Library filed under Noise
Residents say the wind turbines atop Mars Hill Mountain are making noise and they want it fixed, but town officials aren’t sure whether anyone can do anything about it. More than 40 residents who live around the mountain crammed into the town office Monday night during the Mars Hill Town Council meeting to register concerns about the Mars Hill Wind Farm. Town councilors spent almost two hours trying to answer the crowd’s questions, but said the issue cannot be fully addressed until a sound analysis is done showing whether the noise exceeds Department of Environmental Protection regulations. Everyone agrees that, since the project’s beginning, people were told there would be no noise. But since mid-December, town and company officials and the Department of Environmental Protection have been fielding noise complaints.
From Barton, Vermont, to the German border with Denmark and from the shores of Lake Huron, to the Romney Marches of southern England, wind power advocates are fighting crosswinds from local residents. In Barton in mid-January, a referendum overwhelmingly rejected the wind power turbines that were planned near this upper Vermont community. ...In Germany, where one-third of the world's current wind power is generated, doubters have provoked a loud debate. The company that owns the grid that includes nearly half the wind-farms in Germany reported its wind farms generated only 11 percent of their capacity. The company said the winds vary so much the wind farm had to be backed 80 percent by the conventional power grid.
Wendy and Perrin Todd knew what would happen to their view of Mars Hill Mountain when crews starting erecting wind towers near their backyard. They braced themselves when their home, newly built on the north side of the mountain, shook because of the blasting. But what shocked them — and what they said this week they should not be expected to live with — is the noise. “They turned on tower Number 9, and almost immediately it made enough noise that it was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that can’t be right,’” Wendy Todd said. “It all depends on the wind speed and direction, but the best way to describe it is you step outside and look up thinking there’s an airplane. It’s like a high-range jet, high-low roar, but with the windmills, there’s a sort of on and off ‘phfoop … phfoop … phfoop’ noise.”
It seems few in this town of about 1,500 people can agree on UPC Wind Management’s newly completed $85 million project, which makes the unassuming potato-growing and truck-brokerage community home to New England’s largest wind farm. But there’s one thing everybody can agree on: The place sure looks different. Long before a visitor arrives at Mars Hill, the towers become visible along what used to be just another mountain. The total height from the ground to the tip of the blade is 389 feet. Each tower has three blades, which spin in winds whipping west to east toward Canada just a few miles away.
Mountain Road residents Perrin and Wendy Todd say their sleep patterns are disrupted by noise from the line of windmills that loom over their newly constructed house.
The noise made by wind turbines is the equivalent of background noise in a conference room, an engineer testified Monday night at a meeting before the McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals. Timothy Casey of HDR Engineering, Minneapolis, Minn., continued testimony began at the last meeting on his company’s noise analysis of the proposed wind turbines. His analysis was based on a wind speed of 22 mph — the wind might blow more, but the turbines are adjusted so they don’t spin faster if the wind speed is higher. He said because of a redesign of the configuration of the blades, they are quieter and don’t “thump” like older models do. Earlier, it was reported that the county requires 1,500-foot setbacks to distance turbines from homeowners. About 100 people attended one in a continuing series of four-hour meetings that continue this month. Invenergy Wind LLC of Chicago has proposed that 100 wind turbines be located on 12,200 acres in McLean and Woodford Counties. The White Oak Energy Center would be located west of Interstate 39 and north and east of Interstate 74. A total of 83 acres of farmland would ne taken out of production in the project, Invenergy has said.
An energy and environmental consultant hired by opponents of the proposed White Oak Wind Energy Center maintains Invenergy Wind LLC fails to meet several requirements for a special-use permit for the wind farm. Tom Hewson of Energy Ventures Analysis Inc., Arlington, Va., spoke to the McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals during a hearing Wednesday night. He said the proposed 100-turbine wind farm in McLean and Woodford counties would be a detriment to the public because of noise levels and visibility. Hewson said he did a “simple approach” simulation of one turbine to see how far a person had to be away from the turbine before it complied with Illinois’ noise regulations. “At 750 feet away, it exceeded the range,” he said, noting that three property owners have asked for waivers to allow a turbine in about that range. Hewson said it wasn’t until a person was 1,200 feet away from the turbine that the noise met Illinois’ requirements.
