State environmental officials were wise to take a fresh look at wind turbine noise after finding that the decibel levels in a Falmouth home located near a wind project were excessive. That turbine was an older model, located unusually close to the home. Thus, it’s unlikely that the state will find widespread problems at other wind-power sites — but it owes families who live near turbines a responsibility of due diligence. Environmental Protection Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell should follow through on his plan to require turbine manufacturers to provide noise data, and for the state to use computer models to determine decibel levels at homes near proposed sites.
Placing turbines on publicly owned land across Massachusetts is, in general, a wise idea: A reliable, renewable source of electricity can help offset price swings for fossil-fuel-generated power, and the availability of public land provides more locations where wind-power firms can set up equipment. But in seeking to overcome neighborhood opposition to some of these projects, the state must be sure that the turbines will produce no more noise than other sources of energy, at levels compatible with suburban living.