Resource Documents — latest additions
Documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are provided to assist anyone wishing to research the issue of industrial wind power and the impacts of its development. The information should be evaluated by each reader to come to their own conclusions about the many areas of debate.
Author: Trustpower Australia Holdings
Landowner Activities means:
- agricultural activities undertaken by You from time to time, including sheep farming, cattle farming, dairy farming, deer farming, horticulture, viticulture and any type of pastoral farming, annual rotation cropping in respect of crops to be harvested for the production of food and fodder products and other such products of the soil and all activities normally incidental thereto;
- the use of Compliant Dwellings on the Land that:
- existed as at the date of this Deed; or
- in relation to which We have provided our written consent; and
- such other activities consented to by Us in writing,
but excluding the building, erecting or placing of, or permitting the building, erecting or placing of, any Dwelling within two (2) kilometres of a Wind Turbine or a Proposed Wind Turbine from the date of this Deed, other than where such Dwelling has been consented to by Us in writing (such consent not to be unreasonably withheld, unless such Dwelling will adversely affect the operation or development of the Wind Farm). ...
Neighbouring Turbine means a Wind Turbine that is constructed from time to time and is part of the Wind Farm, that is within:
- 1 kilometre of the Land; or
- 2 kilometres of a Compliant Dwelling constructed on the Land as at the date of this Deed. ...
Term means the period commencing on the date of this Deed and ending on the earlier of:
- the termination of this Deed by You or Us; and
- the date that is 60 years after the date of this Deed.
- [11.1] This Deed may be terminated at any time by Us on not less than three calendar months’ notice in writing to You. However no monies paid in advance shall be repaid or demanded to be repaid. If this Deed is terminated by Us pursuant to this clause, We agree, for a period equivalent to the remainder of the Term, had We not terminated this Deed, to not construct a Wind Turbine within 1 kilometre of the boundary of the Land or within 2 kilometres of a Compliant Dwelling constructed on the Land as at the date of this Deed.
- [11.1] This Deed may be terminated by You by providing written notice to Us:
- If the Development of the Wind Farm by Us has not commenced by the date that is 10 years after the date of this Deed; or
- If We remove the Neighbouring Turbines for any reason and do not replace them with Neighbouring Turbines within a reasonable time.
Wind Turbine means the equipment which converts wind energy into electricity, consisting (among other parts) of one or more piers or foundations, a tower, transformer, nacelle, electronic control equipment and a rotor with blades.
Windpower Equipment means all wind driven electricity generation equipment and facilities used in the exploitation of wind to produce electricity including but not limited to Wind Turbines, conductors, terminals, supply points, overhead and underground electrical transmission or distribution lines, transmission or distribution line towers, poles, pylons, electric transformers, power (including solar power) generation facilities to be operated in conjunction with Wind Turbine installations, meteorological towers and wind measurement equipment, meters and other monitoring and safety devices, maintenance yards, and all other ancillary facilities and equipment which We consider necessary or desirable for the wind driven generation transmission and distribution of electricity.
Windpower Facilities means all Windpower Equipment installed or placed on the Wind Farm Land from time to time or other land connected with the Wind Farm which may be used for production of wind generated electricity. ...
What You agree to do
You acknowledge and agree that during the Term:
- We will be conducting Wind Farm Operations on the Wind Farm Land; and
- You will comply with the Landowner Undertakings (as described in Schedule 1).
In designing or constructing the Wind Farm, We agree to not locate a Wind Turbine within 1 kilometre of any Compliant Dwelling on the Land as at the date of this Deed.
Schedule 1: Landowner Undertakings
Part A – Non-Objection Undertakings
- [b] You will not at any time make any objection or permit or assist any objection to be made by any occupier of the Land in relation to any Wind Farm Operations whatsoever conducted or to be conducted on the Wind Farm Land;
- without limitation, neither You nor any occupier of the Land is to be party to or otherwise concerned or interested in any proceedings before any court, tribunal or registered agencies, public or governmental authority (including being party to a Claim against Us or any other person in respect of any Wind Farm Operations) if such proceedings or Claim are likely to have the effect of preventing Us from conducting Wind Farm Operations on the Wind Farm Land, limiting such operations or imposing any conditions on the conduct of such operations; and
- without limiting the generality of clauses (b)(i) or (b)(ii) of Part A of this Schedule, You will not at any time make or permit or assist any Claim in relation to or objection against anything incidental to the Wind Farm Operations conducted on or from the Wind Farm Land.
Part B – Construction Undertakings
... Your activities on the Land, must not interfere with the construction, installation, erection, maintenance, operation or replacement of the Windpower Equipment on the Wind Farm Land, or the conduct of the Wind Farm Operations on the Wind Farm Land. ... You must not interfere or permit interference with the wind speed or wind direction over the Land, whether by placing wind turbines, planting trees or constructing buildings or other structures, or by engaging in or permitting any other activity on the Land that might cause a decrease in the output or efficiency of Our Windpower Facilities on the Wind Farm Land. ...
Schedule 2: Fees
We will pay You within one month of the date of this Deed a one off fee of $1,000.
During the period beginning on the date that is one year after the date of this Deed and ending on the earlier of the end of the Term and the date that there are one or more Neighbouring Turbines, We will pay You in advance and within one month of each 1 July, an annual fee of $500 (Pre-Construction Fee).
We will pay You in advance and within one month of the start of each financial year (1 July to 30 June) for each financial year period during the Term (or part thereof) that there are one or more Neighbouring Turbines, a fee calculated in accordance with the following formula:
Annual neighbour fee payment (Neighbour Fee) = $2,500 plus $100 per Neighbouring Turbine (without double counting Wind Turbines that satisfy multiple criteria of the definition of ‘Neighbouring Turbine’).