This article is a pdf file available via the link below.
Amaranth Township Council will seek to have the Canadian Hydro Developers existing transformer substation included as an issue at an Ontario Municipal Board hearing into the Melancthon II wind-turbine project. Mayor Don MacIver told township CAO Sue Stone to advise the CHD lawyers accordingly, after the council had heard a recording of noise levels near the substation, said to be as high as 65 decibels, at Wednesday’s meeting, In playing the recording, Paul Thompson, a neighbour of the substation, said there is a constant hum from the transformer — constantly at 40 dB, he said — but rising for about 10-20 seconds to as much as 65 when the CHD transmission goes back on grid after being off for a time, according to his recorded demonstration, although the under-construction sound barriers are intended to reduce it to 31 dB. Mr. Thompson said the sound reflects off a metal shed on his property. “If you listen (long) it gets in your head, and you can’t get it out,” he said.
As interest in wind energy spreads throughout the Commonwealth, it becomes clear that there is a need within the cities and towns of Massachusetts for suitable zoning by-laws that accommodate wind projects. To help address this need, the Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources and Executive Office of Environmental Affairs developed this Model Amendment to a Zoning Ordinance or By-Law to assist cities and towns in establishing reasonable standards for wind power development. The by-law is developed as a model and not intended for adoption without review by municipal counsel:
The council, without hesitation, did vote unanimously to amend the Lewisville Code of Ordinances to prohibit the use of wind turbines for the generation of electric power within the city limits of Lewisville. The council agreed that, at least until technology improves so the wind turbines will create less noise, that they will not be allowed in the city limits.
Now that the major potential stumbling block of just how much noise would be produced by three giant wind turbine installations topping out at nearly 400 feet over Beaver Ridge in Freedom lies behind them, members of the town planning board return to their deliberations this Thursday on the application by Competitive Energy Services (CES) to build the $12 million wind power project. That session, which could conclude the board’s role in the project, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the town offices.
Nimby-ism (Notin My Back) is almost understandable when talking about a gas pipeline or an ugly McMansion. But when it comes to environmentally friendly, quiet and- some say- beautiful windmills, an astonishing number of people are saying "no". Melanie Wold asks, "Why? Is it all the dead seagulls?"Editor's Note: This article appeared in the October 2006 issue of Shattered Magazine. The pdf version is available via the link below.
Be wary of individuals preaching the benefits while avoiding mention of ill effects from wind turbines. They probably are set to make a bundle off the things.
When the Siddells moved to rural Ayrshire, they hoped for a life of peace and quiet. Now, at night, they say they can’t hear the television properly because of the wind turbines that loom over their converted steading.
A Nova Scotia man and his family claim to have been left homeless after the noise from a nearby windfarm made his family home in Lower West Pubnico uninhabitable. Daniel d’Entremont says that two of the 1.8-megawatt turbines that make up the 17 turbine farm, are located just 300 metres from his home. As a result he says that his children developed disruptive behaviour and his family’s health suffered. D’Entremont’s angry that when councillors from the Municipality of Argyle, which covers Pubnico, developed their bylaw determining the location of wind turbines in relation to residential properties they came up with a 300-metre setback.
The Freedom Planning Board should revisit its decision to close the hearing and ask CES to address lingering questions about project. A few weeks’ delay is less important than ensuring the board meets its responsibility to abutting landowners and other residents of Freedom.
Some residents of Auckland, New Zealand, have been complaining about a mysterious and uninterrupted hum haunting the country's largest city. The low-frequency noise is audible only to a small number of people. But for some, it is so bothersome that they have put their homes up for sale or have started taking anti-anxiety medication. Editor's Note: To listen to the 'Auckland Hum', visit NPR's website via the link provided below.
A Nova Scotia man who abandoned his home, claiming noise from a nearby wind farm made his family sick, says a study by an audio expert proves his case, even though a report to the federal government concludes the exact opposite. Daniel d’Entremont and his family left their home in the southwestern Nova Scotia community of Lower West Pubnico last February. D’Entremont says the 17 wind turbines that tower over the community — the closest just 400 metres away — were sending low-frequency vibrations into the house. This inaudible noise, he claims, deprived his family of sleep, gave his children and wife headaches and made it impossible for them to concentrate.