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University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center

Wind Turbine Siting Issues
Presented at the: MAPC South Shore Coalition Renewable Energy Workshop April 8, 2010 Lynn B. Di Tullio University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center

University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center

Permitting Wind - Siting Issues
•Visual:
•Aesthetic impact •Shadow flicker

•Sound •Ice Shed •Avian

University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center

Permitting Wind - Siting Impacts
•Visual:
•Aesthetic - provide photo visualizations from key points •Flicker - have flicker study done, allow for mitigation if necessary

•Sound - have sound study done from key vantage points (better
models, instruments, and standards are evolving…)

•Ice Shed - usually not an issue, but… •Avian - desktop and onsite review usually required

University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center

Sources of Technical Assistance:
• Model bylaw for small and large wind energy:
http://www.mass.gov/Eoeea/docs/doer/gca/gc-model-wind-bylaw-mar-102009.pdf

• Steven Clarke, Director of Wind Energy Development, DOER, 617-626-1049 • University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center (funded through MRET-CEC) •Advice on standards, latest studies: setback, flicker, icing, noise • NEWEEP (New England Wind Energy Education Project) upcoming webinars and conference • Consultants (funded by CEC if town project)

University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center

Other Resources:
• Siting standards by other states:
www.nationalwind.org/assets/publications/Siting_Factsheets.pdf

• Acoustic Ecology Institute Special Report: Wind Energy Noise Impacts
www.acousticecology.org/srwind.html

• National Wind Coordinating Collaborative Reports
www.nationalwind.org

University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center

Statewide standards coming:
If Siting Reform bill passes, Energy Facilities Siting Board to develop statewide wind siting standards within 6 months, taking into account noise impacts on residents, safety setbacks, environmentally sensitive areas, rare species • Provides a statewide, coherent approach • Regional planning commissions can develop their own standards

University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center

Problems that Wind Energy Siting Reform is intended to address:
• Developers want clear and predictable siting standards • MA requires too many permits issued by too many entities with many opportunities for appeal • MA has one-stop permitting, but only >100 MW. = discrimination against renewable facilities • Other states have much lower thresholds, e.g., VT (0); CT (1), NH (5) Maine (20 Acres)

University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center

Wind Energy Siting Reform:
• Clear standards - as protective as, but not necessarily identical to, existing law • Applies to wind projects 2 MW or larger • One-stop permitting at local and state level • Appeal to court, if municipality rejects project (as currently) • Appeal to state EFS board, if others object to municipality’s approval (and then, only one appeal of EFSB decision - to highest court)

University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center

Wind Energy Siting Reform:
• High wind communities create “wind energy permitting boards,”: members of planning board, con-comm, and ZBA • One-stop board applies all local bylaws, and can waive provisions • Muni and Fish & Game reps on EFS board • Provides some financial benefits to towns

University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center

Predicted Results of Siting Reform:
• Wind facilities sited in appropriate locations with appropriate safeguards and mitigation • Permitting timeline reduced from 5+ years to between 1-1.5 years • Appeals reduced from 5+ years to 1 year

University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center

Permitting Wind - Regional Experiences

University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center

Permitting Wind Turbines- Medford
• • • • • • • 100 kW turbine on 40m tower, 200 feet from McGlynn School Operating since Jan. ‘09: 10% of electricity - $25,000/year City of Medford and Medford Clean Energy Committee Key: “Understand public outreach-everyone has to play a role” major effort, starting with big meeting for public within 500’ of property edge Planning Office and the Mayor took the lead; project “fit” No wind bylaw - went through ZBA Funding: the easy way!
– A $250,000 grant from the Large Onsite Renewables Initiative of the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust (MRET) – A $200,000 appropriation made through the 2008 MA Energy Bill – A $100,000 grant from the Mass Energy Consumers Alliance – Ongoing matching grant funds through the MRET Clean Energy Choice (aka GreenUp) program.

University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center

Permitting Wind Turbines- Fox

Island, Maine

• 4.5 MW project - three GE 1.5 MW turbines • Operating since Nov. ‘09 - meeting expectations • Community-owned - Fox Islands Electrical Cooperative serves Vinalhaven & North Haven ($0.28/kWh over CMP cable) • Expected to meet total electric power load; cut bills day 1 • Original ordinance designed to be restrictive for outside developers; made it hard for this project so was changed (!) • 1,500 feet to nearest residence; some neighbors bothered by noise • Sound data being gathered- seems to be in compliance with 45 dBA limit • Issue and potential mitigation will be submitted for Coop to decide

Permitting Wind Turbines- Freedom,
• • • • 4.5 MW project - three GE 1.5 MW turbines Operating since Nov. ‘08 - happy with production

University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center

Maine

Privately owned (Jay Cashman/Competitive Energy Services) “Permitting took years”
– When applied, town asked for time to draft wind ordinance – After ordinance in place, developer applied – Project approved, appealed, lost on appeal – Then town threw out ordinance (!) – Developer began again – Project permitted with no wind ordinance in place

• •

1,000 feet to nearest residence; neighbors bothered by noise and flicker (videos on YouTube) Now: state model ordinance, “Went from relatively easy to way too difficult”– “Many town ordinances effectively ban wind- small projects can’t be done geographically/financially

Example: 1 mile setback, no flicker at intersections

University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center

Vertical Axis Wind Turbines
• Advantages
– Generator at ground level – Braking options

• Disadvantages
– Less efficient--especially the Savonius (bucket) type – Complex vibration modes – More joints that fail – Guyed towers – Lower installed height-less wind near the ground

University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center

Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines
• Advantages
– More efficient (especially with pitch control and variable speed – More economic due to less material needed per delivered unit of energy. – Simpler designs--fewer failure modes.

• Disadvantages
– Installation of rotor-tough! – Climbing for repairs--tiring! – Turning into the wind--yaw drives and gyroscopic forces – Gravitational loads lead to fatigue

University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center

What Works?
• Vertical vs. Horizontal
– Horizontal is more economical--general result of intense competition of the 1980s. – Higher failure rates for vertical axis machines due to greater complexity

• Roof-mounting vs. Tower mounting:
– Tower is much more effective: results of the recent UK “Warwick Wind Trials” – Major problem: turbulence from roofs lower aerodynamic efficiency, vibration from turbines bothers occupants, loads from the turbines stress building structures.

University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center

The UK Warwick Wind Trials
(www.warwickwindtrials.org.uk/2.html)

• 23 HAWT roof mounted wind turbines, Oct. 2007 • Wind resource on most urban roof tops is very small due to surrounding “clutter” • High-rise buildings in exposed locations may have a viable wind resource • Energy production in this study was trivially small
– High turbulence – Extremely low capacity factor: ~ 4%

• The key issue with roof-mounted wind turbines is usually wind resource, not technology!
– There is no technology “silver bullet” for a low wind resource