Archive for the ‘Acoustics’ Category

Wind farm noise report ‘parallels VW scandal’, claims Member of Parliament in Great Britain

October 26, 2015

Wind farm noise report ‘parallels VW scandal’, MP claims

A new report co-authored in the Westcountry exposes “two decades of deception” from the wind industry about the effect of turbines on health of near neighbours, an MP claimed.

The Independent Noise Working Group (INWG) has used its study to call for an overhaul of the way wind farms noise is measured.

The findings were presented to Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom last week in a bid to persuade the Government to introduce new standards.

Noise campaigners believe the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is now receptive to changing the existing method by which councils assess wind farms – the ETSU-R-97, which was created in 1996.

Conservative MP for Daventry Chris Heaton-Harris claims the new report draws “parallels with the Volkswagen emission scandal” where vehicles were rigged to conceal the harmful pollutants they emitted.

The Institute of Acoustics (IoA) – instrumental in developing the noise measurement policy – dismissed it served vested interests and “strongly refuted the allegations”.

One of the report’s authors, Mike Hulme – who has for ten years fought plans for nine 120m (390ft) masts at Den Brook in Devon – said a group of highly qualified acousticisans and sleep specialists had contributed to the document.

He says the true effect of amplitude modulation – where “swishing” sounds turn to a “thumping”, often at night – was being miss-calculated by a “massive amount”.

In some cases claims of five decibel (db) noise had been detected as high as 15db, he added, huge in sound terms.

“We have showed with direct testing using real world data from wind farms that neighbours are not being protected,” added Mr Hulme.

“It shows what we have been saying for years – the means of controlling wind farms is seriously flawed and the Government has been wrongly advised.”

In a joint announcement with the INWG, the group’s “political sponsor” MP Mr Heaton Harris said the report showed “how a small group of wind industry funded acousticians have taken control of the Institute of Acoustics (IoA) and its noise working groups”.

“This façade of respectability afforded by the IoA has enabled the wind industry to dominate government noise assessment policy and planning guidance by providing inaccurate and misleading scientific advice,” the MP added.

“The parallels with the Volkswagen emission scandal are quite remarkable.”

The INWG suggest these two decades of deception are now resulting in serious annoyance and far reaching risks to the health and wellbeing of large numbers of people living in the proximity of wind farms.”

The IoA said the accusations are “completely without any basis” and said parallels with the VW emissions scandal was “an appalling slur on the professionalism and integrity of our members”.

It said the Good Practice Guide for the application of ETSU-R-97 was drawn up after “a lengthy and wide-ranging consultation” during which opinions were sought from all quarters, before “recommendations were later fully endorsed by the Government”.

A spokesman added: Throughout the whole process and the subsequent drawing up of guide’s supplementary guidance notes our whole approach and that of the members involved has been based on science and best practice, and we would strongly challenge the INWG to substantiate its claims that this has resulted in the advice given to the Government being ‘inaccurate’ and ‘misleading.”

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Excellent analysis of why a public policy response is needed for enforcing wind turbine noise standards: from a former Lt. Gov. of Vermont, Brian Dubie

October 7, 2015

Wind Turbine Noise: What you can’t hear can harm you.
by BRIAN DUBIE on October 6, 2015 at 9:33pm

Wind Turbine Noise: What you can’t hear can harm you.

What do you think of when you think of an industrial wind project? Wind developers want you to think of free, green electricity. People who live near industrial wind turbines think of noise. Let’s see why.

An Industrial Wind project in Swanton proposes to install seven 499-foot tall wind turbines along 6,000 feet of Rocky Ridge (elevation 323 feet). We recently learned that the developer of this proposed project plans to use Chinese made, Gold Wind 2.5mw turbines. The Chinese manufacturer Gold Wind http://www.goldwindamerica.comdoes not even list the noise rating of this turbines. Hiding a noise rating from the public is bad omen for proper siting for an industrial wind turbine. Let’s assume that the developer will use a GE 2.75-120 Wind Turbine. At 475 feet, it is slightly smaller than the developer’s Swanton turbines. GE says a single one of their 475-foot monsters can produce 106 dBA of noise. Scaling up to seven turbines would increase that noise to 109 dBA. (Noise is measured as pressure on a scale that is logarithmic, so sometimes the numbers are difficult to understand, but 109 dBA is loud. For comparison, my chain saw is rated at 109 dBA. I wear ear protection when I use it.)

