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Noise

"Calling noise a nuisance is like calling smog an inconvenience.
Noise must be considered a hazard to the health of people everywhere."

- Dr. William H. Stewart, former Surgeon General of the USA

     As is well-known, wind turbines produce noise. The noise issue is typically, although not always adequately, addressed through setback requirements.

     The Blue Highlands Citizens Coalition has four principal concerns regarding the noise issue as it applies to the proposed “Blue Highlands” wind power generation facility.

  1. While setback requirements relative to inhabited dwellings can be developed, we need to ensure that the setbacks which are applied are sufficient.

  2. Setback requirements need to take into account the fact that our area is traversed by a number of trails which people use on foot and on cross-country skis. People need to be able to continue to enjoy the solitude of those trails (and of trails on their own properties) without interference from turbine noise, and the setback requirements need to take that into account. It is not sufficient that only setbacks from dwellings be considered.

  3. The impact of wind turbine noise on livestock, birds and wildlife within our community needs to be carefully analyzed.

  4. The current wind industry initiative to have the Ministry of the Environment noise threshold guidelines, as applied to wind turbines, increased from 40 dB to 45 dB or perhaps even 50 dB in rural areas like ours needs to be the subject of careful scrutiny. We are concerned that a draft guideline increasing the 40 dB noise threshold regulation has been developed by the Ministry of the Environment in consultation with the wind industry but without (to this point) input from the public.

     Our research on the noise issue is continuing. Superior Wind Energy, on their web site, claim the noise from the turbines at 300 meters is "Equal to a little more than a whisper". What we have learned from communities that are living with large scale industrial wind power generating facilities is that, despite being downplayed by the developers before installation, turbine noise has become one of the most contentious issues that has arisen, even in homes more than a kilometer away. Knowing that, the Blue Highlands Citizens Coalition feels strongly that this concern must be addressed and not simply dismissed as some would like it to be.
 
     The wind turbine noise issue has even spawned the 'First Annual Conference on Wind Turbine Noise' in Berlin, Germany in October of 2005. Click here to visit their website.

Click here to view a document outlining the source of noise from wind turbines and suggested noise study requirements.

Click here to read the noise section of the Country Guardian's "Case Against Windfarms".

Click here to read a UK newspaper article describing the affect turbine noise is having on area residents.

Click here to read a follow up article by Dr. Amanda Harry who is the author of the report mentioned in the above article.

Click Here to read a press release from the Renewable Energy Foundation in the UK summarizing a research article on turbine noise. Click Here for the report itself.

Click here to read an article by a noise consulting firm in the UK regarding turbine noise.

Click here to see a collection of more noise related information on the Views of Scotland web site.

Click here to read "Lincoln Township (Wis.) Experience with Wind Power" - There is a section on noise which is a must read!

Copyright, The Blue Highlands Citizens Coalition, 2004, 2005, 2006.  All rights reserved.

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