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Wind Turbine — Good Idea, But Location Still An Issue

Debate will continue as public process moves on.

Last Tuesday, just over 100 people boarded the Nathaniel Bowditch, for a sunny but cool cruise to Hull.

As your intrepid Patch guy, I was among those on this journey to tour the two Hull turbine sites.

It should be noted by all, that despite criticism that this trip was strictly a rigged game for the Mayor and supporters of the turbine, that was not the case. Included in the crowd were members of Salem Wind and some Marblehead residents who oppose the project. There were also representatives from Salem Wind Power. Contrary to the perception of some, the mayor did not load the boat strictly with supporters.

After seeing and hearing the turbines in Hull, I support a turbine for Salem but am not completely sold on as the site for it. I do not want see any large part of the park with limited access. 

In a time when we as a city are looking for revenue sources and long-term ways to cut expenses, this proposal is the type of forward thinking we need.

As with anything else, there are issues. These issues have already been a part of what will be a continuing public debate.

Hull 2, located on a capped landfill, is much larger than I expected. It is huge and impressive. I was able to hear the sounds and see for myself the shadows created as the blades turned.

The sound issues and shadow or flickering issues seem real enough but not as bad as some have presented. The sounds recorded in this video on the SalemWind site are misleading. Having some experience with video cameras and their audio issues, I have always found that wind and motor-generated background noise is always amplified when recording. Listen yourself and make your own judgment.

Listening to the sound as I approached and then stood under the machine, I would not describe it as noise. I was reminded of a washing machine in a slow "wash" cycle. A representative from the Renewable Energy Task Force using a decibel meter measured the sound around 55 DBAs.

Hull 1 is located by the high school and adjacent to an athletic field. As we toured this site, the field hockey team played on the field. It is smaller unit and due to the activities and other sounds around it, I did not hear the turbine as much sound as I had heard at Hull 2.

I do not mean not to minimize the concerns of those who live on Winter Island Road and the surrounding area. Some do not want this in their front yard and I respect that fact. NIMBY is not a dirty word. and Salem Neck have already endured the power plant, sewage treatment plant, and more than a few other less long-term impositions. They have a right to be heard.

The commercial aspect also needs to be discussed. 

Any argument saying you can't have commercial enterprises on Winter Island are weakened by the fact that there have been many such examples of commercial businesses there in the past and there still are today. Restaurants have been there, functions and weddings are held there by private catering companies every summer. The City rents camping and RV spaces there for a fee. The fact is, Winter Island Park is already a commercial entity and has been for many years. Some of the operating capital for the park come from the fees collected by these businesses. The turbine, according to the the Mayor's office, would not be an exception.

A Winter Island turbine will dominate the landscape. There will be sound, shadows, and flickering. It will be municipally owned commercial enterprise. If it will not significantly limit access to Winter Island, I support it.

As expected, the most noise in this debate is being made by those against the subject. I expect that trend to continue. Many weigh in under screen names and thunder loudly from behind their keyboards. A few, like Ed Moriarty, of Salem Wind, who was on the trip and asked hard questions, stand up in public and speak without fear because they have courage and conviction. That is the way it should be. 

Do your own homework and find the sources that you trust. Like statistics, you can always find someone or something to support your position.

Let the debate continue.

