Noise Control Engineering, LLC (NCE) was retained by Senie & Associates P.C. to evaluate the acoustic impact at the home of Neil and Betsy Andersen at 211 Blacksmith Shop Road, East Falmouth, Massachusetts. The goal of the evaluation was to determine if the three nearby wind turbines were detectable within the interior of the home. These wind turbines are all Vestas, model V82 at 1.65 megawatts. Two wind turbines are owned by the Town of Falmouth; known as “Wind #1” and “Wind #2”. The third turbine is privately owned by Notus Clean Energy and referred to as the “Notus” turbine. Wind #1 is the closest to the Andersen home at a nominal distance of 1,385 feet. The other two wind turbines are more than double that distance.
Soon after the first wind turbine was operational, complaints were filed by the Andersens and other neighbors. In the following years, evaluations of audible sound were performed by various organizations including NCE, consultants for the Town, consultants for Notus, and even the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MADEP). Various results were reported with some evaluations showing compliance and some showing non-compliance. The study reported herein differed in a number of ways from previous evaluations performed by NCE and others. The major difference is that the primary measurements reported here is infrasound. Briefly, infrasound is sound pressure levels with frequency below 20 hertz which is generally considered an inaudible frequency range. Another difference is that measurements were taken both inside and outside the home. All previous tests were performed at exterior locations due to the fact that State regulations and local ordinance were only applicable at outdoor locations.
The methods used herein allowed for the collection of infrasonic sound pressure levels within the inside of the Andersen residence. Inspection of this data shows that there is a readily identifiable acoustic signature that is attributable to the Wind #1 Turbine, and to slightly lessor extent the Wind #2 turbine both inside and outside the Andersen home. These results are similar to results from other international researchers with references given in the report. Based on our experience, NCE can unequivocally state that the infrasonic signature captured inside the Andersen residence with the wind turbines operational is 100% attributable to one or both of the Town’s Wind Turbines. To put the conclusions more commonly, this study finds that the wind turbine(s) produce acoustic emissions which are “acoustically trespassing” into the Andersen home.
The methods used herein allowed for the collection of infrasonic sound pressure levels within the inside of the Andersen residence. As shown in Figure 6, there is a readily identifiable acoustic signature that can be definitively attributable to Wind #1 and possibly Wind #2 located outside the Andersen home. To NCE’s knowledge, this is the first time such measurements have been performed and reported with respect to the Falmouth wind turbines. However, this is not the first time such measurements have been performed, and other researchers have collected low frequency infrasonic acoustic signatures at other wind turbine sites in Wisconsin and Australia (references 11, 12). As reported in these other studies, the same blade passage rate infrasound and harmonic shown inside the Andersen home have been identified.
Given NCE’s signature analysis and the dramatic change in this acoustic signature when the wind turbine(s) are shut down, NCE can unequivocally state that the infrasonic signature captured inside the Andersen residence is 100% attributable to either one or both of the Town of Falmouth Wind Turbines. To put the conclusions more commonly, this study finds that the wind turbine(s) produce acoustic emissions which are “acoustically trespassing” into the Andersen home.