Thursday November 8, 2012

LOWELL (AP) -- Thirty-three northern Vermont residents who live near a newly constructed wind-power project on Lowell Mountain are complaining to the state about what they're calling the "horrendous noise" produced by the turbines that are already in operation.

Don Nelson said he and his wife, Shirley, could have gotten more signatures on the letter they sent to the Public Service Department.

"We could have gotten a hundred signatures," said Don Nelson who lives on the eastern side of Lowell Mountain and has been a vocal critic of Green Mountain Power's plan for the 21-turbine installation now nearing completion. "I never heard anything like it. It sounded like a big jet engine landing at an airport and it didn't stop until Sunday night."

GMP says 15 of the 21 turbines are in operation and generating electricity. The rest are scheduled to be working by the end of the year. GMP's permit requires that noise from the turbines not exceed 45 decibels outside homes.

Once construction on the project is complete, the utility will be required to conduct routine, periodic noise monitoring at several nearby residences, but that has not started yet.

GMP spokeswoman Dotty Schnure said the utility had received one complaint related to the weekend noise. She said the utility was seeking to investigate, as required by its permit from the Public Service Board.

"If people have a complaint they should contact us," she said. "If there's an issue, we will address it.


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The 33 signatures on the letter are from 17 households near the project, all on its eastern side in Lowell and Albany.

"It sounded like a jet engine," said Barbara Stone, who about 2 1/2 miles from the mountain. It wasn't as bad inside, but "it was obnoxious to have an unwanted sound in your house."

In the letter, the Nelsons said the noticed the noise from about 6 a.m. Saturday until about 5 p.m. Sunday.