Throughout the Siting Council hearings, both BNE and Save Prospect called on expert witnesses to provide testimony on the merits of the project. BNE filed testimony from eight scientists in various studies for environmental impact, noise and safety considerations. Save Prospect filed 29 pieces of testimony, including rebuttals of BNE’s environmental studies, testimony on potential adverse health effects, and personal narratives from people who live near wind turbines in other states and those who live near the proposed site in Prospect. Additionally, all parties and interveners, including the Siting Council, BNE, Save Prospect, FairwindCT Inc., CT Light and Power and CT Water submitted interrogatories to each asking questions and responding to pre-filed testimony.
That evidence is often conflicting. Here’s what both sides have to say on some of the key issues. To read all the testimony, search for “Petition 980” on the Connecticut Siting Council’s website.
“The daytime and nighttime sound levels at the residential receptor locations will not exceed DEP noise impact criteria. In actuality, the sound levels from the proposed project will be even lower than the predicted worst case scenario much of the time.”
According to BNE testimony, the projected sound levels in dBA during wind speeds of 9 meters per second range from 25 to 46 in surrounding areas. The DEP limit is 61 during the day and 51 at night.
“My review of the subject VHB report found unsubstantiated claims, incorrect use of noise regulations, questionable computation methods and only a token study of existing conditions. Based on my own computations of expected noise levels from the project, I have computed sound levels that will exceed the state of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CTDEP) noise regulations.”
“We estimate approximately 50 residential properties within one mile of the property may have at least partial views of the project’s turbine(s) hub(s) during “leaf-on” conditions. An additional 58 residential properties within one mile could have views of the blade(s) at its apex above the trees.”
Save Prospect has expressed concerns that the site of the turbines could distract drivers on Route 69, become a blight to those who see it every day and reduce property values.
“Of the 860 receptors (buildings) evaluated, 74 are predicted to have some shadow flicker events. Annual shadow flicker durations range from less than one hour to nearly 34 hours. Three receptors are predicted to experience between 30 and 34 hours per year; two receptors are predicted to experience between 21 and 23 hours. …The three receptors predicted to experience more than 30 hours annually include two residences and one office building. The WindPRO SHADOW Calendar calculations indicate that shadow flicker would occur near sunrise or sunset.”
Site location is within 0.6 of a mile of 234 homes. This distance has been recognized by the National Research Council as the point at which Shadow Flicker diminishes.
“BNE has in my opinion established an adequate buffer of at least 920 feet to the nearest residential dwelling to protect the public and safety. This buffer would exceed the maximum tip height of the proposed facility with the proposed 100 meter tower and either an 82.5 meter diameter or 100 meter diameter blade. This buffer would also exceed a setback equal to 1.5 times the maximum tip height of the tower with either an 82.5 meter diameter blade or a 100 meter diameter blade.
“I have reviewed GE’s recommended setbacks and BNE complies with all recommended standards for facilities using an 82.5 meter diameter blade.”
“Site is located within 850 feet of local road (Kluge Road) and within 1,000 feet of state road, Route 69. Safety zone setback by GE Energy (for turbine’s height’s proposed) is 984 feet or 1.5 times hub height plus rotor diameter. Vestas recommends a 1,300 foot safety zone for its large-scale industrial turbines.”
“It has been calculated that the production of 8,410 MWh of clean renewable energy from the Project will reduce CO2 emissions, a greenhouse gas, by approximately 4,222 tons per year and generate approximately $13,636 through the sale of carbon credits.”
“Prospect Wind has provided little detail on any number of their assumptions which are crucial to evaluating the competitiveness of the proposed project. …With this data unavailable, this analysis regards Prospect’s wind resources as marginal, as the turbines would operate relatively inefficiently versus areas with superior wind resources. This would result in higher power production costs, and that developers would likely be uncomfortable paying higher power prices for an inefficient wind project when other renewable options are available.”
“The total tax assessment for the proposed turbines, ancillary equipment and the remaining vacant land is estimated to be $147,116, which would make the project the largest single source of tax revenue in the Town of Prospect. It is anticipated that, on average, each household’s taxes could be reduced by approximately $47 per year because of the local property taxes that would be paid by the Project.”
“Wind energy costs more – dramatically more- than any other form of energy in terms of the dollars of capital, and the number of square miles of real estate, invested per MW of output. And wind energy receives greater subsidies per unit of production than any other form of energy. … Also, once the taxpayers’ money is spent, the developers can often exert substantial leverage over legislators authorities by raising the specter of ‘waste’ taxpayer funds.”