|Wind turbines a government-backed Ponzi scheme
Posted: 06 Mar 2017 08:00 AM PST
North Bay Nugget
Once turbines arrive, say goodbye to peace and quiet
I bought my home to reside, because of its semi-secluded, quiet and peaceful nature. There is a river across the road from me and wooded area that surrounds me. I enjoyed listening to the river and birds, which is about all I ever heard, until a wind farm was erected around my property. There is a never-ending, jet-like sound that rips through my property and house. There is nothing natural about the noise that comes from these turbines and they are loud! The peaceful existence I once enjoyed here has been stolen from me!
EDP Renewables and the town of Chateaugay’s Jericho Rise Wind Farm was planted too close to my house. There are four 482-foot turbines approximately 1,800 to 2,600 feet from my home. The industry standard for turbine “setbacks” from residences are ridiculously too close.
Much of the time, sound levels at the west and south side of my home is above the allowable 50 dBA which the town of Chateaugay has deemed to be acceptable and legal. The lower frequency dBC levels for sound, or infrasound, are not even taken into account. According to acoustic engineering experts, dBC sound levels have a much higher pressure rating than dBA readings. This noise is detrimental to human health and is well documented throughout the world. I am living proof. The noise inside and outside of my home is a completely menacing nuisance.
I am not a “naysayer.” I am living with these behemoths that surround my property. In fact, I have been living with wind turbines from an older wind farm approximately 3-4 miles from me for the past 6 1/2 years. About 7 months out of the year, due to leafless trees, I can see 15 of them from my front porch. They really don’t bother me. I can’t say I like them, but I can’t hear them either.
I was never an opponent of wind power. I am a science teacher of 11 years and teach about sound and alternative energies. It is in the state curriculum. I even went to an all day wind power teacher’s workshop to get a better understanding of wind energy eight years ago. The wind industry has been setting us up for a fall a long time ago.
By the way, standing directly underneath a turbine is the quietest place to listen to them. Stand back 500, 1000, 1500 feet and downwind from them, and if you still think they are not loud, then you must be deaf. If anyone would like to come to my home in Chateaugay to get a true experience of what these monsters sound like, you are welcome to visit. A town councilman from a neighboring town was here yesterday and he said, “When I first came inside, it almost sounded louder inside than outside.” Yes, it does. It’s like living inside a drum.
As far as a tax base for your community is concerned, there will be none. They will not pay any business property tax whatsoever. The wind farm company will cram a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) Program down your throat. The county, town and possibly school district will receive a pittance compared to what the wind developer receives in government subsidies. This is how they can afford to build these wind farms.
The absurdity of saying that birds will just fly around the towers is also ridiculous. Birds of prey are looking down to the ground for food, not what’s in front of them. Migratory birds are flying in excess of 40 miles per hour. They do not have the ability to just stop in mid-air and fly around.
Putting “hope and trust” in the wind company is dangerous. I have made many complaints to EDP Renewables and Chateaugay about the nuisance noise. They have been to my house once to take a sound test. It was taken on a day with 2-3 mph wind speeds, and in between my house and garage which blocks all of the south wind. The town engineer said the reading was 38.5 dBA.
Folks, it is not a far stretch from 38.5 dBA to over 50 dBA when the winds are from the west or south in excess of 12 miles per hour. I know, because I have been taking my own sound level readings since Jan. 1. The town and EDP Renewables said they would be taking multiple tests. Two days later, with no notice, town board members popped into my backyard at 9:30 a.m. with a sound meter. I wondered what they were doing here, because it was a legal holiday and again, practically no wind. They acted as though they didn’t realize I was home. They didn’t even knock on my door.
They stated they would be back. Just before they left, one town board member stated, “We wouldn’t want these in our backyard either.” I called the town supervisor later in the day and asked to be notified 24 hours in advance and that I want to be present when these tests were done. They have not been back since. It has been almost two months. I have been lied to and ignored.
