Industrial scale wind turbines are a familiar part of the landscape in Europe, U.K. and other parts of the world. In the U.S., however, similar industrial scale wind energy developments are just beginning operation. The presence of industrial wind projects will increase dramatically over the next few years given the push by the Federal and state governments to promote renewable energy sources through tax incentives and other forms of economic and political support. States and local governments in the U.S. are promoting what appear to be lenient rules for how industrial wind farms can be located in communities, which are predominantly rural and often very quiet. Studies already completed and currently in progress describe significant health effects associated with living in the vicinity of industrial grade wind turbines.
This paper reviews sound studies conducted by consultants for governments, the wind turbine owner, or the local residents for a number of sites with known health or annoyance problems. The purpose is to determine if a set of simple guidelines using dBA and dBC sound levels can serve as the ‘safe' siting guidelines. Findings of the review and recommendations for sound limits will be presented. A discussion of how the proposed limits would have affected the existing sites where people have demonstrated pathologies apparently related to wind turbine sound will also be presented.