Wind turbine sound prediction - the consequence of getting it wrong

Wind turbines are rapidly increasing in number. In this paper, the example of the province of Ontario, Canada will be used. The Global Wind Energy Council tracks the world wide installed wind turbines, showing a 10-fold increase in the 10 years from 2001 to 2011 to nearly 240,000 MW. In Ontario the wind turbine capacity has increased over one hundred-fold from about 15 MW in 2003 to about 1700 MW at the end of 2012, and anticipates to continue to more than triple the total wind capacity to 5811 MW by 2015. Health Canada has a study underway on the health effects of wind turbines that will not report before this increase in wind turbine capacity is made. This paper will look at the basis for regulation of the installed wind turbine base in Ontario and investigates consequences of the installations identified already.

The Bottom Line - People Are Impacted

To this point this report has focused on issues in the measurement of noise. It is necessary though to reconnect with the point made earlier that it is not the measurement of sound that matters in the long term, it is what is the effect on people. Through a freedom of information request, correspondence between staff in the Ministry of the Environment dated from 2009 was recently released. One MOE staff person in correspondence to another regarding wind turbines notes, "MOE Provincial Officers have attended at several of the complainants residences and have confirmed that despite the noise emissions apparently complying with the applicable standard - C of A (Air) limits, that the noise emissions are, in fact causing material discomfort to the residents in and around their homes." This by itself suggests that the standards are inadequate to protect residents. This paper has shown so far that there are many deficiencies in applying the standard. However it is necessary to leave the last word to the citizens themselves.

This section extracts from a presentation made to the Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health, and to the Municipal Council of Kincardine. The entire presentation is available on line at the link shown in the references, and only a few points from the document can be extracted here. These are the words of the actual citizens as recorded by Catharine Crawford, M. Ed. (Counseling Psychology), Psychotherapist, OACCP certified. It is a review of consequences self-reported in qualitative interviews by citizens living with the changed environment after four years of operation of the wind power development. These are the words of people living in the homes identified in the tables presented earlier.

• I began to notice pressure in my ears after being outside for any extended period of time ... we began to notice headaches, which have increased in frequency. The symptoms are more severe in the winter.

• The sound of the turbines comes through the pillow. Sleep is disrupted 50% of the time. It is a roaring freight train going through our home. Electrical issues have been noted in the home.

• The noise level is very high and sleeping is a problem. The home vibrates. One member has developed headaches, dizziness and light-headedness. The quiet county property is now completely changed by indoor and outdoor noise; sleep deprivation, flicker, and disturbing health symptoms that did not exist before.

• Jim (not real name) often sits up all night and cannot sleep. He has taken dizzy spells and is prone to falling. He has become forgetful and disorganized. When away, he sleeps like before, but on returning
home the problems recur. The complaint protocol has been of no help in resolving the issue.

• Since the turbines started up she is tired all the time, and never feels rested and relaxed. Her husband has headaches frequently now, but never had them before. Teenaged children are constantly tired and have headaches that go away when away from the home.

• She finds her body began to vibrate with the onset of the turbines, has developed ringing in the ears, loss of concentration and heart palpitations. Up two or three times a night due to sleep disruption. Son gets sharp spiking headaches.

• Noted sound increase inside and outside home. Headaches, taken to spending time in the basement for espite. Headaches leave when away from home, but developed nausea and lowered appetite. Up half the night tossing and turning, and walking around due to the noise.

• Need to have television volume up higher to mask the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. Developed ringing in ears and chest tension. Work difficulties resulted in loss of regular employment. Fears going to a doctor as he might take away driving license - tired and fall asleep at the wheel. Would lose my job and then our home.

• Sleep deprivation, headaches, and sensation in ears, pressure in head, restlessness, nausea, and motion sensitivity. All developed over time. Can no longer work. Nausea, lost weight, migraines.

• Pain in ears, toss and turn at night, sleep disturbed. Senses vibration in body when at home. Removed ability to enjoy their property.

• Flicker, noise, vibration in their bodies. Migraines, blood pressure problems. Stress. Tinnitus.

• Sleep disturbance, headaches, tinnitus, and stomach upset.

• Child tired, irritable, complains head hurts and tummy hurts. Home is a nightmare. Symptoms did not exist before turbines include headaches, dizziness, pressure in ears, sleep disruption, tingling in head and face. Increased confusion, irritability. Mental instability. Visitor taken to hospital with vertigo. Family member with stroke like symptoms,

• Flicker, electrical interference that did not exist before. Complaint protocol ineffective.

• No longer live in home - walked away. Migraines sleep disruption, vibration. Tried to sell property - no offers. Bank foreclosed - lost home.

• Vertigo, unless away from home.

Pma040066 Palmer

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JUN 1 2013
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