During this time, I was introduced to a well credentialed acoustic engineer through a friend. He sent me data on what a proper sound test should include. I have continued to call the EDP Renewable complaint hotline. They were supposed to take more tests last week. I sent EDP Renewables operations manager, town engineer and town supervisor data from the acoustic engineer about what I would be expecting for a proper sound test. I am being ignored once again. So, if anyone thinks that the process of developing a wind farm (before, during or after) is honest and trustworthy, you really should be talking to people that are living in the middle of a wind farm.
Please, do not be fooled by any wind farm company! Also, if you are a non-participating landowner, do not sign their “Neighbor Agreement.” You will lose all your rights (on, under, over, around, etc.) as a property owner. If you have any of the problems I am experiencing right now, you will lose the ability to do or say anything to anyone about it. It is a “gag order” for a very small annual payment.
In closing, I need to say that I gain nothing by writing this. It is only to help those that may be in danger of having to live with a wind farm near their home.
Kevin Sigourney is a resident of Chateaugay, which is located in Franklin County in northern New York.
Wind turbines a government-backed Ponzi scheme
Sunday, March 5, 2017
To the editor:
All you people out there complaining about your hydro prices need to realize some important facts about the Kathleen Wynne government.
- The global adjustment charge on your hydro bill is to pay for the giant industrial wind turbines Wynne has placed all over rural Ontario.
- Wind turbines a useless technology that destroys our rural environment, ruins people’s health and poisons our drinking water aquifers.
- The only reason these turbines were erected was so Liberal insiders and their friends could get filthy rich.
- Wynne will not cancel the turbine projects or reduce the subsidies because the turbine lobbyists know where the political bodies are buried.
- Wynne has taken away the democratic rights of the people for her own financial and political gain.
- Wynne has sacrificed the health of rural citizens just so her friends can get rich.
- In a few year’s time, when it inevitably collapses, this wind turbine scam will be revealed for what it is: An enormous government-backed Ponzi scheme, founded on greed, corruption and stupidity.
West Grey, Ont
What’s on your mind?
Iowa landowners are being presented with a proposal for signing or not signing a wind turbine leasement (a combination of a lease and an easement).
We see different levels of interest – from Royal, Iowa, in Clay County where so few people would sign that the wind companies had to move on, to Palo Alto County where the wind companies have signed 100 easements. We see that half of these easements were signed by absentee landowners and at least one-fourth of them were signed by one farm manager.
Are you curious to know why so many landowners will not sign easements? I have spoken to landowners living in industrial wind energy installations from Adair to Lake Park to Webster City to Primghar. I also have heard from folks in Kansas, Missouri, Vermont and Oklahoma. While you can find people who are pleased with their experience, I have heard statements such as:
• “We had to put in soundproofing windows – it helped some.”
• “If we knew then what we know now, this (wind installation) never would have happened.”
• “We thought we were doing something good; now we just wish we had our farm back.”
There are many landowners who will not speak up publicly about the detriments they experience. Some are embarrassed because they lobbied for the wind companies to come. Some feel that they have signed a gag order, but I have been assured by lawyers that gag orders can be implied but are not legal. You are likely not supposed to speak of their designs, power output or the money you are being paid, but anything else cannot be “gagged.” Even with that information, though, it is hard to oppose a company that has control over – and under – so much of your property. It is a marriage from which you cannot get a divorce.
In wind contracts, the landowner will give up rights to file a claim against noise, vibration, turbulence and shadow flicker. These issues also can affect neighbors up to a mile away. In Ireland, seven families have won a nuisance suit against wind turbines, while in Michigan, Garden Township has just settled with turbine owners over turbine nuisance.
There are many good resources for learning about the downfalls of a wind energy easement. Iowa State University’s Center for Ag Law and Taxation has had great articles and even presentations such as the one given by Roger McEowen in Palo Alto and Clay counties in 2016. There are a series of videos that were made by the Illinois Farm Bureau as well. We have posted one of the videos on our Facebook page.