windpower October 24, 2011 at 03:35 PM
Yes Salem girl go to the other site .I will not bias them in a negitive lite or attack the people .You can decide . Ed
Don Nadeau October 24, 2011 at 07:07 PM
I see a very few people talking repeatedly here very loudly and sometimes unpleasantly about the proposal, but I think you are neighbors (at least 1,700 feet away) and your friends, so if there is a real concern for your property, perhaps there are interviews available of the experience of other folks who live 1,700 to 2,600 feet away to the north from a similar windmill? Otherwise why be set against it? Discarding the scare reasons listed above.
Don Nadeau October 24, 2011 at 07:12 PM
For another comparison, of scare vs real concerns and their viability, I wonder if there's a way I can stop all those passenger jets from flying over my house after bedtime. Do I have a genuine complaint there, and can I force everyone else involved in local (and intercontinental) air travel to indulge me?
Salemgirl October 24, 2011 at 07:42 PM
May have had a valid point until you went to your little sarcasm. There are other considerations, birds, sealife, bats (big issue) but then maybe you only care about you and not your environment.
john October 24, 2011 at 08:08 PM
I think the most logical starting point on this issue is does the city have a right do put a windmill on Winter Island? Councilor Sargent says the do not. As for the birds, the environmental issues will never agree with the power issue. This issue is a good example of even green energy being challenged. At this point in time there are no green energy sources that can make a serious impact on our demand. That does not mean that we should not continue to research green energy but we should go slowly and let the research develop the benifits.Last night I watched a very interesting show on Chernobyl (speeling ?) The only thing living there is wildlife and it is abundent. All sources of energy produce challenges but we can't live without it.Time will tell if the windmill issue in Salem has any legs but we should find a starting point. First,does the city have the right to do it?
Pat Stewart October 24, 2011 at 10:46 PM
Unfortunately, you're out of luck with the jets, but Winter Island is a different story. The difference is that Winter Island is covered by laws intended to protect the public right's right to enjoy the natural environment free from noise and development. Back in 1972, to help preserve the environment, Massachusetts added Article 97 to its constitution. It says: "The people shall have the right to clean air and water, freedom from excessive and unnecessary noise, and the natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic qualities of their environment... the general court shall have the power to provide...for the acquisition by purchase or otherwise, of lands ...as may be deemed necessary to accomplish these purposes. Lands and easements taken or acquired for such purposes shall not be used for other purposes..." Winter Island was one of the lands acquired to help preserve the public's right to enjoy the natural environment (under MA general law Chapter 45, Section 3). It was specifically deeded to the Parks and Recreation Department for "park purposes". So while you can't stop an airplane from flying over the park, you can actually prevent the lands of the park itself from being used for purposes that conflict with your right to freedom from excessive noise and enjoyment of the natural, scenic quality of the environment there (or for being used for any other purposes than as a park really).
Salemgirl October 25, 2011 at 12:17 AM
Pat makes it pretty clear what the intent of winter island being designated as a protective area, but I am pretty sure the Mayor will bulldoze through that. I hope you are right Pat and John
Nancy Gilberg October 25, 2011 at 12:50 AM
Don, there is a great video at www.salemwindfacts.org. The second video from the top is called "Wind Turbine Neighbors Speak Out." For each neighbor interviewed, there is a caption showing how many feet from the turbine they live. Whether they hear the turbine or not, they all agree "no ill effects" for themselves or their children. At Hull 2, two comments made by Hull's Town Manager stood out for me. The first was that the most common phone call he receives is "why ISN'T the turbine running?" The second was how much town residents appreciate the educational aspect of having wind turbines. I.e., children are learning "where does our energy come from" rather than thinking it magically and freely appears.
windpower October 25, 2011 at 01:12 AM
Don There are also several great videos at www salemwind.org ed
Salemgirl October 25, 2011 at 01:26 AM
oh Nancy and they all lived happily ever after ! Please. There are a great number of issues here least of all how educational it is for the kids to know where energy comes from. They teach that in schools or then again maybe they don't. Maybe the kids can learn why the bats no longer exist and the bugs are so bad or why the migratory birds don't come any more or why mommy has a migraine again.
