How loud is too loud? Complaints regarding wind turbine noise, the Navy Invests in Solar Power Upgrades, and light up your tree with LED’s this holiday season.
How loud is too loud? Complaints Regarding Wind Turbine Noise
The installation of clean energy is often greeted with great enthusiasm- cheaper energy bills and environmental benefits simultaneously. However, many wind farms are drawing complaints regarding the noise generated by the turbines. General Electric (GE) published a report last week to address this concern and determine just how loud a turbine is in comparison to other household noise polluters. According to their results, from 300 meters away (the equivalent of approximately three football fields), a turbine will sound similar to an air conditioner or refrigerator. This ranges between 40 to 50 decibels. From 500 meters, a considerable distance, the noise emitted drops to 38 decibels, even below the typical level of background noise for a populated area. However, experts claim it is not the volume of the sound, but rather the quality of the noise. The constant “whoosh” of propeller blades disturbs some residents more than others. Many residents say they are angry because they were misled by developers who downplayed the noise level and sound quality. However, there are residents who remain unfazed by neighboring wind farms; for those that are bothered, for now there is no solution besides adjusting to the constant drone of an air conditioner-like sound generating clean energy.
Navy Invests in Solar Power Upgrades
The U.S. Navy’s Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast plans to secure funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to upgrade 32 buildings across three states to make them more energy efficient. The $69.3 million awarded by the ARRA will be spent installing solar energy systems for the buildings in Florida, Mississippi, and Texas. The project will also increase employment for the area as panels are constructed and installed on rooftops. The solar energy systems are expected to produce 9,399-megawatt hours of renewable energy in the first year and save the Navy almost $900,000 annually. The buildings were selected for upgrade by Atlantic Contingency Constructors, whose recommendations were reviewed by the Navy. The project, once completed, will bring the Navy closer to meeting its goal of 50 percent renewable on-shore energy by the next decade.
Light up the Tree with LEDs this Holiday Season
The holidays are just around the corner and already supermarkets and retail shops nationwide have begun their annual Christmas marketing. As families across the nation fill up on turkey and begin putting up Christmas trees and decorating homes with festive lights, Dominion Virginia Power, the state’s energy company, encourages consumers to use LED holiday bulbs. According to their website, the cost of lighting the tree can be less than 20 cents for the season; additionally, LEDs use 98 percent less electricity, reducing the carbon footprint. An online energy calculator is available on Dominion’s website for savvy lighters to encourage them to make the switch from incandescent to LED. One of Richmond, Va.’s largest holiday light displays, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Dominion GardenFest of Lights is going to use 23 miles of LED strands for its extravagant light presentation. Brighten up this holiday season with energy efficient, environmentally friendly décor and reduce carbon emissions while saving money!
Cape Wind Partners with National Grid in Massachusetts
Massachusetts’ utility regulators approved a 15-year energy contract between the nation’s first offshore wind farm, Cape Wind, and the utility National Grid. The deal states that National Grid will purchase half of Cape Wind’s power beginning 2013 at the starting price of 18.7 cents per kilowatt hour. This is double today’s price and those who oppose the purchase plan say it will be detrimental to local businesses. However, supporters claim the contract is in the public interest because no other renewable resource in the region contends with Cape Wind in terms of size, capacity, and proximity to large electricity load. The deal will assist the utility in meeting its binding legal obligations to get 15 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020.
EPA to Delay Testing for E15
The Environmental Protection Agency is delaying its decision concerning the safety of E15 (ethanol fuel blend) for car models from 2001 to 2006. The Agency says further federal testing needs to be conducted to make sure E15 can be safely used in older vehicles. The testing will now be completed closer to the end of December rather than the previous target for November. The EPA announced last month that E15 can be used for engines as old as 2007, a decision that has been legally challenged by the food, farm, and oil industries.
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