans in Kingston resides with the Planning Board.

Bott, the head of Kingston’s Planning Department, told the Journal yesterday that he was unaware whether or not a surety or bond existed for the O’Donnell turbines, which are privately maintained by O’Donnell’s Grove Street-based company No Fossil Fuels.

The Kingston Wind Independence Turbine is co-managed by Kially Ruiz and sits on land leased from the Town of Kingston.

duxview

Kingston’s four mega-sized turbines as seen from across Kingston Bay in South Duxbury.

The Kingston Planning Board originally approved five industrial-sized turbines, the one atop the capped landfill and four on O’Donnell’s Marion Drive property, on June 28, 2010.

However, only three O’Donnell turbines were developed.

Paul Armstrong, Kingston’s Building Inspector, received the site plans for O’Donnell’s three turbines a month before the Planning Board approved the turbines in June 2010. Yesterday, Armstrong told the Journal that he was “comfortable” with what he saw at the turbines. “You should understand, my job is to look at the structural stuff,” Armstrong said.

“Our principal role is staffing the Planning Board and managing the process for the board’s review of site plans,” Bott was quoted when describing his office’s role in town government to reporter Kathryn Gallerani for a WickedLocal:Kingston feature last October.

Bott, who has served as Kingston Town Planner for nearly 15 years, told the Journal, “if the turbines exceed the existing thresholds, I don’t think the [BOH] has any choice but to mitigate.”

 

 

CORRECTION: @ 1:36 p.m. (2/7/13) KingstonJournal.com updated and corrected a line which stated that the Town of Kingston owns and operates the KWI Turbine. The line has been corrected to say, “The Kingston Wind Independence Turbine is co-managed by Kially Ruiz and sits on land leased from the Town of Kingston.”

 

KingstonJournal.com wants to know what YOU, our loyal readers, think…given new information, are Kingston industrial-sized turbines standing legally? Sharing your opinion is easy. Just submit a comment below to get the discussion started!

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  1. Biggus says:

    Sounds like the CYA is in full swing. I love this town. They cut out a bunch of magazine articles then try to pass it off as a study. Bring on the civil suits!!!! Lots of negligence going on here.

  2. hmmmm? says:

    Mr Bott continues to claim there is a “flicker study” that was done on behalf of the Independence Wind Turbine in its current location on the capped landfill. This is confusing, as he knows there was not…does he think we are stupid? Is his intent to continue to mislead?

    Mr Bott is an intelligent man, he knows what a pre-construction “flicker study” looks like. There have been several done for local projects. The fact that Mr Bott has been asked for the “flicker study” that was used to PROVE to the planning board that there would be NO SIGNIFICANT FLICKER IMPACTS, as the by law mandates, and he has yet to produce one has to mean that Mr Bott knows there NEVER WAS A FLICKER ANALYSIS DONE FOR THE INDEPENDENCE TURBINE! He has known it for some time…all these BOH meetings since October where residents were begging for relief and he knew there was no flicker study…why did he not step in and offer that important information to help protect the suffering residents?

    All that was provided to the planning board was various “discussions” of the flicker phenomena. That IS NOT A FLICKER STUDY” AND Mr Bott KNOWS IT!

    Why then, does Mr Bott continue to act against the residents who have been suffering? Why can’t he come forward and say, hey a mistake was made, the permitting was based on faulty information?

    That is where the focus should now be, hand in hand with the BOH acting responsibly and quickly to eliminate the health impacts occuring as a result of both the strobing and the excessive noise. Between those two important investigations and actions there is no doubt something has to happen and soon!

    Mr Armstrong said it all in this story “My job was to look at the structural stuff”. That statement exactly explains the current mess! No one looked at, or took an interest in the public health and safety impacts. That is where the fatal flaw for these wind projects lays, no one, except the Sewer Commissioners, vetted the public health and safety issues.

    A grave mistake was made when the serious issues and concerns were raised by the Sewer Commission and the response from and the powers that be, such as Mr Bott and Mr Talerman, and the BOS at the time was to ignore the Sewer Commissioners! WHY?

    It is high time for an admission of the fatal flaws that exist; it is time to get our legislators Rep Calter and Sen Murray to help at the state level to get some assistance in undoing this disaster called the Kingston Wind experiment. Just as they are doing down in Falmouth.

    However well intentioned, it is now clear there were warnings ignored, there were flawed pre-construction acoustical studies performed, and there was NO proof provided by the applicant, as required by the by-law- to show that strobing (flicker) would not be significant. It is! and the residents need relief NOW from both the noise and strobing.

    In closing, I wonder if the Independence wind developer will once again recklessly operate his turbine throughout the upcoming storm this weekend, as he did 2 weekends ago, and as he did during hurricane Sandy, and the nor’easter that happened the week after Sandy. all of those weather events (and more) when the Prospect Street and Leland Road neighborhoods were hammered with noise???

  3. Biggus says:

    Having almost driven into the woods after being distracted by the flicker on the road to the transfer station I can only imagine what these homeowners are going through. Snide comments aside, I feel for them and support thier cause.

  4. Dennis Randall says:

    If we do a bit of math based upon the average amount of sunshine for Kingston (which happens to be 55.32%) we arrive at the number of hours a given location subject to flicker will have a flicker event.