Iowa landowners such as myself have begun an organization to help educate other landowners. We are the Coalition for Rural Property Rights. Our website is coalitonforruralpropertyrights.com. We are completely grassroots and locally funded.
Europe and the US have been building onshore wind turbine plants in rural areas for more than 25 years. Anyone living within about 1.0 mile of such plants would hear the noises year-round, year after year. Those nearby people would be experiencing:
- Decreasing property values.
- Damage to their health, due to lack of sleep and peace of mind.
- Living with closed windows and doors, due to year-round noises.
- Exposure to infrasound.
The wind turbine noise problem is worldwide. Due to a lack of worldwide guidelines, various political entities have been developing their own codes for the past 30 years. The World Health Organization is finally addressing the lack of detailed guidelines regarding such noises.
World Health Organization Noise Guidelines: WHO, publishes detailed guidelines regarding various, everyday noises, such as near highways and airports, within urban communities and in work places. The guidelines serve as input to local noise codes.
In general, wind turbines are located in rural areas. When they had low rated outputs, say about 500 kW in the 1960s and 1970s, they made little audible noise, and the infrasound was weak. However, when rated outputs increased to 1000 kW or greater, the audible and infrasound noises became excessive and complaints were made by nearby people all over the world.
Worldwide guidelines regarding wind turbine noises are needed to protect nearby rural people, such as regarding:
- The maximum outdoor dBA value, how that value is arrived at, such as by averaging over one hour, where that value is measured, such as near a residence, or at the resident property line to enable that resident to continue to enjoy his entire property.
- How to measure, or calculate the outdoor-to-indoor sound attenuation of a residence.
- How much setback is needed, such as one mile to minimize infrasound impacts on nearby residents.
- The maximum dB value of infrasound, how that value is arrived at, where that value is measured.
- How to determine the need for a 5 dB annoyance penalty.
The lack of such guidelines has resulted in various political jurisdictions creating their own codes. That process has been heavily influenced by well-financed, pro-wind interests, which aim to have the least possible regulation to maximize profits.
1) DENMARK: Because Denmark was an early developer of wind turbine plants, its noise code is more detailed than of most political entities. It has a buffer zone of 4 times total height of a wind turbine, about 4 x 500 = 2,000 ft, about 0.61 km (no exceptions), and it also has the following requirements regarding outdoor and indoor noise:
- For dwellings, summer cottages, etc.: 39 dBA (wind speeds of 8 m/s, 18 mph) and 37 dBA (wind speeds of 6 m/s, 13 mph)
- For dwellings in open country: 44 dBA (wind speeds of 8 m/s) and 42 dBA (wind speeds of 6 m/s)
- Page 4, par 5.1.1 mentions averaging over various periods. Only the worst average readings of a period are to be considered for compliance.
- Page 4, par 5.1.2 mentions a 5 dB annoyance penalty must be added to the worst average readings for a period for clearly audible tonal and impulse sounds with frequencies greater than 160 Hz, which would apply to wind turbine sounds.
- Page 6, par 5.4 mentions limits for indoor A-weighted low frequency noise 10 – 160 Hz, and G-weighted infrasound 5 – 20 Hz.
“If the perceived noise contains either clearly audible tones, or clearly audible impulses, a 5 dB annoyance penalty shall be added to the measured equivalent sound pressure level” That means, if a measured outdoor reading is 40 dBA (open country, wind speed 6 m/s), and annoyance is present, the reading is increased to 45 dBA, which would not be in compliance with the above-required 42 dBA limit.
In some cases, a proposed wind turbine plant would not be approved, because of the 5 dB annoyance penalties. The noise of wind turbines varies up and down. The annoyance conditions associated with wind turbines occur year-round. The annoyance conditions associated with other noise sources usually occur much less frequently.
NOTE: The 5 dB penalty does not apply to indoor and outdoor low frequency and infrasound noises, i.e., 160 Hz or less.