Nancy Gilberg October 25, 2011 at 01:35 AM
Except that in Hull - there are no migraines, and no dead wildlife. Just schoolchildren focused on their field hockey game directly underneath Hull 1, and neighborhood pride surrounding Hull 2.
windpower October 25, 2011 at 02:14 AM
Except for the ones complaining on the video on salem wind. Please stop the spin . Hull is not the only site with problems , please go to national wind news and see the WORLD WIDE issues . Sorry they report all wind news ,pro con ,but it seems most of it is negitive Read about the camp in in Vermont the green state . Ed
Salemgirl October 25, 2011 at 11:52 AM
Hull absolutely has issues, you are choosing not to see them, they all have an effect on the immediate environment, you need to do a bit more research or maybe move to Hull if it is so wonderful there under the wind turbines
windpower October 25, 2011 at 12:07 PM
Interesting developments on the Cape . Capecodtoday 10/23/11 . Officials debate regulations on wind energy . The state wants to take way local power for siting wind turbines . But opponets out numbered proponets by a 5 to 1 margin ,showing that people do not want wind turbines in their back yard . Will elected officials listen? Salem is not alone in the conterversity over siting wind turbines in urban and pristine areas . Ed
mark cool October 25, 2011 at 02:22 PM
This video is of Neil Anderson, Falmouth resident who gives testimony of the health impacts he is personally suffering from the wind turbines now operating in Falmouth. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aayhmSx3e-w
mark cool October 25, 2011 at 02:55 PM
Legislators have before them five bills (S.1130, H.1511, H.1487, H. 2346, and H. 2379) that will ultimately provide the guidance and facts necessary to move toward a safe setback criteria and a successful Massachusetts wind energy future. But wind developers are demanding project authorization from land management boards now. Doesn't it strike you as odd that the Governor and his 'green' minions would encourage unregulated wind project development before determining adequate public safety regulation? Keeping it LOCAL is a citizens best offense in encouraging and ensuring political 'common sense'.
Manny_Live October 26, 2011 at 01:42 AM
Dartmouth becomes the latest city/town to say an emphatic NO to wind turbines. http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20111025/NEWS/110250330
windpower October 26, 2011 at 02:58 AM
Time to put this to bed .Renewable resource group needs to refocus the efforts to home insulation and energy efficiency . And how about looking at tidal power . Forest river .Pool at cat cove, north river, and Danvers come in focus Unlike wind power at 23% tidal is predicable and works at 75% of the time . Nice to see I have been put in my place as a Willows resident and not a "wealthy" Marbleheader When does wealth come into this issue ? When you need spin # 8 Ed
chester suchecki October 28, 2011 at 02:27 PM
now your talking. tidal power and plenty of it athe danvers river channel starting at monument bar. thats the sand bar off dead horse beach.and it is deep enough too. check out the marine charts.
blumpkin October 29, 2011 at 01:22 AM
Looks like Sale isn't the only place that doesn't want these absurd things. http://www.bostonherald.com/business/general/view/2011_1028us_appeals_court_rejects_key_cape_wind_approval/srvc=home&position=5
windpower October 29, 2011 at 12:21 PM
Spin power .Quotes from Robert Bryces article America's worse wind project . "the things people are educated about are a real deficit for us,enthusium decreases for wind . solution , weaken the counterarugements, tell people wind is clean provides jobs ,investment in future, prices come down every day . Localy I was at a meeting where a comment was made that infered that it was unpatirotic to be aganist wind power . That went over like a lead balloon . Look for personal attacks as this issue spins up . As their own consultents say the Educated turn aganist wind power .
Jeffrey Snell October 29, 2011 at 02:08 PM
Gee Ed, I was at that same meeting where someone suggested that it was patriotic to support renewable energy and wind power. If memory serves me correct, the person was responding to an insult and label hurled by YOU just before and the "lead balloon" response came from none other than your own daughter. Give me a break. Who is spinning what her? Here's what we know: there is an overwhelming scientific consensus that carbon emissions from human activities is contributing to potentially dangerous climate change. This is already starting to occur with increased rainfall (and snowfall!) events, droughts, wildfires and severe flooding events. This will get worse in the next 10-20 years. This is what the Pentagon among others are predicting. The largest scientific group ever formed to study any natural phenomena, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - the IPCC (and the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize), has stated that industrialized countries (like the US), need to reduce our CO2 emissions by 80% or more by 2050 from current levels. In order to accomplish this dramatic goal, we will need to make our existing infrastructure much more energy efficient and expand significantly our use of renewable energy generation in the form of wind, solar, geothermal, tidal etc. If we do not do this, we are consigning our grandchildren and future generations to a potentially dire set of circumstances. This is the opinion of the IPCC and the World Meteorlogical Society.
