Scituate: Wind turbine neighbors try to educate the community

Neighbors of the Scituate wind turbine presented an informational session to the larger community Saturday afternoon in the Scituate Country Club.

Acoustician Richard James spoke to the group via Skype from his office in Michigan. He compared the effects of the Scituate turbine to those of a similar one he studied in Wisconsin. He studied not only the audible sound, but the infrasound that affects the inner ear. He said those inaudible sounds cause disorientation and sleep deprivation. He said the long sound waves hit a house “as though it was a tsunami.”

The presenters projected a video of shadow flicker in and around the McKeever home, the home closest to the turbine. Audience members asked them to shut it off. Mark  McKeever said the video only represents the experience. He said anyone directly experiencing the strobe effect of the turbine blades turning through the sunlight do not want to live there.

Sleep disorder specialist Jeffrey Silva enumerated the ill-effects of sleep deprivation then concluded intelligent people would encourage alternate energy sources, but should take care in siting large wind turbines.

The community group had previously asked the town for a health survey, a shadow flicker study and a study of non-audible sound effects. The Scituate Board of Health has asked for bids from acoustical study companies to conduct an audible sound study only.

The neighbors have petitioned an article on the warrant of Scituate’s April 9th Town Meeting to begin the process of shutting the turbine down.

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About Charles Mathewson

Charles Mathewson worked in print journalism for more than two decades as a reporter and editor, and has won several regional and national awards. He resides in Plymouth where he writes fiction and paints, when not producing award-winning news as a reporter for WATD.