    In Kingston the we have sunshine an average 55.32% of the time (99 clear days, 103 partly cloudy days, and 163 cloudy/overcast days)

    If the average event is 30 minutes in duration we plug that into our formula.

    (flicker duration in minutes) X 365 days X % annual sunshine / 60 = hours of flicker per year

    30 minutes X 365 days X .5532 / 60 = 100.96 hours of flicker per year

    If the average duration of a flicker event is only 15 minutes per day we get 50.48 hours of flicker per year

    If the threshold is 30 hours per year then a 30 minute event caused by this turbine exceeds that standard by 237%. If the event duration is only 15 minutes the standard is still exceed by well more than 100%

    BTW – source for climate data is http://www.homefacts.com/weather/Massachusetts/Plymouth-County/Kingston.html

    The only adjustment to the above formula is the percent of the time the turbine is in actual operation – obviously if the wind is not blowing or the turbine is turned off there will be no flicker event.

  5. hmmm? says:

    It would be most helpful to the residents who are suffering if the board of health members would do some leg work as Mr Randall has done in the last post. There has been no serious discussion on this issue…and now Mr Casna wants to cancel this weeks BOH meeting claiming there is nothing to talk about! Say what?!?!

    Mr Breen in particular speaks of global warming rather than rolling up his sleeves and dealing with the specifics of the crisis unfolding beneath his nose! As my mother would say, “get back to reality”…the reality of the industrial wind turbine impacts happening in real time IS NOT being dealt with. WHY?

    By the way, news flash for Mr Breen, I read yet another theory on global warming last week. Something about solar flares being responsible for most warming and subsequent cooling. I would also suggest Mr Breen move to the Green Energy Committee as he surely has no interest in public health crisis management…there are only 2 members of the BOH that seem to show concern that is real…that IS a real problem for this town.

  6. Your Name... says:

    So sad that something that could have been SO GOOD for our community has turned out to be SO BAD.

  7. Publius says:

    Just for the record, there was a study done for the O’Donnell property but then Mary relocated the windmills on site, invalidating the study. There was no study, to my knowledge, for the transfer station windmill. At the time it was all good intention but, as with many ideas of that ilk, they appear to forget that the road to hell is paved with good intention.

    What the town needs to do is to find out who, or whom, dropped the ball and make an example so that everyone will be reluctant to go amuck on this “good intention” runaway locomotive in the future.

  8. Bill Carson says:

    Governor Patrick -Wind Turbines Make People Sick !!!

    Thousands of complaints are falling on deaf ears – politically deaf ears. Residents health issues are being put above financial gains !

    Over 50 residents of Falmouth are sick from the sounds coming from a large, town-owned wind turbine. Mediation has been ongoing over eight months with no end in sight. Residents have left their homes and moved into basements.

    Today residents of Scituate filed court action against the commercial wind turbines noise in that town. Low frequency sounds are making people sick !

    Kingston has even more complaints which involve the board of health and future court action.

    Fairhaven has been in court with noise and infra sound issues with the Board Of Health .

    At a meeting last year residents were told you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette . The eggs are you and I .
    The megawatt turbines being sited in residential neighborhoods isn’t working .Towns are looking at finances before the health of its citizens .

    On top of the health issues catastrophic gear box failures are happening in three year old 5 million dollar commercial wind turbines – Portsmouth ,Rhode Island- Princeton ,Massachusetts – Otis ANG Base ,Cape Cod-. The Falmouth Wind 1 turbine almost three years old is having electric problems .The turbines were sold to last twenty five years and have million dollar repair bills every 3 to 5 years !!!!!!

  9. Dennis Randall says:

    At this point I think that since the 4 wind projects do not appear to be in compliance with Kingston Bylaws – the town should order them shut down until they comply with the bylaw.

    It’s a bit like getting pulled over for driving without a license. You may or may not get arrested – but what ever happens you will not be driving your car until you get a license.

    So the BOH or the Planning Board could order the turbines to cease operation until a valid site-specific flicker study is done for each and every turbine in question.

    Based upon the results of the study, mitigation measures up to and including removal of the turbines could be ordered.

    The engineers who designed and developed these turbines for their clients knew the requirements of the bylaw. If they chose to ignore the by law – even with a wink and a nod from the town planner – they were proceeding at their own risk.

  10. Bill Carson says:

    What Went Wrong ???

    It’s clear the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative the semi quasi state agency aka the Mass Clean Energy Center made serious mistakes in siting reports for all the towns on Cape Cod and SE Massachusetts

    Fairhaven Massachusetts is probably going to be the worse case of wind turbine sickness with thousands of people living under or near the blades !

    The rush to Green Energy has turned to Greed Energy !

    Gov Patrick has a renewable energy goal of 2000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020. The governor used the fake email name “Sally Reynolds” in emails !

    This whole wind turbine scheme is looking bigger than the scams in the “Big Dig”

    Stop the torture of the residents listen to the thousands of complaints !

  11. hmmm? says:

    Question to consider:

    If Kingston Wind LLC came into the picture AFTER the site plan approval, why didn’t they do their own vetting of the now known to be faulty pre-construction studies, in order to assure themselves that their business enterprise would be protected by sound science?

