CLINTON — Wind turbine “curtailment” was the key topic to lead off Monday’s hearing for the Alta Farms II wind energy project special use permit. The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) has hearings for the permit scheduled through Jan. 29.
Hearings that ran through last week and this week involved primarily representatives of Tradewind Energy answering questions from residents. Residents also will give testimony to the ZBA as hearings progress.
“Curtailment” is the term used to describe wind farm turbines being slowed during periods of severe weather. Residents directed questions to Tradewind officials about the effectiveness of curtailment.
Several of the residents questioning radar expert Geoff Blackman expressed their concerns that curtailment of turbines during storms, particularly those spawning tornadoes, would not be sufficient to allow weather radar to perform adequately. Blackman is principal consultant and founder of Westslope Consulting, which consults about radar for the government and the wind energy industry. He also testified during hearings last week.
Residents asking questions also were concerned that the timing of curtailment as it pertains to National Weather Service (NWS) severe storm warnings would not be effective. They felt curtailment would be initiated too late to allow Dopplar weather radar to have an unobstructed view of the area.