Letter: Hoosac Wind: Health hazard, failure
To the editor of THE EAGLE:
While I was pleased that The Berkshire Eagle did a story on the Iberdrola Renewable report (August 10), it neither adequately conveyed the seriousness of the problem nor the simple fact that Hoosac Wind has been a colossal failure on a number of fronts, including its dismal failure to provide anything more than a minimal impact on the commonwealth’s energy needs.
Hoosac is the largest and most expensive wind installation project in Massachusetts ($23 million in federal subsidies alone), yet in 2013 it only produced 0.2 percent of the total amount of electricity used in the state the previous year, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data. To put that in perspective, if only 50 percent of the households in Massachusetts traded in their old refrigerators for new energy efficient models the output would be the equivalent of more than eight Hoosac Wind projects.
Equally important, Hoosac Wind has created serious environmental and health issues that Iberdrola has failed to adequately address. In fact, the noise level from the wind turbines discussed in the report -- louder and out of compliance more than any other wind project in Massachusetts -- is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg.
n The noise from the turbines is almost double the maximum level called for under MassDEP regulations.
n The actual noise levels are undoubtedly even higher than the new findings as the turbines were running at about half power during the tests and the instruments used to measure the sounds were not placed in optimum areas.
n The level of noise has resulted in sleep deprivation which often leads to chronic health problems. There have been numerous complaints of vertigo, tinnitus and severe headaches, for example, from area residents.
While the noise from the turbine blades are certainly part of the problem, the greater health hazard which neither MassDEP nor Iberdrola has addressed, is the low frequency sounds emanating from the turbines. Published research clearly shows that these sounds are the primary cause of the health issues caused by the turbines. And we cannot discount the environmental damage from the turbines on Bakke Mountain and Crum Hill. There has been unprecedented destruction of two ridgeline eco-systems, particularly important in the face of global warming.
The writer is president of Wind Wise Massachusetts.
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