All’s not quiet on the western ridgeline.

By now, most folks in the area know that 23 lawsuits were filed in federal court on behalf of 38 area residents against the Pinnacle wind plant above Keyser, WV.  The locals cite mental and physical health problems related to the noise generated by the operation of massive turbines.

Apparently having mastered the dark art of spirit possession and entered the minds of these citizens, Charley Parnell, VP of Public Affairs for project owner Edison Mission Energy declared that “Pinnacle strongly denies the allegations being made against its wind energy project.”  Really?  You can somehow tell they’re just kidding about how their lives are impacted by the turbines?

Making a point in the same article which may have helped Mr. Parnell feel a little better but likely provided little solace to the Keyser residents mentioned in the lawsuit, the Edison representative stated that he “wasn’t aware of any other complaints about noise causing health issues at any of the other wind farms that Edison owns.”  Apple … meet orange!

Mr. Parnell did note that Edison worked with the Japanese company which manufactured the Pinnacle turbines which, by the way, sit high above the ridgeline of the Allegheny Front on tower sections made in Mexico, to develop louvers intended to minimize noise concerns raised by other distraught citizens a year or so ago.

In the Cumberland Maryland Times-News article Mr. Parnell also stated that, “By all accounts they (louvers) had a dramatic impact on the noise of the wind turbines.”  Perhaps “by some accounts” might be a more apt assessment of the “dramatic impact” based on the fact that 38 nearby residents are today very unhappy with the results.

In any case, it appears Edison Mission Energy is implying that the current lawsuit is frivolous, at least in part, due to the louvers.  And from that, one might also be led to believe that the louvers, which were were installed as resolution to noise complaints raised by members of the Braithwaite family over a year ago, satisfied their concerns.  We do know that even after a disappointing decision from the WV PSC regarding the Braithwaite’s formal request for assistance in resolving the noise problem, the complaints against Edison and Pinnacle seemed to cease.

It seems to me that Edison’s claim of louvers as resolution adds an interesting twist to the discussion.  If the louvers did, in fact, reduce the sound enough to satisfy the discouraged homeowners who complained so forcefully last year, why are the turbines still too noisy for the current crop of complainers?  And if it wasn’t the louvers which resolved the severe noise problem of last year, what exactly was the remedy?

What am I missing?

By the way, the statement in the lawsuit that Mission Wind and Pinnacle Wind were not part of the EME Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing seems confirmed by this statement from the paper’s December 20, 2012 edition:  “EME’s wind energy projects are not part of the chapter 11 filing,” said (EME Spokesman Douglas) McFarland. “They remain a part of EME but do not rely on funding from EME and operations are not affected — in fact, operations at all of our energy generation sites are ongoing as normal and as provided for under the typical chapter 11 process.

This entry was posted in Allegheny Mountains, Edison Mission Group, Pinnacle Wind Farm, Pinnacle Wind Force LLC, wind turbine noise and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to All’s not quiet on the western ridgeline.

  1. Susan Bye-Walsh says:

    Nobady mentions that the quality of life and loss of property values is suffered by all within many miles of these monsters…30 to 50 stories tall!…rotating…flashing red lights…sun flicker for hours every day AND Noise.

  2. frankohara says:

    Not listed in the electronic version, the following statements were made in the Times-News printed edition: “Parnell indicated that he wasn’t aware of any other complaints about noise causing health issues at any other wind farms that Edison owns.” – Source: Monday, Sept 23, 2013, Cumberland Times News, pg. 3A.

    This is another EME project. You can see the history, and follow how the community has reacted to prevent future issues.

    This occurred with the Big Sky Project. Edison Mission Offers to Settle Complaints in Bureau Co Thursday, March 31, 2011

    Big Sky representative, Charley Parnell said the letter and confidentiality agreement are intended to jumpstart settlement discussions. He said most of the complaints his firm has received have come from Bureau County, but a few have come from Lee County. Parnell said his company has received many more complaints about this wind farm than it has about others around the country. “The vast majority of our complaints have to do with TV reception. This is our first experience on that front,” he said.

    “Companies put up their turbines with the approval of county governments, making many promises that they will not bother neighbors,” he (Mark Wagner, a supporter of greater wind farm regulations in Lee County) said. “They say the problems won’t happen, and then they do,” he said. “They don’t remediate the problems because you have to physically move the turbines; they won’t do that. They will pay you off and keep you quiet. That’s the pattern we’re seeing.”

    Parnell said his company is following Bureau County’s ordinance on wind farms. “We have to mitigate the issues. We’re working through a process to mitigate the complaints and concerns,” he said. The Big Sky wind farm has 58 turbines in Lee County and 56 in Bureau County. It covers 13,000 acres. Another company, Chicago-based Midwest Wind Energy, is planning the Walnut Ridge wind farm, which would be next to Big Sky’s in Bureau County.

    Deb Anderson of Ohio told the Bureau County Board on Tuesday that in the 5 months since the Big Sky wind farm activated, she has had problems with her television reception, shadow flicker and noise. “Nothing has changed,” Anderson said. “As of today, none of the issues have been resolved.”

    The other 10 said they wanted an ordinance with stricter regulations. They pushed for a decibel limit on turbines, and they opposed the 1,400-foot setback. They want a 2,000-foot setback from property lines, instead of home foundations. Lee Co Panel Endorses Sound Studies, Requires Compliance With State Regs

    Friday, January 6, 2012 at 10:34AM

    A panel of the Lee County Board endorsed a proposal this week to require wind developers to conduct sound studies before and after a wind project is built, but stopped short of setting noise requirements more restrictive than those set in state noise regulations. The move is commendable because it shows that the Board is requiring wind developers to prove that their sound impacts are within reasonable limits, but does not single-out wind energy with sound requirements that no other industry or land use has to follow.

    Click to access 041013_ZBA.pdf

  3. Pingback: “by all accounts” … well, sorta | Allegheny Treasures

  4. Pingback: Chalk up another lawsuit for WV wind plant. | Allegheny Treasures

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