The formal noise complaints have begun at Lowell Mountain, Vermont, even before the project is fully online. Thirty-two neighbors filed a complaint with the state Public Service Department after two days of troublesome noise this week from ten of the eventual 21 turbines. Low clouds may have contributed to the noise levels, which woke several people in the early morning hours of November 3, and continued through that day and the next.
About half of the people who signed the letter live within a mile and a quarter of the turbines (6 within a mile, 9 more within a mile and a quarter), with most of the rest between two and three and a half miles away (7 heard it from over 3 miles). Many noted that the noise was clearly audible inside their homes.
The Lowell Mountain project has been contentious from the start, with mountain preservation activists blocking construction at times. During construction, blast debris from the site crossed property lines of some neighbors, leading to a legal back-and-forth in which land owners were temporarily prevented from being on those parts of their property (where some individuals set up tents in an effort to block the blasting). Kingdom Community Wind, the developer, was pleased that no one lived within a half mile, and few within a mile (see map to right; blue ring is half-mile), and confidentlyquoted a DOE statement that at just over 1000 feet, the turbines would be no louder than “a quiet bedroom.” And though the project is popular among many in the region, it appears that we are about to be hearing from another community where turbine noise causes more widespread push-back from those living nearby than the reassuring assumptions would suggest.