Falmouth Heights, Massachusetts: Onshore Electric Wind Turbine Cables 220,000 to 345,000 Volts\
Falmouth, Massachusetts is a popular vacation destination on Cape Cod but is changing fast.
The proposed design considered potential ocean wind turbine landfall locations in Falmouth: Worcester Avenue, Shore Street, and Central Park. The Falmouth landfall location would support up to 12
onshore export cables carrying a nominal voltage of 200-345 kV. An onshore air-insulated or gas-insulated substation requires up to 26 acres of land in total.
SF6 is an anthropogenically produced compound, mainly used as a gaseous dielectric in gas-insulated switchgear power installations. It is a potent greenhouse gas with a high global warming potential.
Carbon dioxide is the most abundant greenhouse gas (GHG), but it doesn’t come close to SF6 in terms of potency. This fluorinated gas can last in the atmosphere for 3,200 years before it is broken down by UV rays, and is 22,800 times more effective than CO2 at trapping infrared radiation in the atmosphere.
Local regulations in the Town of Falmouth Zoning Bylaws § 240-9.8D, state that Wind Energy
Systems (encompassing transmission, storage equipment, substations, transformers, service and
access roads, and wind turbines) shall “not exceed increases in broadband sound levels by more than 6 A-weighted decibels or "pure tone" sound levels by more than 3 A-weighted decibels over
ambient sound levels at the property line.”.
Reports state some receivers may experience over 100 Leq dBA (about as loud as a power lawnmower 3 ft away).
The EPA specifies a maximum day-night average sound level of 55 dBA for residential areas.
The Town of Falmouth’s Zoning Bylaw § 240-9.8D was not considered, which sets forth
a limit that is more conservative than the state regulation for the increased noise level of
WES projects (an increase of 6 dBA versus 10 dBA above existing conditions).
Picture file photo: electrical substation in Puerto Rico