Expert: Wind company trying to ‘muddle’ wind turbine noise solution

Jack Spencer — CapCon — February 19, 2014

A plan to address excessive noise issues at a Northern Michigan wind plant won’t work, a sound expert said.

Additionally, he said he thinks Consumers Energy, which has offered the plan, knows it won’t work.

On Feb. 7, Consumers Energy submitted a mitigation plan to address noise levels at its Lake Winds Energy Plant, located south of Ludington in Mason County. The submission of this plan was ordered by the 51st Circuit Court, where the utility is contesting the county’s ruling (the first of its kind in Michigan) that the $250 million, 56-turbine wind plant is in violation of its noise ordinance.

Rick James of East Lansing-based E-Coustic Solutions is an acoustician specializing in the production, control, transmission, reception and effects of sound.

The following is an interview with James interviewed about the Consumers Energy Mitigation plan.

What did you think of the mitigation plan Consumers Energy submitted to Mason County?

“Consumers Energy is trying to use the same type of bad science it was accused of using in the permit application study by Brian Howe, HGC (the acoustical consultants to the county) to its advantage now that mitigation is the issue.

“First, it’s trying to say the problem stems from background noise not being measured and its effects being left out of the HGC compliance measurements, which would imply that the measurements inflated the sound levels from the wind turbines. There was no evidence that this occurred and it would be expected that HGC would have made such corrections if they had found high background sound levels contaminated their compliance test results. Based on this type of specious reasoning Consumers Energy proposes minor adjustments to the turbines that are located close to where there have been complaints.   Continue reading here……

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