    This error in judgement, that Kingston Wind LLC did no due diligence on their own seems like a really bad business decision to me. To invest $$$ BUT rely on others to assure the integrity of your business operations seems negligent?

    Did the developer ever wonder why GE would not site a turbine in such a dense location OR why Vesta turbine manufacturer has written in their safety manual no one within 2,000 feet? The wind developer took a great and foolish risk it appears to me based on what we now realize were faulty assurances.

    Now the onus is oddly on the residents to “conclusively” prove what they know to be true, that is these turbines are degrading their health and well-being. The flicker videos and my personal witnessing of the flicker is all I need for “conclusive” proof.

    Please give the residents their homes back!

  12. Bill Carson says:

    Kingston looks like Fairhaven !

    There is another factor that comes into play here in Fairhaven — population density. A lot of people live very close to the turbines. I know because I used Free Map Tools and Google Earth to draw exact circles around the turbines at 2,000 and 3,000 feet.

    Then, I confirmed which house numbers were within the circles. The 2011 Fairhaven Streets List told me how many people lived within these distances to the turbines.

  13. billslycat says:

    The biggest lie about the benefits of wind turbines in this story is the name of O’Donnell’s company: “No Fossil Fuels.” Wind turbines are completely dependent on fossil fuel power generation to back them up. To quote an expert: “Because wind blows intermittently, electric utilities must either keep their conventional power plants running all the time to make sure the lights don’t go dark, or continually ramp up and down the output from conventional coal-or gas-fired generators (called “cycling”).

    But coal-fired and gas-fired generators are designed to run continuously, and if they don’t, fuel consumption and emissions generally increase.” This is happening worldwide, and in places like Colorado and Texas where CO2 and power plant pollution have increased since installing wind farms:

    http://www.forbes.com/2011/07/19/wind-energy-carbon.html http://www.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_15081808
    http://www.clepair.net/IerlandUdo.html
    http://www.thespec.com/news/ontario/article/610422–cost-of-green-energy-40-higher-than-government-estimates
    http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2011-07-25/news/bs-ed-wind-farms-20110725_1_wind-turbine-wind-farm-wind-power

    The wind industry is built on crony capitalism, it is the only way it can exist. Taxpayer money builds them and power companies are mandated to buy wind generated power at much higher rates than conventionally produced power. There is no true benefit, except to wind power companies, politicians and lobbyists.

  14. Publius says:

    A very quick note. Cudos to our neighbors, those in the political arena and those in the media who kept this issue alive so that it could come to this point, a hardy well done to all!

  15. Bill Carson says:

    Time for Attorney General Martha Coakley to gather all the complaints from Scituate, Kingston, Falmouth and Faithaven .Thousands of noise and shadow flicker complaints.

    If ther AG won’t take action its time to file class action litigation under rule 23. The Massachusetts Constitution forbids the creation of second class citizens. The state through its semi quasi state agency is taking property rights from citizens

  16. Dinah says:

    It’s astounding to me that people are putting the onus of a flicker study on the developers of this project, saying its fair for them to millions of dollars in their good faith investment in Kingston, despite doing everything they were asked to do by the town.

    If the rest of the town agrees with these residents, let every taxpayer agree to pay a portion of their taxes as restitution to this developer for making the mistake of believing a permit to proceed means what it means everywhere else in this country – that they’ve satisfied all the necessary requirements laid out by the municipality to proceed.

    If you’re going to talk about one segment of the population being adversely affected by 30 hours of flicker a year, you’d better apply the same level of fairness to the developer who did everything they were asked to do here.

  17. Dennis Randall says:

    RE by Dinah: “It’s astounding to me that people are putting the onus of a flicker study on the developers of this project, saying its fair for them to millions of dollars in their good faith investment in Kingston, despite doing everything they were asked to do by the town.”

    People are placing the “onus of a flicker study on the developers of this project” because, according to Kingston Zoning Bylaws; 4.16. Green Communities Wind Turbine Overlay District that is where the responsibility rests.

    4.16.6.2. Shadow/Flicker Wind facilities shall be sited in a manner that minimizes shadowing or flicker impacts. The applicant has the burden of proving that this effect does not have significant adverse impact on neighboring or adjacent uses through either siting or mitigation.

    RE by Dinah: If the rest of the town agrees with these residents, let every taxpayer agree to pay a portion of their taxes as restitution to this developer for making the mistake of believing a permit to proceed means what it means everywhere else in this country.

    Rest assured the developer and their engineers read and reread our bylaws in detail and fully understood the requirements of our bylaw. This is a multi-million dollar project. It is not your responsibility nor is it mine to pick-up the tab for the developer’s oversight.

    RE by Dinah: If you’re going to talk about one segment of the population being adversely affected by 30 hours of flicker a year, you’d better apply the same level of fairness to the developer who did everything they were asked to do here.

    The developer did not do “everything they were asked to do”. They did not do the flicker study required by our bylaw.

    The reason that the flicker study has such significance in this case is because flicker is one of the major complaints. Without a study there was no way the planning board could anticipate or mitigate the impact of flicker on effected properties.

  18. someone says:

    It’s the same people posting here as on Wind Turbine articles all across the country. Bill Carson is from Virginia. This is strange.

