Library filed under Noise
Under the proposed rules, noise from large turbines would be limited to 42 dBA during the day and 39 dBA at night; smaller turbines would be limited to 42 dBA. ...Developers also would have to build large wind turbines away from local residents by a distance of 10 times the height of the turbine.
In several records, staff noted that wind turbine noise exceeded regulations: ““Staff have attended at the complainants homes on multiple occasions … noise measurements were obtained…subjective observations were made by Provincial Officers…the conclusion of the POs were that the noise emissions from the wind turbines were causing an adverse effect contrary to S. 14 (1) of the EPA at the complainants locations…”
On Thursday, an obscure legislative committee will have the final say over new wind-power rules that have sent shock waves through Vermont's renewable-energy community.
A small group of residents in eastern El Paso County has spent at least $65,000 on research that they say should be enough to shut down an area wind farm.
Of the nearly 3,200 reports, 1,730 didn’t get site visit from ministry staff. Action on another 1,424 incidents was listed as deferred or planned. Only 24 public complaints on wind turbine operations between 2006 and 2014 were given priority status, according to ministry records obtained by Wind Concerns Ontario. Wilson said noise issues were the most common complaint.
This powerful document identifies and explains how the Ontario Government through its Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change dismissed, ignored, and otherwise failed to address thousands of wind turbine noise complaints in the period from 2006 to 2014. Nearly 3,200 reports of noise complaints were made during that time and in more than half the cases, the government took no action. The wind power industry was virtually self-regulating as the Ministry relied on predicted noise modeling to determine compliance rather than actual measurements. An excerpt of the report released by Wind Concerns Ontario is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
The Town Board had planned to allow a third-party firm to test the noise levels generated by the towers of the Jericho Rise Wind Farm in the area where a number of complaints have been raised. Town Supervisor Don Bilow said that the Jericho Rise’s parent company, EDP Renewables, has “stonewalled” attempts for an outside test.
Both Cindy Cobb and Sandra Wolfe from Calhan, Colo., live in the shadow of Golden-West, and blame the turbines for deteriorating health. They report dizziness, nausea, loss of sleep and headaches. They say their symptoms coincide with when the wind farm became operational in September 2015. Cobb adds lethargy and high blood pressure to the list of symptoms ...According to Wolfe, the relentless spinning causes stress and loss of sleep. She has resorted to sleeping off-site from her own property.
The injury created by continuous thrumming sound waves is hard to grasp for people who haven’t been exposed. Aggrieved neighbors have sought to establish, through monitoring, that the sound at their homes is excessive. The utilities and wind developers have been dismissive, characterizing complaining neighbors as cranks or hypochondriacs.
The final rule keeps the daytime sound level at 42 decibels, but the board changed the allowable nighttime level from 35 decibels allowed in the draft rule to 39 decibels. The board also kept a controversial setback limit of 10 times the height of the turbine, so that a 500-foot turbine would have to be at least 5,000 feet from the nearest residence.
About a year later, the board ruled in favor of Georgia Mountain Community Wind and determined that noise coming off the spinning turbine blades was not in excess of its state permit. But in that ruling the board said the McLanes and the Public Service Department could request additional testing if they could convince the board that the previous sound testing was not accurate.
VPIRG and REV have implied that the proposed rule will be the end of wind power in Vermont. In particular, VPIRG undertook a GIS study that showed that 0.2% of Vermont would be available for wind facilities due to the setbacks in the proposed rule. There are two problems with VPIRG’s analysis: its premise is wrong and the conclusion does not follow from its data.
This important paper examines the issues surrounding wind turbine noise emissions, the impact of the noise on residences nearby, and how public health professionals have failed to closely examine legitimate complaints. The abstract of the paper can be found below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Editor’s note: This commentary is Mark Whitworth, who is president of Energize Vermont, a statewide organization that supports sustainable energy development that protects our environment and respects our communities.
The board has proposed limits of 35 decibels at night and 42 decibels during the day, as measured outside neighboring homes. Most turbines today are subject to a 45-decibel sound limit outside neighboring homes and a 30-decibel limit measured inside neighbors’ homes.
City council chief executive Paddy Clifford said in his notice of review that noise from Te Rere Hau needed to be better managed and monitored. He said there were inaccuracies in evidence given about the acoustic effects of the wind turbines at the original consent hearing, with the effects turning out to be far greater than had been predicted.
The board released its draft version of the new rules in March, and the board members held four meetings this week to hear from the public and from wind and sound experts as they get ready to finalize the sound standards.
Prospective neighbors of wind turbines heard all the promises: “Quiet as a library.” “Like a baby’s breath.” “The same decibel level as a refrigerator.” The more brazen wind developers claimed “you will not hear them.” Then the four hundred and fifty foot wind towers with their bus-size nacelles and three-bladed fans were built. Sixteen in Sheffield, four on Georgia Mountain, twenty-one in Lowell. And neighbors learned the truth. Yes, you can hear them. They sound like “a jet plane that never lands,” or “sneakers in a drier,” or there is a “thump thump thump” or a “whoosh whoosh whoosh” as the blade passes the tower, causing something called amplitude modulation.
'We've become a dumping ground for wind turbines'
A request by wind farm developer Avangrid Renewables to expand the wind overlay zone was not agreed upon by the board, according to Jody Wentzel, vice chairman of the Hopkinton Wind Advisory Board. The board is also considering setting 24-hour decibel limits for the wind towers, different than what the Town of Parishville is considering. Parishville has opted for two 12-hour periods ranging from .25 to .45 decibels.