Library filed under Noise
A legislative panel has deferred action on a proposal that could have significant impacts on the future of ridgeline wind energy in Vermont.
The purpose of this paper is to explain and evaluate the metric by which the community response to wind turbine noise is gauged and the limits appropriate to that response function. Chapter II deals with selection of the metric, and Chapter III presents the data and methods used to establish criteria and a criterion, based on the metric selected. The abstract of the paper is provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Permit enforcement is a concern raised at nearly every public hearing for renewable energy projects. People want the government to protect them if and when a company violates the terms of its operating permit. It's hard to trust that the government will do that when so much of the monitoring process is in the hands of the company being monitored or its agents.
The DPS requested that the board “reject the proposed sound monitoring protocol and require Deerfield Wind to submit a revised protocol” that includes the department’s suggested changes. The department’s stance was echoed by the Wind Action Group and Thomas Shea, who owns property in Searsburg and is an intervenor in the project permit process.
This important study has identified flaws in the current compliance testing for wind turbine noise and further outlined the methods necessary for identifying and measuring the low-frequency, pulsation that isoften times reported by those impacted by the turbines. Specifically, the "presence of amplitude modulation in the low frequency region, that modulates at an infrasound rate, at or near the threshold of hearing" has been identified and may support the symptoms reported by Dr. Nina Pierpont in her work, Wind Turbine Syndrome. The introduction and conclusion of the paper is provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
It was the humming sound of a wind turbine at 750 metres which certainly stood out to the hundreds of people who turned up at the information meetings both at Gneeveguilla and Ballydesmond.
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.