Monday, July 30, 2007

Airtricity Update

Airtricity, in recent meetings with Folmont representatives, agreed to modify its site plan for the adjacent wind plant so as to remove the two turbines that were planned to be sited closest to Folmont property.

The earlier plan called for ten turbines on the New Baltimore Sportsman’s Club ridge, south of Hawk’s Nest Road and Blueberry Way. The closest turbines were sited about 1200-1300 feet from the nearest home, and slightly more to other nearby homes. The revised plan reduces the number of turbines on that ridge from ten to eight, and increases the setback of the nearest turbines to about 2000-2200 feet.

Originally, Airtricity planned to install turbines on Layman’s ridge, east of Old Farm and New Baltimore Roads, but subsequently removed that property from its site plan.

The current plan calls for 39 turbines, with eight on the New Baltimore Sportsman’s Club ridge, three on the Swallow farm, and twenty-eight on the Mountain Ridge ATV Tracks. The construction target is December 2007. The construction access road will start at Route 30 and run just west of the Folmont western border.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Guidelines for Community Noise

Author: World Health Organization

“… for clear speech perception the background noise level should not exceed 35 dB(A). …

“Measurable effects of noise on sleep begin at LAeq levels of about 30 dB. … When noise is continuous, the equivalent sound pressure level should not exceed 30 dB(A) indoors, if negative effects on sleep are to be avoided. For noise with a large proportion of low-frequency sound a still lower guideline value is recommended. …

“During daytime, few people are highly annoyed at LAeq levels below 55 dB(A), and few are moderately annoyed at LAeq levels below 50 dB(A). Sound levels during the evening and night should be 5–10 dB lower than during the day. Noise with low-frequency components require lower guideline values. For intermittent noise, it is emphasized that it is necessary to take into account both the maximum sound pressure level and the number of noise events. Guidelines or noise abatement measures should also take into account residential outdoor activities. …

“Indoor guideline values for bedrooms are 30 dB LAeq for continuous noise and 45 dB LAmax for single sound events. Lower noise levels may be disturbing depending on the nature of the noise source. At night-time, outside sound levels about 1 metre from facades of living spaces should not exceed 45 dB LAeq, so that people may sleep with bedroom windows open. This value was obtained by assuming that the noise reduction from outside to inside with the window open is 15 dB. To enable casual conversation indoors during daytime, the sound level of interfering noise should not exceed 35 dB LAeq. …

“To be able to hear and understand spoken messages in class rooms, the background sound level should not exceed 35 dB LAeq during teaching sessions.”

Download “WHO Guidelines for Community Noise”

Source: National Wind Watch Resource Library Home

Monday, July 09, 2007

Airtricity Announces Plans

Company announces wind farm plans
By Sarah L. Reiber, The Somerset Daily American, 7 July 2007

SHADE TOWNSHIP — Supervisors have announced the possibility of a new wind farm coming to the township.

Airtricity Inc., a company that develops and operates wind farms across Europe and North America, has submitted a preliminary plan to supervisors and plans to apply for a permit, said Chairman John Topka.
“This is strictly an announcement,” he said. “We’ll have to wait for the application.”

The project is proposed on the Swallow Farm property, with three turbines in Shade Township and the remainder in Stonycreek Township, he said.
Airtricity’s permit application will be subject to the guidelines outlined in the township’s ordinance on windmills, he said, which includes a limit on the number of turbines built in one area and decibel levels they emit.
While on the issue of wind farms, residents inquired as to whether the supervisors had considered taking a public stance on Gamesa’s proposed Shaffer Mountain wind farm project. Many surrounding municipalities have gone on record to oppose the project, which has been subject to controversy over the possible destruction of the natural watershed area in which it is to be located.

“I understand why people are against it. It is a natural, untouched area,” Topka said. “I think it’s something we could discuss and act on at the next meeting, in August. But it might be one of those situations where you lose no matter what you decide.”

He explained that the Shaffer Mountain project was proposed before the township’s ordinance went into effect. “Those fell under the Somerset County Planning Commission. We don’t have any say over them,” he said.
As far as the Airtricity project or any other future project is concerned, he said, the board will have to remain neutral. “As long as they’re going to follow the guidelines, we pretty much have to grant them the permit,” he said.

HT: National Wind Watch