– For both categories (dwellings, summer cottages, etc.; open country), the mandatory limit for low frequency noise is 20 dBA (Vermont’s limit is 30 dBA), which applies to the calculated indoor noise level in the 1/3-octave bands 10 – 160 Hz, at both 6 and 8 m/s wind speed. The purpose of the regulation is to ensure neither the usual noise, nor the low frequency noise, will annoy nearby people when the wind turbines are in operation.
Denmark’s Controversial Noise Attenuation Calculations: The controversy in Denmark is regarding the Danish EPA assuming high attenuation factors for calculating attenuation from 44 dBA (outdoor) to 20 dBA (indoor, windows closed) for frequencies above 63 Hz, which yield calculated indoor noise levels less than 20 dBA. The Danish EPA prefers assuming high factors, because they result in compliance, which is favorable for wind turbines.
However, acoustics engineers have made indoor field measurements (supposedly “too difficult to measure”, according to the Danish EPA), which indicate many houses near wind turbine plants have lower than assumed attenuation factors, which results in indoor noise levels greater than 20 dBA, i.e., non-compliance, which is not favorable for wind turbines.
However, the final arbiters should not be government personnel using assumptions, but the nearby people. Increasingly, those people are venting their frustrations at public hearings and in public demonstrations.
2) POLAND is considering a proposed a law with a 2.0 km (1.24 mile) buffer zone between a wind turbine and any building. That means at least 65% of Poland would be off limits to wind turbines. Future wind turbine plants likely would be offshore.
3) BAVARIA, a state in Germany, just enacted a setback of 10 times turbine height, i.e., 10 x 500 ft = 5,000 ft, almost one mile. In Germany, the wind turbine nighttime noise limit is not to exceed 35 dBA.
The second URL shows what happens when it is sunny and windy in Germany. The excess energy is dumped onto connected grids at near-zero wholesale prices. This has been happening more and more hours of the year.
4) LETCHER TOWNSHIP, South Dakota, voted for a 1-mile buffer zone. Under the approved ordinance, no large wind turbine plant could be built within 5,280 feet of the nearest residence of a non-participating homeowner, or within 1,500 feet of the nearest neighbor’s property line.
5) NEW HAMPSHIRE’s wind turbine code requires the following:
- Sound: Wind turbine plants must meet a ‘not-to-exceed’ standard of 45 dBA from 8am – 8pm and 40 dBA from 8pm – 8am. The sound measurements are to be taken ‘on property that is used in whole or in part for permanent or temporary residential purposes.’
- Shadow Flicker: A shadow-flicker assessment must be completed for each residence, learning space, workplace, health care setting, public gathering place (outdoor and indoor), other occupied building and roadway, within a minimum of 1 mile of any turbine, based on shadow flicker modeling that assumes an impact distance of at least 1 mile from each of the turbines. Shadow flicker may not occur more than 8 hours per year at any of these locations.
- Setbacks: The applicant must complete an assessment of the risks of ice throw, blade shear, tower collapse on any property, roadway, etc. A committee will determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether there is a concern with the setbacks and/or the appropriate distance that should be set.
6) MAINE’s wind turbine noise code requires the following:
In 2012, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection adopted noise control regulations that are specific to wind turbine plants.
Maine DEP Chapter 375.10(I) of Maine DEP regulations specifies sound level limits for wind turbine plants as 55 dBA from 7am – 7pm (the “daytime limit”), and 42 dBA from 7pm – 7am (the “nighttime limit”) averaged over one hour, at protected locations.
Maine DEP nighttime limits apply as follows:
- Within 500 feet of a residence on a protected location or at the (project) property line, if closer to the dwelling. The resulting sound levels at a residence itself are usually lower than at 500 feet from the dwelling or at the property line where the 42 dBA “nighttime limit” applies.
- Beyond 500 feet, the daytime limit of 55 dBA applies 24 hours per day.
