The Massachusetts study mirrors findings from an Oregon health impact assessment on wind power released in draft form earlier in January. Along with numerous positive impacts, it found no adverse impact at levels under the state’s noise standards but did allow that “sound from wind energy facilities in Oregon could potentially impact people’s health and well-being” when it exceeds state standards, and that “the potential impacts from wind turbine sound could range from moderate disturbances to serious annoyance, sleep disturbance and decreased quality of life.”
The Massachusetts panel, convened by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, received public comments last summer as the report was being compiled, and the draft is open for comments through March 19. But wind critics have already begun denouncing the report, popping up in news articles and taking to local newspapers to claim it was biased, incomplete, misguided or all of the above.
Massachusetts barely registers as a wind-power producer, with a mere 38 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity as of last fall. By comparison, Texas has more than 10,000 MW, and even New York has 1,349. But Massachusetts has big plans to boost that number, aiming for 2,000 MW by 2020 [PDF], although a good chunk of that is expected to be offshore.
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