Impact on People and Australia / New Zealand
The University of Ballarat has begun investigating noise levels near Waubra Wind Farm, with residents claiming low frequency turbine sound is affecting their health.
Some say they have experienced headaches, nausea and sleep deprivation since the turbines began operating.
The tests will be done at various locations
Some residents of Auckland, New Zealand, have been complaining about a mysterious and uninterrupted hum haunting the country's largest city.
The low-frequency noise is audible only to a small number of people. But for some, it is so bothersome that they have put their homes up for sale or have started taking anti-anxiety medication.
Editor's Note: To listen to the 'Auckland Hum', visit NPR's website via the link provided below.
"There wasn't much evidence around but I was struck by the countryside. The more we drove around on inspection the more convinced I was the turbines would have an impact.
"I went past some time later when they were under construction and I was absolutely horrified to see the towers going up. They didn't have their nacelles (hubs) or blades on at that stage but I thought ‘what have I done to these people.'"
A recent report published by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has said large wind farms such as proposed here are not the way forward for New Zealand, the significant adverse impacts are avoidable by harnessing wind power using smaller clusters of small turbines servicing remote towns, and this will be better for the country. Unfortunately this report was published just after our hearing was completed.
In a world obsessed with climate change, Humphrey Price-Jones believes wind turbines have become the crucifix of a new religion, a towering, unmistakable symbol of good intent. They feature in almost every glossy brochure and television commercial promoting clean energy ...But as wind turbines continue to grow in size and spread like triffids across the nation, turbulence is building.
For four years, a handful of farmers in the district hid a secret that not even a weekly drinks session or years of friendship could drag out.
They had covertly opened up their farm gate to wind farm developers, lured by the cash offer of $15,000 for every wind turbine dug into their property - unbeknownst to the mate across the barbed wire fence whose hand they shook most days.
Reports that a fledgling wind farm near Wellington generated 20 noise complaints last week comes as no surprise to opponents of the proposed Te Uku wind farm. ...noise from the wind farm has been described by nearby residents as a low frequency hum, with an occasional "whump".
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Wellington City Council released the results of the submissions on Meridian's proposed industrial wind installation that is bitterly opposed by almost all of the 100 or so residents of the small community to the west of Wellington.
Of about 780 submissions received by the council, 410 were against, 380 for and there were five neutral submissions on the proposed wind farm. ...
"The residents of Wellington are not silly and are waking up to the real effects of industrial wind turbines too close to homes, and the potential for more to follow. Questions are also being asked about whether these huge investments are actually as economic or as green as they are made out to be to the general public."
Through the strange workings of state environmental policy, the drinking water which Sydney takes from the sea is directly connected to the industrial machines that keep Ruth Corrigan and her husband Roderick awake in their country cottage 180 kilometres away.
The pair, both in their late 60s, live next to the Capital Wind Farm at Bungendore with its 67 huge turbines.
TrustPower was yesterday accused of trying to bribe Kaiwera residents opposed to its multi million-dollar wind farm.
Residents did not hold back as they voiced their opposition to the project and criticism of the way the company has treated them.
Allan Woodrow, who farms next to the wind farm site, said the first he learned about the proposal was at a public meeting.
At the meeting a former senior TrustPower employee "told me, if I don't like it, sell up and move on", Mr Woodrow said. ...Leanne Heaps, who would see 29 turbines and 10 blade tips from her home, said TrustPower had failed to offer any real compensation.
"(It had) only made some very insulting and miserable offers, always with the bribe that you would have to remove your objection." If the wind farm was for the good of the nation then why was it at the bottom of the South Island and not where the majority of the nation lived, Mrs Heaps said.
When Smeaton residents learnt in March 2007 of a plan to put up 15 wind turbines in the district, a line in the dirt was drawn.
For the next three years, many friends became foes as the issue split the town in two.
A wind-farm protest group, Spa Country Landscape Guardians, was formed and threatened legal action against any landholders taking up Wind Power's offer to put up turbines.
Maori have attacked plans for more wind turbines in the Tararua Ranges, saying turbines are weakening the mauri (life force) and mana of the hill tops.
He Kupenga Hao i te Reo (Inc) secretary Ian Christensen objected to the proposed Motorimu Wind Farm at the resource consent hearing in Palmerston North yesterday. It proposes 127 turbines for the hills behind Tokomaru and Linton.
He told the three commissioners that the Tararua ridge line had enough turbines and "further desecration of the ridgeline" with more would weaken mauri to a point where the "wellbeing of people would be in jeopardy".
"Manawatu has been desecrated by the pollution of human beings. We urge that the whole of the mountain range not be desecrated as well," he said.
Neighbours of Windflow Technology's prototype turbine on Gebbies Pass have begun complaining about its noise again.
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A humming noise from a wind farm near Wellington is driving sleep-deprived locals potty. "It's been horrific, it's noise torture," Makara resident Hans Renner said. "We just want some sleep, I don't think that's an unreasonable request." Haydon Miller said Meridian had promised the wind farm would not be noisy. "Either they misled us, or they got it terribly wrong."
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Wind turbines can have distressing noise effects that can degrade health and lifestyles, a resource consent hearing was told yesterday.
Tararua Aokautere Guardians called a number of witnesses to support its submission against the proposed 127 turbine Motorimu Wind Farm planned for the Tararua Ranges behind Linton and Tokomaru.
Sound energy expert David Bennett said there is "extensive evidence, both internationally and within New Zealand," that wind turbines can have distressing noise effects which can degrade health and lifestyles, and hence property values".
If Motorimu proceeded as planned, Kahuterawa Valley would be particularly affected, while Linton-Tokomaru area residents would also be affected, particularly in easterly winds and conditions of temperature inversion.
Dr Bennett and noise expert Richard Thorne both criticised the recognised noise Standard for wind farms, NZS6808.
Dr Bennett said the standard's deficiencies contributed to division between developers who say they meet the standards and residents who feel noise distress.
Mr Thorne said noise research showed 10 percent of exposed people were "highly annoyed" by traffic noise at 60dBA, while the same degree of annoyance occurred at 36dBA for wind turbine noise.
A federal government health body has dismissed claims that low-frequency noise from turbines causes health problems in people who live near wind farms.
A review of published scientific literature by the National Health and Medical Research Council found that wind farms caused no direct pathological effects.
One-time wind farm advocate Donald Thomas now believes turbines are affecting the health of those who live or work in the area. Picture: van der Klooster
The noise of turbines could carry all the way to Clunes if the Waubra South wind farm extension goes ahead, Evansford resident Donald Thomas says.
Mr Thomas joined about 60 wind farm opponents at a meeting at Evansford Community Centre last week to draw attention to the health issues they say the turbines create.
Meridian Energy's new wind farm near Wellington will be switched on officially today, but is already generating noise complaints from nearby residents.
"It's kind of a humming sound, not a swish-swish or a thump-thump," Makara resident Deb Compton said.
The 62-turbine West Wind project has been taking shape southwest of Makara township since September 2007.
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The couple received a letter last month informing them that the NSW Land and Environment Court had ruled that Epuron be required to purchase their property for its pre-turbine price due to the large, adverse affect of the turbines on their property.
The couple can choose to stay but they would have to accept the subsequent plunge in property value and put up with any noise or health complaints caused by the turbines.
Proposed wind farm will set an "alarming" precedent if allowed to go ahead as planned.