Far greater setbacks from wind turbines necessary, to maintain max. 45db noise level.

Irish government modelling of wind energy potential

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Today, 16 January 2017, almost four years on from the first public call for submissions on the proposed revision of the 2006 wind energy guidelines, we are sharing information in relation to modelling undertaken by the RPS Group, in 2015, which was commissioned by the Sustainable Authority of Ireland (SEAI) for the then Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources (now the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment) and the then Department of Environment, Community and Local Government (now the department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government).

RPS were commissioned to model Ireland’s land area and power generating potential from wind energy developments, taking into account a number of variable factors including:

  • Turbine size, type and hub/tip height;
  • Noise and shadow flicker;
  • Proposed setback distances;
  • Minimum wind speeds;
  • Terrain contours; and
  • Ground factors.

The background to this modelling was the proposed technical revision to the Wind Energy Development Guidelines 2006. As regular readers of this blog will be aware the proposed technical revision has turned into a political hot potato with no Minister yet willing to stand up to the wind industry, despite the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment declaring that the current guidelines are ‘not fit for purpose’. The proposed Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and further consultation have still not been commenced.

Nevertheless, the discussion in the RPS Group, Report on Wind Turbine Noise Modelling, of 11 May 2015 is startling for most communities, as RPS through consultations with the wind industry expect tip heights of between 150m to 175m to be the norm for future developments, with 200m tip heights being required for some low wind sites.  Possible setback distances emerging from the acoustic modelling are also quiet frightening (see copy of table 3.2 below).

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Documents, in PDF, we are sharing are:

Further iterations of the modeling then followed which were also released:

Please note these documents were shared with us by a friend of this blog, who gained access to them under the Access to Environmental Information Regulations.  Access was only granted following a number of Appeals to the Commissioner for Environmental Information; with the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, further delaying release for three months despite the Commissioners decision.  We are heartened that the Commissioner in deciding that these documents should be released stated:

In my opinion, it is at least possible that disclosure of the withheld information would help the public to scrutinise the reasons put forward by politicians in delaying this important policy decision.  I therefore accept that this public interest argument would favour disclosure now, before a decision is made.

… if disclosure were to lead to a submission being made to the Department which was of such import that it could not be ignored, such a submission would appear to be highly important and very much in the public interest. There is a strong public interest in making the decision [in relation to the revised guidelines] as soon as possible, but there is also a strong public interest in getting it right.
For these reasons I am not persuaded that disclosure would be contrary to the public interest. As that is my conclusion, I must find that refusal to provide access to the withheld information is not justified on this ground.

With the Commissioners words ringing in our ears we are calling on our readers and followers to review, scrutinise and find flaws in the reasons relied upon by your politicians and policy makers.

We are also welcoming guest blogs on this issue and if any of you out there want to provide some much needed technical analysis of these documents and to publish on this blog (or to make a valuable submission to the Minister), please e-mail us at: cawt.donegal@gmail.com.

Enercon Forced to Accept Liability for Harm Caused to Neighbours of Irish Windfarm!

Families forced from homes due to wind farm noise win court case

A number of families in Co Cork who were forced to leave their homes because of noise from a nearby wind farm have won a significant case in the High Court this week.

The families claim they have been severely impacted by noise since the wind farm began operating in 2011.

This is the first action of its kind in Ireland and may now open many wind farm developers to the prospect of legal challenges from families in similar situations.

The case was taken against wind turbine manufacturer Enercon who have accepted full liability for causing nuisance to seven families who live up to 1km from the wind farm.

The case will return to the High Court in 2017 to discuss punitive damages.

Promises in Government over the last four years to introduce planning regulations regarding wind turbines have failed to materialize.

According to out-dated guidelines, turbines may be built 500m from homes. In many cases, including this, wind turbines have been built closer than 500m.

A spokesperson for Wind Aware Ireland said: “There now is a possibility for multiple legal actions against wind farms right around the country.

“The legal implications for the wind industry are significant. The use of inadequate and out-dated planning guidelines may come back to haunt the industry, planning authorities and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE).”

On election, Minister Naughten promised that new planning guidelines would be in place within 3 to 6 months of the formation of the new government.

Yet Another Study Showing Harm From Wind Turbines…

September 2016Sweden    Shared by: Friends Against Wind

Physiological effects of wind turbine noise on sleep

Swedish study into wind turbine noise suggests that it can have an effect on sleep – even in young fit healthy subjects.

Sleep disturbance
“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.”