So, when you think of industrial wind turbines on a ridge line, envision an airport with a line of airplanes that are holding for take-off. The airplanes are powered by chainsaw engines that have run up their engines to full power. But, unlike planes at an airport, the turbines never take off. Now, imagine this at 2am in the morning.

Some people will say wind turbines are not that noisy. Well that depends on how far from the turbines (chainsaws) and how many turbines (chainsaws) there are. Sound attenuates over distance. The further you are from the turbines (chainsaws) the more the noise attenuates and thus the quieter the sound is. Noise attenuation is also dependent on many topographical and meteorological factors. For example if you are downwind from the turbines (chainsaws) the noise is greater. If the turbines (chainsaws) are located on high ground, the noise carries farther. (more…)

One Mile Setback From Wind Turbines! Maine Communities Are Waking Up To Turbine Noise

September 19, 2015

Examples of poorly sited wind turbines too close to neighbors like Vinalhaven and Mars Hill, Maine communities are fighting back: “The residents of Fort Fairfield asked the Town Council to develop a set of rules for wind energy development that would protect the public health, safety and welfare of the town’s citizens,” Fort Fairfield Town Manager James Risner said in a press release issued after the vote. “The Wind Energy Technical Review Committee took its duties seriously, dug deep into the matter, and delivered its recommendations to the council in the form of this ordinance.” 

“… My thought is that Augusta doesn’t care about us. The only place on the earth that cares about Fort Fairfield is Fort Fairfield.” 

Fort Fairfield passes wind ordinance with one-mile setback

By Anthony Brino, BDN Staff
Posted Sept. 18, 2015, at 11:26 a.m.
FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — After a recent moratorium and almost a decade of informal proposals for wind turbines, the Fort Fairfield Town Council approved a new wind ordinance Wednesday with a one-mile setback from nonparticipating landowners, noise abatements and viewshed protections.

Some residents cheered the action while supporters of wind power decried it as a de facto ban on development of such renewable energy projects.

“We’ve tried to impress that this [ordinance] is not pro- or anti-wind development,” said councilor John Herold, a member of the 11-person committee that wrote the ordinance. “If we don’t have this ordinance, we revert to the state standards. My thought is that Augusta doesn’t care about us. The only place on the earth that cares about Fort Fairfield is Fort Fairfield.” (more…)

Wind Power: Not Even Close to a Panacea for Energy Problems But It Sure Sucks Up A Lot Of Oxygen

September 16, 2015

CONTRIBUTORS
What New England’s foolhardy, clean energy policy looks like
The Oakfield Wind Project is now complete. A total of 48 turbines have been erected and are now producing electricity for SunEdison Inc.
By Chris O’Neil, Special to the Bangor Daily News
Posted Sept. 14, 2015, at 1:32 p.m.

Last Tuesday, Sept. 8, the New England electricity grid system operator (ISO-NE) had a terrible day. What played out Tuesday (and dozens of other days, especially in summer and winter) is a glaring example of our feel-good energy policies leading to catastrophic results. (more…)

Bangor Daily News: Vinalhaven wind turbine noise features in “Wind dealings in Legislature prove Maine democracy is an illusion”

January 13, 2015

Wind dealings in Legislature prove Maine democracy is an illusion
Bangor Daily News

By Alan Farago, Special to the BDN
Posted Jan. 13, 2015, at 10:16 a.m.

The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting recently published a damning report detailing how easily the Maine Legislature bends to the wind power industry.

In “LD 1750: A study in how special interests get their way in the Maine legislature,” Pine Tree Watchdog reporters detail how Juliet Browne, First Wind’s lawyer, sent former Senate President Justin Alfond suggested text for an amendment relating to a wind power bill. Alfond ultimately adopted all 248 words she supplied, changing nothing.

Neighbors of wind turbines on Vinalhaven have a different story and outcome to tell. In 2013, they proposed a single legislative change, to require that all Maine wind turbines conform to noise limits set by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in 2012; 42 dbA instead of the previous 45 dbA at nighttime.