  19. Bill Carson says:

    Falmouth has some major issues over the Special Permit requirements. They are in court now and a judge will rule after March 4,2013.

    They were required to have a Special Permit according to an Apr 19, 2005 – SITE SCREENING
    REPORT

    This report was prepared by KEMA ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT, INC
    and funded by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative.

    The abutters to the Falmouth Wind 1 turbine were never notified of the installation.

  20. nobody... says:

    to someone:
    Why does where a person is from have anything at all to do with getting at the truth?!?

    to Dinah:
    The wind developers made a very key MISTAKE in not assuring for themselves that this business venture (that is the driving force here for Mr Ruiz and his partners, $$$$, not the health and well-being of Kingston residents, or clean harmless renewable energy.)

    Every successful businessman makes sure to do his own due diligence, prior to signing on the dotted line!

    I can not imagine relying on others to make sure all is in order, and the project would make a “good neighbor” as all permitted projects must do. This one clearly DOESN’T!

    If Mr Ruiz wants to sue somebody, how about suing whoever advised him on agreeing to reports (phantom or otherwise) that were used to permit his project?

    At a minimum, Mr Ruiz would have made a smart investment by hiring an independent analysis of the acoustical report that is now known to be flawed and as a result of many flaws it under-reported expected level of noise. That is money he refused to spend to protect his investment, he dove in head first…always a mistake!

    Also, Mr Ruiz is responsible for knowingly constructing a wind turbine with a power rating of 105…if he had known anything at all, had to know that a turbine with that power rating does not belong anywhere near resident’s homes…and to think Mr Ruiz publicly stated that the highway and sewage treatment plant would mask the sounds emanating from his turbine! That comment truly revealed his ignorance of noise propagation, industrial wind and power rated machines of 105, 2 Megawatts!

    Let’s face it, mr Ruiz and his partners smelled blood in the water ($$$$$$), they chose not to perform their own analysis of the integrity of the project impacts and now that trouble has surfaced they want to point fingers at everyone else, including the very residents who are suffering, along with town officials who were snookered by both the Mass Clean Energy Center and acoustical technicians who put together flawed acoustical analysis making everyone believe there would be no noticeable noise issues!

    Buyer Beware, Mr. Ruiz bought into this project without spending short money to protect his interests, not very smart. The residents do not owe Mr Ruiz anything at all, the residents of this town were blindsided and misled as to the “costs” of this project.

  21. someone says:

    There are rabble rousers here from around the country that are anti-wind activists. They are on this thread. They have no personal stake in Kingston. We don’t have Kingston residents on this thread, it is activists. Very strange, but not uncommon in this era.

  22. Bill Carson says:

    Why is the three year old wind turbine failure at Otis AFB being kept a secret ? In 2009 a Furlander 1.5 Megawatt turbine was installed at Otis AFB Cape Cod .

    The turbine has million dollar repair bill and it’s only three years old .The base was asked about the failure and the response was the gear box has a few gears worn in it and they are looking for another gear box while they run the turbine athalf speed .

    The liberal press will not tell you about the dirty little secret about gear box failures . There may be up to 600 gear box failures this year.

    Portsmouth Rhode Island – Gear box failure

    Otis AFB Cape Cod Gear box failure

    Princeton Ma -Gear box failure

    All turbines less than three years old .Currently Falmouth Wind 1 has been shut down since Thanksgiving over an electric problem !

    One gear box $600,000.00 Blade repair $300,000.00 and a special crane that takes two weeks to set up 150,000.00

    This is the future of commercial wind in Massachusetts

    You can go on line and find all the breakdowns

    The turbines are being shut down because of noise and shadow flicker .The Milton wind turbine will be shut down for seven months in warm weather

    The turbines are being shut down faster than they are going up

  23. Bill Carson says:

    Response from Otis Air Base .Does this sound like a healthy wind turbine ? NO – How the government can spin a broken 5 million dollar wind turbine to make it look like it’s OK – – Give us a break these turbines only last 3 to 5 years !

    http://www.topix.com/forum/city/falmouth-ma/T49IPB9TLSCS60M2U

    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. We monitor the turbine continuously via remote monitoring for a variety of parameters and we have technicians who visit the turbine each weekday during rounds conducted for our treatment systems.

    We expected the gearbox to last for 10 years and it still might but we are going to err on the side of caution and replace it given te results of the borescope inspection. I do not have replacement costs to report at this point as we are still developing the plan; but, I will be glad to provide this information when it is available.

    As an engineer, I like to have facts and I like to see things work optimally. If they break, we determine why and we fix them. We don’t waste our time on rumors. If anyone would like to get the facts on the wind turbines at MMR including how much they are saving the taxpayer and offsetting air emissions, please feel free to contact me at rose.forbes@us.af.mil.

  24. nobody... says:

    to somebody:
    I don’t believe you know anything about anyone that posts on this page…yet you claim anyone who is not supportive of the very NEGLIGENT siting of industrial wind turbines in Kingston is anti-wind. You would be wrong!

    The wind developers who insisted on constructing what they should have known were irresponsible locations, so close to residents homes and infrastructure ARE the ones at fault here, not those that express support for those residents made to suffer due to improper siting and permitting.

    your attempts to marginalize posters is simply a distraction, I just want honesty, truth, and the restoration of acceptable living conditions for my friends who have been suffering due to the gross error in judgment of siting 2MW turbines so close to homes!