Maine DEP Chapter 375.10 noise rules establish sound level limits on an hourly basis although compliance for wind turbine plants is evaluated by averaging sound levels over twelve or more ten-minute measurement intervals with turbines operating at full-rated sound output. There are also special provisions and “penalties” that apply when the sound generated by a wind project result in tonal or short-duration, repetitive sounds. This standard is described in more detail in the remainder of this report. See URL.
Maine DEP Chapter 375.10, Section I, requires a 5 dB annoyance penalty be added for certain occurrences of tonal and short duration repetitive (SDR) sounds when determining compliance with hourly sound level limits.
7) VERMONT has an ad hoc wind turbine code , i.e., applied on a project-by-project basis.
The code allows a maximum noise of 45 dBA (outdoor), averaged over one hour, as measured at a nearby residence. The averaging makes disappear random noise spikes of 60 – 70 dBA, which disturb the sleep of nearby people.
The code allows a maximum noise of 30 dBA (indoor, windows closed), averaged over one hour.
The code makes no distinction for daytime and nighttime, even though people may want to have open windows, especially during warm nights.
Vermont’s code has: 1) no required buffer zone; 2) no required infrasound limit; 3) no 5 dB annoyance penalty; 4) the indoor limit is 30 dB, whereas the Denmark limit is 20 dB.
In Vermont, residences cannot attenuate 45 dBA (outdoor) to 30 dBA (indoor, windows closed), according to acoustics tests. See URL.
NOTE: If Denmark’s residences cannot attenuate 44 dBA (outdoor) to 20 dBA (indoor, windows closed), and Vermont residences cannot attenuate 45 dBA to 30 dBA (a much easier requirement), then the options are: 1) have lesser capacity wind turbines; 2) locate them further away from residences, i.e., a greater buffer zone; 3) upgrade the attenuation of nearby residences; 4) buy out the owners.
The Vermont code is much less strict than of Denmark and New Hampshire, largely because of the political influence of RE special interests. Five years ago, the Vermont Public Service Board could have copied major parts of the Danish code to create a Vermont code that actually protects nearby people.
Measuring Wind Turbine Sounds: This article describes in detail some aspects of measuring wind turbine sounds.
Everyday noises in the audible range are weighted using a curve that approximates the response of the human ear. See figures 1 and 2 of article. If the A-curve is applied to sound measurement dB readings, they are designated as dBA.
The dB levels of frequencies below about 200 cycles per second, i.e., 200 Hz, are artificially lowered, due to the A-curve application. That includes infrasound frequencies of 20 Hz, or less. See figure 3 of article.
The site background noise is affected by wind speed. At near zero wind speed, as often occurs in rural areas at night, the noise is about 10 to 15 dBA. See figure 4 of article.
Outdoor-to-indoor attenuation of infrasound below 4 Hz is near zero for a wood-frame house 1,300 meters (4,265 ft) from a wind turbine. See figure 8 and 9 of article. Whereas a resident would not hear such noises, they would create significant physical discomfort, such as nausea, headaches, dizziness, etc., if the noises were strong, i.e., have high dB values.
Figure 11 of the article shows a similar lack of outdoor-to-indoor attenuation of infrasound for a house 8,000 meters from a wind turbine. The conclusion is: Infrasound below 4 Hz travels long distances and is very little attenuated by a wood-frame house.
Infrasound: Sounds with frequencies of 20 Hz, or less, are defined as infrasound. Those sounds are not heard, but felt. A rotor blade passing the mast of a wind turbine creates a burst of audible and inaudible sound of various frequencies. The base frequency is about one cycle per second, similar to a person’s heart beat, and the harmonics, at 2, 4 and 8 Hz, are similar to the natural frequencies of other human organs, i.e., ears, eyes, liver, kidneys, etc., which start vibrating.