After a series of public hearings by the Bureau of Environmental Protection, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection lowered wind turbine noise limits slightly. Lobbyists such as Juliet Browne, cited by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, actively opposed and testified against the minimal change. (more…)

21 peer reviewed articles on health and industrial wind turbines

January 5, 2015

Nieuwerust Noise & Bird Watch
http://www.nieuwerustnoisewatch.org/?p=917

Vermont Today: wind turbine neighbors re-settled away from turbine noise

January 3, 2015

The Therrien family outside their former Sheffield home in 2013.
Photo: John Dillon / VPR Photo
Published December 28, 2014
‘This family was out of time’: Sheffield family resettled with help
By Amy ASH Nixon
STAFF WRITER

Luann and Steve Therrien had a busier Christmas than most people this year — and maybe a better one.

After living in the shadow of the 16 industrial turbines at the Sheffield wind site near their modest year-round home, a former camp that has been in Steve’s family since the 1970s, the family has been relocated with help from supporters of the anti-wind cause to a mobile home in Derby.

Over the last three years since the turbines went online, the Therriens — the poster family for the wind movement — say they have been feeling sicker. (more…)

Bangor Daily News: DEP argues court has no say in Vinalhaven wind turbine noise level enforcement

December 10, 2014

DEP argues court has no say in Vinalhaven wind turbine noise level enforcement

By Stephen Betts, BDN Staff
Posted Dec. 09, 2014, at 1:13 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 09, 2014, at 2:01 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The Maine Department of Environmental Protection argued Tuesday that the state’s highest court has no authority to order the agency to take tougher action to reduce noise levels from wind turbines on Vinalhaven.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments Tuesday on an appeal by the DEP of a Kennebec County judge’s ruling in March that chastised Commissioner Patricia Aho for her role in responding to complaints by Vinalhaven residents about noise from the Fox Islands Electric wind turbines.

Attorney Gerald Reid, who represented the DEP, said Tuesday that state law specifically prohibits judicial review of the enforcement of a final agency rule. Instead, Reid said the wind farm neighbors should have appealed to the Board of Environmental Protection, a citizens’ panel, or filed a nuisance lawsuit against Fox Islands in court. (more…)

Michigan: next to wind turbines, one homeowner’s nightmare …

August 3, 2014

Wind Blows Good and Bad on Vinalhaven

July 23, 2014

“If these turbines can’t be run in compliance during all conditions, then they need to be turned down… We hope the Supreme (Judicial) Court decision will point in that direction. … It’s hard for people to acknowledge that a mistake was made.”

Wind blows good and bad on Vinalhaven
Five years on, a landmark project generates power and frustration

BY TUX TURKEL STAFF WRITER
tturkel@pressherald.com | @TuxTurkel | 207-791-6462
VINALHAVEN — Sally and David Wylie are having an addition built onto their island vacation home. A patio door admits views of the woods and water, but the sunny, southern exposure has no windows. That south wall is a foot thick, and stuffed with sound-deadening insulation.

“On a bad day, we can get away from it,” David Wylie said. The Wylies are creating an acoustic cocoon for their new bedroom to get away from the “whomp, whomp, whomp,” the airplane-like drone and the low-frequency resonation that they experience periodically from the three massive wind turbines that are clearly visible from their deck.

Sally and David Wylie of Vinalhaven are building an addition to their home with sound-deadening walls to escape the “whomp, whomp, whomp” generated by turbines at the Fox Islands Wind Project.

“We moved out here for the peace and quiet,” Sally Wylie said. “We didn’t want any of this and we’re very sad.”

Five years ago this November, the residents of Vinalhaven and North Haven became part of an alternative energy experiment that drew national attention. Burdened by high electric rates, they erected New England’s largest coastal wind project, a proud achievement for a small island community, 12 miles out to sea from Rockland.

Today, the Fox Islands Wind Project is the tallest structure in Penobscot Bay. Standing higher than a football field is long, 388 feet from ground to blade tip, the turbines are visible from miles away.

For people who glimpse them on the horizon, for passengers on the ferry between Rockland and Vinalhaven, for neighbors who live in their shadows, the turbines have become a powerful symbol.

But a symbol of what? (more…)