For the first time since the state began promoting wind power, environmental officials have recommended shutting down a wind turbine because of elevated noise levels that they described as unacceptable to local residents.
The state Department of Environmental Protection, in a long-awaited response to Falmouth residents’ complaints about noise from two turbines, released a report Tuesday finding that one turbine less than 1,500 feet from the nearest home repeatedly exceeded allowable noise levels.
The findings give ammunition to increasingly vocal opponents of wind power, who have sought to slow the Patrick administration’s efforts to produce 2,000 megawatts of wind power – three-quarters of it from offshore sources – by 2020, up from about 45 megawatts available today. The Falmouth turbines produce a total of 3 megawatts of power.
“Obviously, we take these findings extremely seriously,’’ said Kenneth Kimmell, the state environmental protection commissioner. “But I don’t think we should jump to conclusions that the experience here can be generalized to other locations.’’
He said numerous other turbines operate in similar proximity to residential areas, such as those in Fairhaven, Hull, and Kingston. Residents in those areas have also fought vigorously to shut down turbines in their communities.