The natural frequencies of wood-frame house walls are less than 20 Hz. The infrasound induces them to start vibrating, which creates standing, inaudible air pressure waves inside the rooms of a house. As a result, nearby people find life inside their houses unbearable. Often they abandon their houses, or sell at very low prices.
Infrasound interferes with the body’s natural biorhythms, and causes adverse health impacts on nearby people and animals, including DNA damage to nearby pregnant women and animals, their fetuses, and newborn offspring. See URLs.
Infrasound travels long distances. A buffer zone of about 1 mile is required to reduce adverse impacts on people. However, roaming animals would continue to be exposed.
Acoustics consultants usually deal with OSHA-type measurements of everyday noises. Most of them have almost no experience measuring infrasound, which requires special instrumentation and test set-ups. As a result, acoustics consultants take the easy way out by claiming infrasound does not exist. That measurements of low frequency noise are made to look less on an A-weighted basis helps their argument.
If acoustics consultants admit infrasound does exist, they provide a list of studies proving it does no harm. To which opponents reply with a list of studies that state it does harm to nearby people.
The Need for a 5 dB Annoyance Penalty: Rural nighttime ambient noise is 20 – 40 dBA, and urban residential nighttime ambient noise is 58 – 62 dBA. In many rural areas, nighttime outdoor ambient noise averages about 20 dBA.
People who live in urban areas have no idea how quiet it is in rural areas. For example: the introduction of clusters of 3 MW wind turbines, on 2,000-ft ridgelines in New England, came as a total shock to nearby rural people. Being high up, the noise carries far, especially the infrasound.
The dB values to indicate noises are a proxy for sound pressure level, SPL. The ears of people are sensitive to sound pressure. The below table clearly indicates random noise spikes above 50 dB have high SPL values, which are highly disturbing to nearby people, especially at night. Any wind turbine noise guidelines and codes must be based on rural noise values.
A 45 dB noise has an SPL 5.6 times greater than a 30 dB noise; 17.8 times greater than a 20 dB noise.
A 63 dB random spike has an SPL 44.9 times greater than a 30 dB noise; 142 times greater than a 20 dB noise.
|Noise level||Noise, dB||Times reference pressure*|
|Rural average outdoor||
|Rural average outdoor||
|Rural average outdoor near a residence||
|Rural random spike||
|Rural random spike||
|Rural random spike||
|Rural random spike||
* The commonly used reference sound pressure in air is 20 micro-pascal. It is considered the threshold of human hearing (roughly the sound of a mosquito flying 3 m away).
General Comments: As almost all recently installed wind turbines are rated at 2 – 3 MW, and as almost all such units are in rural settings, government noise codes should use the rural nighttime ambient noise level as the basis for limiting wind turbine noises.
Ever-present, random spike noises, with higher dB values, say 60 – 70 dBA, can occur, during an hour, but the “averaging over one hour” makes these noises disappear; hence the reason for Denmark, Maine, etc., having a 5 dB annoyance penalty.
These peak noises are most annoying, they occur at random, and mostly at night. They adversely affect the health of nearby people. As a minimum, they deprive nearby people from getting a good night’s sleep to recover from the prior day, and to get ready for the next day. According to WHO, restful sleep is a basic requirement for good mental and physical health, as are food, water, air, etc.
Denmark holds infrasound is harmful to the health of nearby people and animals. Therefore, it has an infrasound requirement in its wind turbine code. Here is a chart and 4 articles prepared by Rand and Ambrose, two prominent acoustics engineers, which shows Vermont’s noise limit.
The Ontario Liberals’ Green Energy Act is meant to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by generating power from wind turbines and solar panels.
We already know this has turned into a wasteful boondoggle — just look at your hydro bill. But there’s another problem with the Green Energy Act, which I was shocked to learn about.
A 2015 report from the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) makes the alarming case that Ontario green energy policy is actually driving up carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Wind and solar energy seem like good, clean sources of energy. But wind power is intermittent, and about 40% of the generated power arrives when load demand is low. Solar energy is also intermittent and capacity is very low. All this means that wind and solar power are expensive and unreliable.