windpower October 29, 2011 at 05:46 PM
GEE Jeff I don't have a daughter . AND I did not speak at that meeting . I know what we heard ,and the responce was greated by a standin ovation . See the above remarks are EXACTLY what we want to see . If you can't get the facts right about my offspring ,how do we expect you to get the winfd turbine facts right .
Jeffrey Snell October 29, 2011 at 08:21 PM
Sorry about that. It's hard to keep track of who's who when folks don't have the courage to post items under their real name. I guess "Windpower" is another Ed, other than Ed Moriarty. Perhaps Ed Wolf? At any rate, I stand by my comments that given the momentous challenge our country faces in the next 40 years in reducing emissions by 80% or more, supporting green energy is one of many patriotic actions one can take.
John Dumas November 19, 2011 at 01:27 PM
Why was my link showing this type of turbine obsolete deleted?
LAnderson December 11, 2012 at 03:18 AM
B*E*W*A*R*E SALEM.............................................................................. Kittery Maine has had one at the dump/transfer station that is never on! The thing doesn't work. Read below. By Charles McMahon news@seacoastonline.com May 11, 2010 2:00 AMKITTERY, Maine — The Town Council on Monday night unanimously agreed to offload a wind turbine that failed to live up to its expectations and will now look to sell the alternative energy equipment for much less than the town paid for it. Installed near the town transfer station, the 50-kilowatt turbine failed significantly, only producing less than 11 kilowatt hours of electricity. When the town realized last year the turbine was not producing up to expectations, arrangements were made with Entegrity to repurchase the equipment. The business ultimately went bankrupt and no payments were made.
Nancy Gilberg December 11, 2012 at 03:50 AM
The proposed wind turbine for Salem will be twice as tall as the Kittery turbine - to avoid the tree turbulence issues that Kittery experienced. Higher up, the wind is stronger and more consistent.
Carolyn Costain December 11, 2012 at 04:38 AM
People should read all the negatives of wind power and they should read about the concerns starting with the " Berkshire Wind Power Project" In some places wind turbines had to be shut down indefinitely because the noise exceeded the legal noise limits. What happened to preserving Salem's historical values? Why don't our Mayor erect a monstrosity of a turbine at the end of Derby Wharf then face it towards the monstrosity cruise ships to cool off the tourist on the upper decks next summer!
windpower December 11, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Carolyn ; Calm down . Salem is lucky to have delayed this project . Data is flooding in ,world wide about wind power .And it's not good .Especially for stand alone turbines Granted a few projects have looked good in the early stages ,but it only takes ONE breakdown and all profits are blown away . One does not need to look to hard to find this data . The big PUSH for wind power this year is for one reason, TAX BREAKS . When we go over the cliff these bennies go away . They HAD to be producing by years end . Greenies need to focus on home insulation and energy conservation . Now I love christmas lights ,but why do people leave them on all night long? Every little thing adds up . City officials are continually updated by me Ed Wolfe as to the info relative to the winter island project . The beauty of emails is that the are on record ,so they have been informed . Thanks for keeping informed .
mark cool January 22, 2013 at 01:13 PM
TEMPLATE FOR COMMUNITY WIND: http://www.falmouthmass.us/energy/wtopreport.pdf ~ The most poignant statement in all the report heralds that .. the legacy of our society is intrinsically bound to the principled value of Thy Neighbor ~ “Should health, safety, and well-being of our neighbors carry the same weight as any of the four other interests? We conclude that it should be more heavily weighted above the other interests. Should town unity and reconciliation be weighted the same as climate action implementation or fiscal impacts? We conclude that town unity is second only to the health, safety, and well-being of our neighbors. If the Board of Selectmen seeks to end the tumult surrounding the turbines, then there is only one option.” ~ Multiple Perspectives Stakeholders


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