Wind Turbine Safety Setbacks Now Exceeding 3000 Feet

Maine -Massachusetts -New Hampshire 

A Good Rule of Thumb 10 Times the Height Equals SetbackE.g. A single 400 foot wind turbine needs a setback of 4000 feet 

Two or more turbines at the same location double the noise levels

Setbacks must be measured from a non-participant's property line. The only proven safety measure is a safe setback.

The Wall Street Journal published a scathing editorial on the experience of Falmouth, Massachusetts, which spent $10 million on wind turbines, and it's been a disaster.

The Massachusetts courts shut down both town owned wind turbines named Famouth Wind I and II both identical Vestas V-82 type wind turbines in June of 2017.

These turbines have no permits and are a nuisance.

Falmouth, Massachusetts Town Meeting voted 2.5 million to take down and put the 15 years old gear driven turbines in storage.

The town was warned prior to installation the turbines generate 110 decibels of noise each but even today has never disclosed the Vestas warning letter to the public.

In Falmouth, Massachusetts an acoustician requires the distance to meet the 40-decibel threshold for Wind II, a Vestas V82 with a sound power level of 110 decibels, which is approximately 891 meters or 2923 feet.

Wind II has a tower height of two hundred sixty-two (262') feet, a rotor diameter of two hundred sixty-nine (269') feet and overall height to the topmost blade extension of three hundred ninety-seven (397') feet.

A setback measured from a dwelling limits the non-participating landowner's use of their property and greatly reduces protections for non-participants from noise pollution and its proven ill effects, shadow flicker, property devaluation, and potential property damage from blade failure, ice or fire.

All landowners should have the right to do with their land what they choose as long as it doesn't harm or impede a neighboring landowner. A setback for safety reasons, regardless of its distance, must be maintained.

Any zoning that allows a wind turbine to be built next to a non-participant's property line eliminates that property owner from safely using that land.

It creates an easement over the neighboring, non-participating property that eliminates the owner from any further developments. This amounts to an uncompensated taking of private property rights.

Because of widespread concerns about health and safety, many jurisdictions scattered around the United States and Canada have adopted larger setbacks in recent years.

Government Entities Examples of Setbacks Over 3000 Feet

Catarunk, Maine 7,920 ft.

Moscow, Maine 7,920 ft.

Haut-Saint-Laurent, Montérégie, Québéc 6,562 ft.

Fayette County, Pennsylvania 6,000 ft.

Carteret County, North Carolina 5,280 ft.

Frankfort, Maine 5,280 ft. from property line

Umatilla County, Oregon 5,280 ft. from "unincorporated community"

Mason County, Kentucky 5,280 ft. from property line

Trempealeau County, Wisconsin 5,280 ft. from inhabited structures

Hillsdale County, Michigan 5,280 ft. from residences

Sumner, Maine 5,280 ft. from property line

Newport, North Carolina 5,000 ft. from neighboring property lines

Ellis County, Kansas 4,921 ft. from rural residences

Rumford, Maine 4,000 ft. from property line

Clifton, Maine 4,000 ft. from occupied structures

San Diego, California 3,937 ft. from residences

Halifax, Nova Scotia 3,281 ft. from habitable building

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Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."

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