• PSB to ponder noise generation
     | December 16,2013

    COLCHESTER — The Vermont Public Service Board is considering whether the standards it sets for the noise generated by energy projects, including wind turbines, are stringent enough.

    The board is not planning to change the requirements for any existing wind projects, but it does want to reexamine the noise level criteria it has been using for approval.

    Geoff Commons, the public advocate for the Department of Public Service, which represents ratepayers before the board, said that until now, projects have been held to a 45-decibel level consistent with the World Health Organization.

    But he told Vermont Public Radio further study is warranted because neighbors of large-scale wind projects continue to complain about the sound produced by the whirring blades.

    “The science around health effects from wind turbine noise for example, has not been well settled, and there are still open questions in that regard and so the board is just trying to get the best information it can and we are as well,” he said.

    But wind power supporters say the board has already created a rigorous noise standard that is being met by Vermont’s wind power developers.

    “Quite frankly all the Vermont projects are under very, very strict limits. So I think what will ultimately come through is that we will find that indeed the Public Service Board has done a very solid job with doing their job,” said Gabrielle Stebbins, executive director for Renewable Energy Vermont, a trade association.

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