    Would be nice if you put public health and safety above all else! I welcome comments from anywhere, as long as they stick to facts and experiences that Kingston might benefit from.

  25. Bill Carson says:

    The issue is that the State of Massachusetts through its semi quasi state agencies Massachusetts Technology Collaborative now called the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC)have a job to get 2000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020.

    The semi quasi state agencies produced reports with only positive information to hand unknowing Select Board Members. These agencies are well aware of what happened in Europe in the past 15 years with shadow flicker ,noise ,health issues and ice throw.

    The state has gone over the edge. They know the turbines cause noise low frequency sickness yet it appears they think a few have to suffer for the good of the rest of us.

    The state refers to the wind turbine contractors and owners as the stake holders that invested millions in these turbines – The homeowners are the stake holders they were here first in a residentially zoned location .

    The original wind studies and noise issues back in 2005 were for 660 Kilowatt turbines . The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative was stuck with two 1.65 Megawatt turbines in 2005 and changed all the rules to dump the two turbines on Falmouth . This was the first mistake .

    Now that the semi quasi state agency placed two 1.65 Megawatt turbines three times the size of the 660 Kilowatt turbines -the contractors took off !

    While Falmouth residents screamed about wind turbine noise the state has stalled for years trying to get more bigger commercial wind turbines installed .

    The only way to stop this now is at the local board of health . The people on these boards have to act or leave the job . It’s understandable that the members of the board of health fear the rath of the commercial wind turbine contractors . The residents of the town are the government if the turbines are making people sick -act don’t be afraid . There were several towns near New Bedford were citizens groups fought against the wind turbine contractors and won .

    This is a health issue and the state through the semi quasi state agencies has made a horrible mistake .

    The politicians need to step up to the plate and admit they were fooled by bogus wind studies

  26. Voiceofreason says:

    Bill, do you realize that the Town does NOt need to pay for any repairs to any gearbox? Do you realize that the Town does NOT own the turbines? No, you don’t. You live over 500 miles away from here and comment on turbine articles all over the country. Have you done your research here in Kingston? No you have not. You have NO RIGHT telling our Board of Health what they must and must not do.

    Calling a spade a spade. You are an anti wind rabble rouser.

  27. Bill Carson says:

    Voiceofreason, The gear box issue was to show how the government is twisting the truth about commercial wind turbines .

    The Board of Health has to act.Massachusetts state statues and regulations give local boards the right to protect the health and environment of the citizens.

    After World War II the residents of Germany were asked about the prison camps many said they didn’t know ! The second question was asked did you notice millions of your neighbors missing ………

    This is called a failure to act ! The local boards and residents must act

    Check this video done by a local person right here in Falmouth : Health & Windfarms: Experimentation on people Falmouth -Fairhaven Massachusetts http://youtu.be/wh0c36iKfvs

    Then this about the future of commercial wind :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBYjZG8O6qE
    Windfall – Official Trailer
    Directed by: Laura Israel

    After wind turbines are proposed for installation in upstate New York, the community’s excitement turns to suspicion over what the project entails. This eye-opening story exposes the dark side of wind energy development and the potential for financial scams.

    Official Website: http://windfallthemovie.com/

  28. hmmm? says:

    Voice of reason:
    Let’s stipulate, Mr Carson is NOT from Kingston.
    Let’s also stipulate he is not in command of all of his facts (ie the town does not own the turbines)
    BUT
    He does have a very factual working knowledge of how our state began to push wind projects on unknowing communities, via by-law models that were completely unprotective of residents living nearby & any infrastructure as well, especially for large turbines such as we have here in Kingston (2MW)!

    On that and many more BIG picture details he is accurate and truthful…it is important to understand the history of how these industrial wind turbines came to be embraced by Kingston and other towns (Scituate, Falmouth, Fairhaven and others), because then you can understand where all the errors in judgement were made.

    There are currently 20 or more communities struggling to deal with the “problems” created by improperly sited or malfunctioning wind turbines…part of the big picture mr Carson offers.

    I do believe when speaking the BOH, it could be said they have failed so far in their duties and obligations. To have them see the strobing/flicker videos and not demand an intermittent shut down so that neighbors do NOT suffer from those impacts is proof of them not doing their job…10 months of noise complaints, no action to turn the turbines off at night in certain wind speeds and conditions, or during the day, such as last FRiday during NEMO when the Independence ran full tilt until it lost power, therefore assaulting the neighbors for hours on end…

    You see voiceofreason, the BOH has authority yet they have doen NOTHING to provide even modest relief! and you choose to criticize someone who has lots of good information (with a few details incorrect) YET town officials are letting down the residents who need them!

    That is what is strange to me in reading these comment…so ready to call people names rather than focus on the critical issues! Public health and safety!

    Let’s look at it another way, a rabble rouser can be just what is needed to wake officials up to the reality here…that is we have a negligently sited undustrial power plant located 600 odd feet to residents homes! OUTRAGEOUS!

    PS dont’ forget there were some town officials who expressed very serious concerns about the wind turbine. see Sewer Commissioners letter of August 2008.