Basically, windmills and solar panels only produce power when the wind blows and the sun shines. They need backup in the form of other power sources to provide constant electricity when you need it. Ontario has gone with natural gas backup because that is the cheapest source of energy currently available. Other options were available, including nuclear and hydro plants, but natural gas was chosen.
This is unfortunate because nuclear and hydro do not emit CO2, but natural gas does. So as we dial down nuclear and hydro, we are doubling up on CO2 emissions from natural gas.
According to OSPE, Ontario currently produces electricity at less than 40 grams of CO2 per kWh. But wind and solar with natural gas backup release about 200 grams of CO2 per kWh.
Now, the trouble of building all the windmills and solar panels wouldn’t be so bad if it were actually worthwhile. But it isn’t. We do not have a cheap and effective way of storing the energy generated by wind and solar power. Simply put, storage is too expensive at the moment.
Adding solar and wind power to the Ontario grid just doesn’t make environmental or economic sense. Continuing to add wind and solar can only be justified on ideological grounds.
Admittedly, the Wynne government announced a halt to further wind and solar contracts. I’m not sure how long they’ll put their ideology on hold, but this is a short-term solution anyway.
We need to use more of our cheaper hydroelectric and nuclear power. And we need to stop exporting power abroad at low prices.
We all want to do the right thing for our environment and we all want clean air to breathe and water to drink. I sincerely believe it is important we strive for a cleaner and safer future.
But no one likes being misled or lied to. The Ontario Liberal government’s Green Energy Act is an environmental and economic disaster. As both a farmer and a civil engineer, I know about protecting the environment as well as long-term sustainability. Farming teaches you to understand the risks and benefits of co-operating with Mother Nature. Similarly, engineers are required to build things: We build things to last, and we do so in the public interest.
So I think most Ontarians would agree with me when I say that we need to have affordable, clean, reliable, and sustainable sources of energy which do not increase CO2.
Unfortunately the Green Energy Act just hasn’t got it right.
— MacLaren is the MPP for Carleton-Mississippi Mills
By Michael G. Smith(a), Mikael Ögren(b), Pontus Thorsson(c), Eja Pedersen(d) and Kerstin Persson Waye(e)
(b) University of Gothenburg, Sweden, email@example.com
(c) Chalmers University of Technology Sweden, firstname.lastname@example.org
(d) Lund University, Sweden, email@example.com
(e) University of Gothenburg, Sweden, firstname.lastname@example.org
In accordance with the EU energy policy, wind turbines are becoming increasingly widespread throughout Europe, and this trend is expected to continue globally. More people will consequently live close to wind turbines in the future, and hence may be exposed to wind farm noise. Of particular concern is the potential for nocturnal noise to contribute towards sleep disturbance of nearby residents. To examine the issue, we are implementing a project titled Wind Turbine Noise Effects on Sleep (WiTNES). In a pilot study described in this paper, we performed an initial investigation into the particular acoustical characteristics of wind turbine noise that might have the potential to disturb sleep. Six young, healthy individuals spent 5 nights in our sound exposure laboratory. During the final 3 nights of the study, the participants were exposed to wind turbine noise, which was synthesised based on analysis of field measurements. Exposures involved periods of different amplitude modulation strengths, the presence or absence of beats, different blade rotational periods, and outdoor LAEq,8h = 45 or 50 dB with indoor levels based on the windows being fully closed or slightly open. Physiological measurements indicate that nights with low frequency band amplitude modulation and LAEq,8h = 45 dB, slightly open window (LAEq,8h = 33 dB indoors) impacted sleep the most. The presence of beats and strong amplitude modulation contributed to sleep disturbance, reflected by more electrophysiological awakenings, increased light sleep and wakefulness, and reduced REM and deep sleep. The impact on sleep by these acoustic characteristics is currently the focus of interest in ongoing studies.