Editor's note: The conclusion of Philip Dickinson's paper is provided below. His full paper can be accessed by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.
The whole concept on which the New Zealand draft standard on wind farm sound is based, and that of most other similar standards across the world, would appear to be scientific nonsense. One can only come to the conclusion that the concept is mainly a business promotion and public relations ex-ercise, which has been devised to appear to be taking into consideration the health and welfare of local residents but is designed to get the most out of the investment for the cheapest outlay without causing the community to take serious legal action against the developer and territorial authority.
In New Zealand, and many other parts of the world where population density is very low and large areas of land uninhabited, one must question the need for any wind turbine noise to intrude on local communities. Clearly wind farms are one answer to the energy crisis, although it is believed their working life is only about 20 years, 90% of which may be taken up in recouping the installation costs, and their efficiency leaves much to be desired.
One easy solution for solving the noise problem is a ruling that no wind farm sound emission shall exceed 30 dB (LAeq,10mins) at any residence, nor exceed 20 dB (LAeq,10mins) in total in the frequency bands 31.5 to 125 Hz. A very simple way of achieving this, and of eliminating the need for any further involvement by the territorial authority, would be to make a ruling that no wind farm shall be situated less than say 10 kilometres away from any residence unless the occupant agrees in writing for this condition to be waived.