  29. Bill Carson says:

    http://www.windaction.org/news/17813

    News

    Sewer commissioners warn: Wind turbine placement dangerous and illegal

    If you ask the Sewer Commission how they feel about wind turbines, they would probably say, “great”, but ask them how they relish the idea of placing such a structure hovering over the sewer plant and you will get a different answer.

    On August 27 the Commission wrote a four page letter to the Green Committee essentially tearing apart every aspect of the turbine, its placement and its financials. That correspondence outlines how the height of the turbine violates Kingston’s own by-laws and places the sewer plant directly under its fall zone “rendering it inoperable for an indefinite period of time.

    September 4, 2008 by Dan Sapir in Kingston Observer

    If you ask the Sewer Commission how they feel about wind turbines, they would probably say, “great”, but ask them how they relish the idea of placing such a structure hovering over the sewer plant and you will get a different answer.

    On August 27 the Commission wrote a four page letter to the Green Committee essentially tearing apart every aspect of the turbine, its placement and its financials. That correspondence outlines how the height of the turbine violates Kingston’s own by-laws and places the sewer plant directly under its fall zone “rendering it inoperable for an indefinite period of time….

  30. Kathy Sherman says:

    The National Academy of Sciences published an assessment of wind turbine environmental impacts in 2007 that focussed primarily on wildlife issues, birds and bats, rather than human impacts. At the time industrial wind was sited on wide open spaces in sparsely populated areas with good wind resource. One only needs to look at the DOE-funded real estate study published recently, but based on turbines installed prior to Hull 2 to see that there were VERY few homes within a mile of turbines.

    At the time of the NRC assessment, much less was known about noise impacts and the expert and independent scientists relied on a blurb from the British Wind Energy Association written in 2003.

    They did, however, discuss strobing/flicker, how easy it was to predict and how easy it is to mitigate by operational curtailment. It is not even expensive, if there is proper micrositing and sparse housing density. About 30 hr. per year, that is ‘worst case’ if the sun is always shining and wind from a certain direction. That works out to be 10 hr. per year ‘real case’ impact and ‘health-protective’ countries limit to 6 hr. per year/ 20 min on the worst days or 10 hr. per year/30 min. max. The rule of thumb is 10 times rotor diameter separation from homes, sometimes more depending on topography. These guidelines are based on the study when turbines were much smaller and protect only a narrow window, so they might not suffice to protect yards and homes with multiple windows. The North American wind proponents ignore international best practices.

    I understand wanting to resolve issues within the local community and I am not from Kingston. I have, however, spent well over two years using my background in medical science and psychology to understand the acoustic emissions of modern wind turbines, particularly in our New England climate. Even the European Wind Energy Association understands that noise is the major limiting factor for the industry’s future and had a major conference on it in December. To pretend the issue does not exist, or to not take responsibility and prompt action will have widespread detrimental repurcussions. Health impacts of noise are well documented; impacts of wind turbines occur at substantially lower levels than other noise sources and most European countries limit wind turbine immissions at levels 15 dB lower than transport. Even the Chinese are actively researching the impacts of infrasound. That said, the aversive character of excessive amplitude modulation at blade passage rate has been known for a decade. Those most vocal in denying the role of infrasound or that wind turbine noise is ‘unique’, do NOT deny that noise is an issue, and in fact have argued that more attention should be paid to responsible siting.

    Wind turbine noise is relatively unique in the height at which it is generated, the massive area over which it is generated, the wake that it produces and its extreme variability and unpredictability, especially at low frequencies, on the time-scale the brain processes information. Wind turbine noise is also unique in how difficult it is to quantify post-construction because of its dependence on wind speed and direction, and variables such as wind shear and temperature inversions, and one can’t put up a sound barrier for it.

    DEP policy was made for steady noise sources that could be measured at low-moderate wind speeds, but that policy was designed to meet the statute. The statute says that you shall keep your noise pollution to your own property, or less if there is a noise-sensitive ‘receptor’ within it.

    We urgently need for a re-evaluation of the risks and benefits of wind energy, with scrutiny of all the environmental protections relaxed to accomodate it, and devoid of vitriol and labelling. Much was not known in 2002 when many of the projects were first conceived, and turbines were much smaller, and site-selection was made. This was state-wide policy and we need to think of the entire state as the ‘community’ that fixes it.

  31. GlowGolf says:

    I looked at the Kingston Bylaws, can’t find anywhere where the town requires a flicker study..just requires noise study. Page 53 of 106, required documents:

    http://www.kingstonmass.org/vertical/sites/%7B14403534-636B-4C7F-A416-D66D8321CF44%7D/uploads/ECopyZoning_By-Laws_4-9-121.pdf

    4.16.10.6. Compliance Documents If required under previous sections of this by-law, the applicant will provide with the application:
    (a) a description of financial surety that satisfies 4.16.8.3. of this section,
    (b) proof of liability insurance that satisfies Section 4.16.3.3. of this section,
    (c) certification of height approval from the FAA,
    (d) a statement that satisfies Section 4.16.6.3., listing existing and maximum projected noise levels from the wind
    facility.

    Although given the fact that no Federal or State limit on flicker exists, the town BOH and BOS now has the right to exercise its power in any way it deems necessary.

    What are they waiting for?

