Hessler Associates, Inc.

O)lIw/wnl .. ill l;.'II.QiI,i..'f!rhtJ; ,·h'mHlic'

3862 Giillon Ma.nQr Place Sliite B

Haymarket. Virginia 20169 USA Phone: 703·753·1602

Fax: 703-'153-1522

Vvebs;le: vlYlW.hesslernoise.com

June 21, 2010

Ms. Blayne Gunderman

St. Lawrence Wind Power, LLC 122 S. Point S1.

Cape Vincent, NY 13618


St. Lawrence Wind Project Noise Impact Assessment Responses to Cavanaugh TocciIBemier Carr Conunents



Dear Ms. Gunderman:

We have received the comments dated May 14,2010 from Cavanaugh Tocci Associates regarding OUT noise impact assessment for the Sf. Lawrence project and the subsequent I etter from the Bernier Carr Group dated June 9, 2010 on tile same subject. Responses to ihe eight specific questions a.re given below.

I. Turbine sound power levels are measured in accordance with IEC 61400-11 Whld turbine generator systems - Pari 1I: Acoustic noise measuremem techniques. This standard only requires the reporting of sound levels in the 6 to 10 mls wind speed range. inclusive. The principal reason for this is that tlutinc souiKIlevels at lower wind speeds, 5 m/s and below, are often diffleult to discern and clearly separate from the background level. Nevertheless. they are sometimes voluntarily reported by the test engineer if satisfactory low wind speed measurements were obtained during the test. An inquiry has been made 10 tbe engineering firm. WINDTEST. that tested the Aeciona A WS2 to see if they have data for wind speeds below the required range; however, there is no reliable data below 6 mls that can be obtained from WINDTEST for the Acciona 82 OJ rotor turbine.

In any eve • rt, experience witb other similar turbine models where low w.ind speed performance infunnalion was available almost universally indicates that the critical design. condition - where the turbine sound level is maximum relative to the background level-> occurs at 6 m/s, as ecacluded in the St. Lawrence noise assessment. In other words, at wiud speeds lower than ,6 mls the turbine sound level essentially drops off'more rapidly than the background level does, meaning that the nominal impact threshold (a 6 dBA increase in the overall sound level) would occur closer to the turbines than it does for the 6 mls case presented ill the analysis. Even. if low speed sound power levels for the A W82 were known, it is highly unlikely that the critical design conditions would shift down to a lower wind speed. For example, estimated sound levels in the 3 105 mls bins have been added 10 the table below based on the typical performance ofother similar turbines (as discussed further in Item 2 below). In all likelihood the design condition - the maximum differential point between tbe turbine power level and the background level- would remain at 6 mls.

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2. As mentioned above, ~I)mul power levels fQ)t 1.11Ie AW82 ln the 3 to S u!lh wUIll, SPQOO bins are not IIvai !ablll> IHiwewr, judgi~g froL'1l li'~lmlta![i1'y reported .resliits for olh!lr simJ ~~1' 'I IIwi ne tli.OOe1s tile wund leYel 'lypkailly llit'QPS off'quiekly below'~ m/s. In dIlOO! eases, such {!~ whh lire. GE l.5sle or tile GamcSll 087. for t\)c8m;pte'" the re~hoctiQn ij n sound Level from. 6 10 :5 mls is lIsuallyon lJite: order 1.1l 3 t04 dBA; heaee the' estimated power level of98 dBA fur .5 nus wind conditions in Table t Val.lles 1i.1 J niI"S cannot usually be d!ete'iillliillltd because '1IIe' rurblne 1l)IlUQd! level is oomflamble 1.0 ,or bello",. the background level alld are nor1lnally olil.y,exPlj'¢Ss.edl as ,csti,ua1:es,ifthe,l' are provided, at nil, Sound power le ... el estimates for Ihe 3 to 5 mfs bim IWi the A W82 iITe ,given in Table I oboll'o.

3. The 90'lb, percentile ontlc willteriime L9'O backgrulinlillevel ,essell~ialllly ameunts te the Im .. est nmbue-nt sound level !lnat is e'olerlU.ely to !)ctmr mll'ie 'project area, Using these oll,erly COIl®efvati,"e va:lues in the IIl1!ri,Clil!i, Willd s,peed bins !IS bases for evaluating the Il,Qrnilll:lll imp;lCl threshold of 1lI 6, diM in<:J'elI5e '1'00 hi undoubtEidly ami ~rnrellilistic" lIoy suggest Ihalll.!l'l'erse JlIl'Jse

illl1pacts wil.! !l'C(1)i!' 'Cl11:fj widespread ba~:isovef' II~ enflre pl'ojed ~u:e~ <lml beyond. Suc,]'j.1I