By Michael G. Smith(a), Mikael Ögren(b), Pontus Thorsson(c), Eja Pedersen(d) and Kerstin Persson Waye(e)

(a) University of Gothenburg, Sweden, michael.smith@amm.gu.se
(b) University of Gothenburg, Sweden, mikael.ogren@amm.gu.se
(c) Chalmers University of Technology Sweden, pontus.thorsson@akustikverkstan.se
(d) Lund University, Sweden, eja.pedersen@arkitektur.lth.se
(e) University of Gothenburg, Sweden, kerstin.persson.waye@amm.gu.se

Abstract

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.

Download the study

Presented at the 22nd International Congress on Acoustics in Buenos Aires in September 2016

Property Rights Group Formed to Fight Wind Turbines!

Coalition for Rural Property Rights Formed

November 1, 2016
Emmetsburg News

To the Editor:

The Coalition for Rural Property Rights has been formed in response to the Supervisors’ acceptance of a wind energy ordinance that favors the wind companies but does not protect the rural citizens of Palo Alto. This ordinance affects everyone who owns land or has a rural home.

We agree with the Planning and Zoning’s recommendation of 2640 foot setbacks from homes, not 1500 feet the wind company demanded.

We want 1000 foot setbacks from property lines that include the blades, not 1.2 x the height of the turbine from the tower which equals about 360 feet.

We want the Supervisors to take the advice of Jim Hudson, the drainage attorney who said that the connecting cables “must be the lower of 7 feet below the surface or 2 feet below any known and existing district or private tile”, not just 5 feet of cover.

We want a setback of 1 mile from sensitive wildlife areas, not 1500 foot.

If these turbines are built and if there is a problem with noise or shadow flicker or with tiling or aerial applications what recourse will citizens have? Mid American may offer money but only if that landowner then signs a contract with again the same sort of easement that the turbine hosts sign. One where they have a perpetual easement over and under all the landowner’s land that can be sold or re-leased at the wind company’s discretion. That won’t fix the problem either. If we wanted to be bought, we would’ve already signed a contract.

This energy does not supply our area. Iowa may have excess energy when the wind is blowing and Mid American is using its power of eminent domain for power lines to ship the energy out, making it not a utility but a commodity. The closest area that even “needs” this energy would be at the base of Lake Michigan which has more available offshore wind energy than all of Iowa but the folks living on the coasts do not want wind turbines in their views.

Our right to peace for our homes and our right to protect our businesses is not for sale. Support the people and businesses that are already here paying into the tax base.

I ask that the people who want wind turbines stop destroying our signs. Your opinion would be voiced with 50-story wind turbines. If you want any kind of respect for your opinions, please respect ours.

(signed) Janna Swanson

for: Coalition for

Rural Property Rights. com

Loud Noises Are Slowly Ruining Your Health (Windpushers still in denial)

Loud Noises Are Slowly Ruining Your Health

Noise pollution is a lot worse for you than you may have thought. According to the World Health Organization, it’s the second biggest environmental cause of health problems in humans after air pollution. Studies from 2012 suggested it contributed to 910,000 additional cases of hypertension across Europe every year and 10,000 premature deaths related to coronary heart diseases or strokes. Closer to home, a 15-year study found that there was a higher rate of cardiovascular and stroke-related deaths among those living near to the rabble of Heathrow—something residents are sure to cite in the wake of ministers approving a third runway there.

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So why isn’t anyone talking about it?

“Noise is invisible,” says Poppy Szkiler of Quiet Mark. “I think that’s why the problems associated with it have been ignored, until now.”

Quiet Mark provide a universal stamp of approval for products and companies that recognize the importance of reducing their acoustic footprint. They were born out of the Noise Abatement Society, established in 1959 when John Connell—Szkiler’s grandfather—wrote an angry letter to the Daily Telegraph bemoaning the increasingly invasive levels of noise in the world around him.

He was flabbergasted by the response—”Sackfuls of letters in agreement,” says Poppy—and lobbied Parliament so hard for change that the Noise Abatement Act was passed in 1960. Ever since, the Noise Abatement Society and Quiet Mark have flown the flag for a quieter society. Last week saw the release of their crowdfunded film, In Pursuit of Silence, which examines the way excessive noise has slowly infiltrated every aspect of our lives, and why human lives depend on our ability to combat it.

“Noise abatement is a bit like smoking,” says Szkiler. “It’s a public health issue. One day people just realized you shouldn’t smoke inside buildings. I think we’ve coped with noise for such a long time, but people are starting to recognize the value of a quieter life.” As proof, she points to a partnership with John Lewis, which got involved with Quiet Mark after customer research suggested 65 percent of its customers craved more peace and quiet.

source vice.com