  32. Dennis Randall says:

    GlowGolf:

    You’ll find the requirement for a flicker study here (page 4-40):

    4.16.6.2. Shadow/Flicker Wind facilities shall be sited in a manner that minimizes shadowing or flicker impacts. The applicant has the burden of proving that this effect does not have significant adverse impact on neighboring or adjacent uses through either siting or mitigation.

  33. GlowGolf says:

    Thanks D.R., I’m just looking at this subject objectively and you should not read into my commentary as pro or con turbines. But what is a “flicker study” or what constitutes a “flicker study”? I think this is a subjective question because no standard exists. Unless I’m missing something.

    I did read the bylaws and I was unable to find where the bylaw states any requirement of a “flicker study” and what the study should report…i.e.report XXX data to conform with xxx laws. It is basically just the one section “4.16.6.2. Shadow/Flicker” that touches on this subject.

    So basically what I understand is that the town now has to prove that the KWI turbine on the capped landfill the only or best spot available.

    On the other hand, the bylaws require a “noise study” with a list of “existing and maximum projected noise levels” that “conform” to specific laws.

  34. hmmm? says:

    Glow golf:
    What you are missing is that the bylaw states that the burden is on the applicant (the town in this case) to prove that there will be no significant impacts on adjacent or neighboring uses.
    Cut and pasting discussions of flicker (one “study:’ is a preliminary report from sub committee in rhode island that specifically stated their report was not intended to be a comprehensive review of the subject) DOES NOT CONSTITUTE a proper study of flicker.

    I have seen several legitimate flicker studies…they use a program called wind pro, that details day by day, month by month the conservative estimate for flicker at every location around the proposed turbine…then they use that detailed data to make a map of impacts with projected times of flicker.

    That Flicker study/analysis was NEVER done for the Independence! Therefore the permit could not have determined the burden of proof as there was none provided. The relied on the Green Energy Chairman and the Town Planner (the KWI team). They snookered the permit approvers with illegitimate and incomplete information on the flicker and got their permit approved in error!

    Mr Beaton continues to dig a deeper hole for himself by claiming last Thursday that they knew “how much” and “when” the flicker would present itself, that is false and misleading…no wonder he is acting like a caged animal.

    Time to come clean and do right by the residents…public health is the highest priority.

  35. GlowGolf says:

    According to the bylaws the flicker report was NOT required as part of the application. (a flawed bylaw in my opinion, and perhaps a reflection of our poor leadership). But given that Kingston is on the leading edge of the wind turbine industry(some would argue jumped the gun), it’s not surprising we missed a few major items, that every other town will now use as a stepping stone. Nevertheless, that is not illegal, just stupidity.

    The section on “siting” and “mitigation” of flicker is something different than what was required for application of the permit. However, the town still has the burden of proving something(exactly what is yet to be determined)….Wind Pro as you suggest sounds like a cool tool(i am not familiar with it), but I hope the town gets some technology of this nature to constantly monitory both sound and flicker output. These should not be “one-time” studies, but should be ongoing. If the town is failing to act on this bylaw then they are in violation of:

    4.16.6.0. Safety, Aesthetic and Environmental Standards

    The biggest question is, has the town BOH agreed on is what represents an acceptable amount of “flicker”? As you suggest, pull together as many similar white papers/case studies as possible and diligently determine the generally acceptable level of flicker that fits the specific needs of our town.

    This should be a lay-up for the town governing body. These are people that love to create laws, which is why I’m assuming they ran for the positions. But it seems when given the chance they drop the ball. Put all personal feelings aside and get the job done right first (then worry about who lied and who didn’t).

    WAKE UP KINGSTON!!

  36. anonymous says:

    This is a promising technology, but not on such a large scale. Every house should have a wind generator to reduce dependence on the grid. Every house should have solar panels. Every house should have a mini methane plant that extracts fuel from food and human waste and recirculates it for heat. Every house should have an atrium and garden for producing food and oxygen enriched atmosphere. There’s a lot of things that we are not doing for ourselves as human beingss and we generally and usually waste our lives and efforts on greed and the pursuit of riches rather than just basic survival for the whole of humanity. Once we learn to stop being so high and mighty and greedy we might start making some progress as taking care of ourselves and our fellow human beings.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Here’s an interesting article about flicker…it’s nothing new….

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flicker_(screen)

  38. Anonymous says:

    And if that one doesn’t satisfy your concerns, maybe this one will…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Friend_Flicka

  39. Question for Anonymous? says:

    Not sure I follow your point in providing the Wikipedia link…no talk of wind turbine generated strobing impacts at all.

    The Town of Bourne, Ma has determined “strobing, flicker, shadowing: to be a “nuisance” and determined that it does contribute to health concerns for those subjected to it. Our BOH has heard direct testimony about the impacts on neighbors. They have reported their need to flee the experience, anxiety, stress, headaches, dizziness, nausea all as a direct result of the strobing on their properties and extending into their homes.

    This is considered an adverse taking, and should never be permitted to any degree, THAT IS WHY BOURNE HAS LIMITED THE SHADOWING IMPACTS TO WITHIN THE TURBINE PROPERTY’S BOUNDERIES AND NO FURTHER.