eouc lusfofl WQ]lild '101 agree lit !l'll.~",i!h 'the acl\!~11 comlmmi:ty ,reliction 'l;Ib9E'!Y,ed ill oom.plll'II~!.e Ile~vly c.per"lltio'll.lll willd Ilr,oje¢li> in NIil'.'I' York 'Sl1lIe lind elsewhere, Iii ge:tlC1r,al, field ~.peJ'ienoe a! S similar sites ll;il.ere turbines lifO milled Will'l f8rn~s and residences Indleates ~l~a.tthB number of complaints nil faidy ~onall (ropgllly 4 pel! 100 households witlt~n2000 ft ora Mbinc) lit p:r,ojecis wilte~o ilU 'ctl Mghtr sOUln~ levels occur OIt ,uesidences, limn are eKpc(iled in tl!i~ C!!~; i,e, s:igllmcantly l'ower project soundl h:m:ils aoo 8Jllicipl'lted <lit St; Lawreuce based on mmlelinii: Ih~!l were ll!!Wi1lt{ld and ~1!.bseq,uetll]y verified th HlIl:gh ~lle8~III.el~Mts fl.! these oll1.tlf.s 1le;s, Morea-vet, s~tbslimlla'ily simi lilli' bacJkg,oo'mo.di sound. leve~.s 10 111\0~e recorded at S~<l.,gwr~mce l'i'el\~ rn.Ga$~11'td ,ill all ofilhe other sites, COll5'!.l'qusnily, the clrcumstanees IIJre, direclly CO.l~pi'iI.a.ble in ev'~ WIIS e~ce,pt mat the projecl wunm levels fit St .. Lawrence lire !ilceJy i,o be lIuMlanliflHy lowe r t.hal~ at tliese, otl'ill.r si11ls - resulting i.n 1I1.Ii!IICh lower probability of comph!inb than would certainly be predi.cledl based on the sev,erely censer .... atlve backgwOllll.o levels being $lliggesled by eTA. 11 shauld a ISo be noted ll'm!. 110eta sclll1er ~I the regNl$~io\ll !l~mlysis OC<:lllf.S 00111 below and above the

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mean trend line, meaning lItal half of'the time higher L90 background levels than the mean values used in the assessment are likely 10 occur.

4. There was DO intention whatsoever to be misleadlng in our description of rhe 1.-90 sound level.

The L90 sound level over the 10 minute intervals measured in the fIeld survey essentially represents the quietest 1 minute of each period, which normally occurs intennittently and is the cumulative total of numerous quiet moments that might only last a few seconds each - during a momentary lull in the wind, fur example. Most of'the time, 90"/. of'the lime, a higher sound level existed. As such it is not the sound level that "typically occurs" as suggested butratber is a somewhat rare, near-minimum value. This conservative measure was used to quantify the background level for assessment purposes. The average, or Leq, values are reported largely for reference and simply to show that the actual "average" sound level is typically much higher than the L90 level.

S. The 0.8 dB adjustment to derive the design octave band sound power levels is just the difference between the overall A.weighted sound power level measured Wider 7 mi. wind conditions and the overall power level at 6 mls. Frequency values are given in the test report only for die 7 mls level and octave band values fl'lr the 6 mls design wind speed had to be roughly estimated by SUbtracting 0.8 dB from each band. It is extremely unlikely that if the actual octave band sound power levels under 6 mls conditions were exactly known (and they were different from the estimates) that it would affect the model predictions in any meaningful way.

6. This issue has already been discussed in Items I and 2 above.

7. The objective ofthe field survey was to establiish for design and assessment purposes aset of near-minimum background sound levels that reasonably represent ambient levels within the site area 8S B function of wind speed. Over 2000 measurements were made under winter conditions over 11 20 day period at each of six positions spread over the site area. Out of all this data a sitewide average, representative L90 design value 006.6 dBA was developed using the conservative critical wind speed approach mentioned in Item I, which assesses project noise under the wind conditions when it is most likely to be audible above the background level. In general, we feel tbis conservative analysis methodology is already sufficiently reasonable lind fair. Environmental sound levels constantly fluctuate from moment to moment due to random noise events associated with both natural and men-made causes and can never be quantified with extreme maibematical precision. Consequently, some variation in sound levels at indiyidual positions is nonnal and inevitable and some simplifying assumptions must be made to draw sensible design ... alues from the data.

Comment? suggests that averaging all six positions to yield a site-wide design level dangerously underestimates the background at certain positions and that somehow a separate background level should be used for different areas of the site. In the regression summary chart 011 p. 4 of the ITA letter dated May 14,2010 the individual sound levels at each position are shown as a function of wind speed. At the design wind speed of6 IIl!S used in our analysis most of these levels are tightly grouped in the 351037 dBA range, which substantially agrees with our generalized design value of36.6 dBA. Only one position is slightly lower and one (Position a) is substantially higher. It should be noted that all the data from Positlon 4 was thrown out of the design analysis because the sound level allhis location was consistently higher than at the other positions, In summary, Ihe differences in sound level between the individual test positions at the critical design point of 6 mls are not significantly different from each other or from the site-wide design value

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used in the assessment. Consequently, the conclusions of the assessment would not be materially affected even if individual background levels were assumed for each position.

B. Contour plots of project sound levels at integer wind speeds from 3 to 8 mls are arrached. ill each case the project-only sound level is projected out to (be nominal L90 background level measured for that wind speed as delineated in Table I above. Note thai the turbine sound power levels for 3,4 and 5 mls wind conditions are estimated values based on the behavior of similar turbines were low wind speed sound ioformauon has been voluntarily reported.

Please lei me know if YOII have any questions 011 the foregoing or if you need any further lnformarion,


David M. Hessler. P.E., INCE Prinei pal Consultant

Hessler Associates. loco

Attachments: Contour Plots to Background Level. 3 to 8 m/s Wind Conditions

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