    They stated they did so to protect the public health and welfare of the residents of Bourne…what more is there to discuss, it is a condition which directly impacts the health and well-being of residents,

    This insistence of talking about the fact that some judge in Germany (not a physician) ruled in some obscrue case that perhaps 30 hours owuld be acceptable is a red herring…nothing but a distraction, listen to those who are suffering and DO THE RIGHT THING, shut the turbine off during flicker/strobing.

    Gloucester Ma turbines are programmed to do just that, but then again they sited theirs far away from homes from what I am told so there is no public health emergency such as here in Kingston.

  40. Bill Carson says:

    Check this letter about the Fairhaven wind turbines:

    c/o Palmer Management Corporation
    13 Elm Street, Suite 200
    Cohasset, MA 02025
    Tel: 782‐383‐3200
    Wind
    February 26, 2013
    Commissioner Kenneth L. Kimmell
    Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
    One Winter Street
    Boston, MA 02108
    Subject: Ms. Barteau’s Inquiry Regarding Fairhaven Noise Sampling
    Dear Commissioner Kimmell:
    Yesterday we received via Ms. Laurel Carlson of your office a copy of an email to you from Ms.
    Louise Barteau, a resident of the Town of Fairhaven, regarding the noise sampling being
    conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s (MassDEP) with
    respect to the Fairhaven Wind project. Ms. Barteau identifies concerns about the testing that
    occurred on the evening of October 14-15, 2012. This was the first we had heard that there might
    be an issue with any of the extensive noise testing being conducted by MassDEP in Fairhaven and
    we immediately launched an investigation into her concerns.

    After a review of the data, the online “Powerdash” data with respect to power production identified
    in Ms. Barteau’s email is consistent with the SCADA data from the turbine that Fairhaven Wind
    provided the MassDEP for the sampling period with respect to power production from the South
    Turbine. While those engaged in the sampling program did not note any issues with either the
    North or South Turbines during the sampling period, it appears as though, despite the rotor being
    engaged, no power was being produced at the South Turbine during several of the sampling
    periods between 12:10 am and 4:00 am on the morning of October 15. From our review of the
    data, at approximately 1:00 am and 2:50 am, the turbines were turned on as requested by the MA
    DEP. As shown on the attached printout for both turbines, the SCADA system shows that the
    rotors began to spin at full speed when the turbines were turned on at those times. However, it
    also shows that no power was produced during those time periods at the South Turbine.

    This failure is most likely attributable to a failure in the engagement of the power converter in the
    South Turbine that occurred during the on-off switching for the sampling. While a representative
    of Fairhaven Wind was onsite during most of the sampling events, due to scheduling conflicts on
    the night in question the turbine was being operated using a smartphone by an acoustical engineer
    engaged by counsel to Fairhaven Wind to do side-by-side testing as explained in Ms. Barteau’s
    email. The acoustical engineer believed that the turbines were operating correctly because both
    turbines were visibly spinning. He was not trained in turbine troubleshooting and was not
    expected to diagnose problems. In fact, his attention was focused on doing his job which was
    noise sampling.

    We have performed a cursory review of the other nights and have not seen a similar error during
    any of the other sampling periods. The MassDEP has the corresponding SCADA data for the
    other sampling sessions and we will gladly investigate any other anomalies which MassDEP (or
    any other party) may identify.

    Clearly this was a mechanical error that was compounded by not having an extra set of
    experienced eyes on the turbine production data during the sampling period. Fairhaven Wind
    adamantly denies that it or any of its representatives ever engaged in any action to seek to
    manipulate the test data during the compliance testing. The turbines were tested and operated in
    plain sight of the MassDEP, the Fairhaven Community and the media. SCADA data has been
    provided to MassDEP and, as Ms. Barteau was able to determine, related production data is posted
    on a website for public review.

    We sincerely regret the inconvenience that this error has caused on the noise testing. We all know
    how hard MassDEP, the Fairhaven Community, and Fairhaven Wind have worked to obtain viable
    sampling nights. While the data indicates that the rotors were engaged and operating normally for
    both turbines, we recognize that the lack of power production at the South Turbine during this
    period may mean that MassDEP will not accept the data taken to be valid for compliance testing.
    We are available to repeat this test, if required, at MassDEP’s convenience when weather
    conditions allow.

    Please feel free to contact me or any member of the Fairhaven Wind team should you have any
    questions on this matter.

    Respectfully,
    FAIRHAVEN WIND LLC
    by its Manager
    Palmer Management Corporation
    Gordon L. Deane
    President
    cc: Ms. Laurel Carlson, MassDEP
    Mr. Jeffrey Osuch, Executive Secretary, Fairhaven Selectmen

  41. Bill Carson says:

    Fairhaven Wind Turbines-Torture- Mass DEP – Tainted Test Results- Torture Continues

    The taped story segment is about 3:30 minutes long

    Video click here :
    http://www.abc6.com/Category/178006/video?clipId=8512242&topVideoCatNo=184092&autoStart=true

    ABC 6 News Rhode Island story click here :

    http://www.abc6.com/story/21420343/wind-turbine-battle-erupts-again-in-fairhaven-ma

    News
    Wind Turbine Battle Erupts Again in Fairhaven, MA
    Posted: Feb 27, 2013 11:17 PM EST Updated: Feb 27, 2013 11:17 PM EST
    by ABC6 Investigative Reporter mark Curtis