The Neighbour Fee will be subject to CPI Adjustment.
Schedule 4: Letter of No Objection
... Given the proximity of the Land to the Wind Farm, I was approached by Trustpower in relation to entering into a ‘Neighbour Deed’, which I subsequently entered into with Trustpower (Neighbour Deed).
Prior to the date of this Letter of No Objection, Trustpower outlined the location of the wind turbines comprising the Wind Farm, with respect to my Land. Trustpower explained the impact that those wind turbines would have on my use and enjoyment of my Land.
Subject to the wind turbines comprising the Wind Farm being more than 1 kilometre from any dwelling constructed on the Land (as at the date of this Letter of No Objection):
- I agree to not take any action that will cause detriment to the development, construction or operation of the Wind Farm; and
- I agree to not object to the establishment, operation, maintenance or use of the Wind Farm or activities related or incidental to the Wind Farm.
Exploring the Association between Proximity to Industrial Wind Turbines and Self-Reported Health Outcomes in Ontario, Canada
Author: Paller, Claire
Thesis, University of Waterloo, Master of Science, Health Studies and Gerontology
Background: Wind turbines are a form of renewable energy, which generate electricity from wind energy, a practice dating back over 100 years. More recently, large-scale wind energy developments have started to employ one or several industrial wind turbines, which produce the majority of wind energy in Ontario. The production of electricity from the movement of industrial wind turbine motor blades creates both mechanical and aerodynamic noise. This type of environmental noise is a growing public health concern, especially for residents living close to industrial wind turbines. A body of evidence now exists to suggest that industrial wind turbine noise can impair health and contribute to annoyance and sleep disturbance. However, in Ontario, little is known about how industrial wind turbines impact people living in their vicinity.
Objectives: This investigation was a cross-sectional study involving eight Ontario communities that contain greater than ten industrial wind turbines. The objectives of this study were to explore the association between proximity to industrial wind turbines and self-reported health effects, specifically quality of life (both physical and mental health) and sleep disturbance, in residents living close to wind turbines. Dose-response relationships were also explored in an attempt to investigate acceptable exposure levels and appropriate setback distances for industrial wind turbines.
Methods: Eight wind farms in Ontario were selected for analysis. For this cross-sectional study, the ‘Quality of Life and Renewable Energy Technologies Study’ survey was used to measure the impact of industrial wind turbines on health. Using Canada Post’s Unaddressed Admail Service, surveys were sent to 4,876 residences near industrial wind turbines in these eight communities. Survey responses were sent back to the University of Waterloo and data from the surveys were used for analysis. Descriptive analyses were performed and multiple regression models were run to investigate the effect of the main independent variable of interest (distance to nearest industrial wind turbine) on the various outcome variables. Descriptive statistics, including means and standard deviations were performed on a number of dependent and independent variables including age, sex, time in home, number of industrial wind turbines within 2,000 meters and sleep and health outcomes.
Results: In total, 412 surveys were returned (8.45% response rate); 16 of these survey respondents did not provide their home address. Therefore, 396 surveys were included in the analysis. The mean self-reported distances of survey respondents to wind farms was 2,782 meters ±3,950 meters (range: 0.40-55,000 meters). The mean calculated distance from residence to the closest industrial wind turbine was 4,523 meters ±4,420 meters (range: 316-22,661 meters). The difference between the calculated and perceived distance measurements was statistically significant (P<0.001) with survey respondents reporting that they live, on average, 1,741 meters closer to wind farms than they actually do. The relationship between Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and ln(distance) was found to be statistically significant (P=0.01) when controlling for age, gender and county, meaning that as distance increased (move further away from an industrial wind turbine), Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index decreased (i.e. sleep improved) in a logarithmic relationship. Among the eight Wind Turbine Syndrome index variables, the relationship between vertigo and ln(distance) was statistically significant (P<0.001) when controlling for age, gender, and county. Additionally, the relationship between tinnitus and ln(distance) approached statistical significance (P=0.08) when controlling for age, gender and county. Both vertigo and tinnitus were worse among participants living closer to industrial wind turbines.
Conclusion: Study findings suggest that industrial wind turbines could have an impact on health. Using a sample of rural Ontario residents (although not necessarily representative of the target population), this study explored the quality of life (both physical and mental health) and sleep disturbance of residents living in the vicinity of industrial wind turbines. However, because of study limitations, there are many questions still to be answered before firm conclusions can be drawn. Based on the findings of this study it is recommended that further studies be carried out to examine the effects of low-level stressors, such as industrial wind turbine noise, on health. Specifically, study findings suggest that future research should focus on the effects of industrial wind turbine noise on sleep disturbance and symptoms of inner ear problems. Although the study findings could suggest that there is a possible association between various health outcomes and how far someone lives from an industrial wind turbine, it is important to remember that there are limitations to these conclusions.
Author: Mikołajczak, J.; et al.
Wind farms produce electricity without causing air pollution and environmental degradation. Unfortunately, wind turbines are a source of infrasound, which may cause a number of physiological effects, such as an increase in cortisol and catecholamine secretion. The impact of infrasound noise, emitted by wind turbines, on the health of geese and other farm animals has not previously been evaluated. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine the effect of noise, generated by wind turbines, on the stress parameters (cortisol) and the weight gain of geese kept in surrounding areas. The study consisted of 40 individuals of 5-week-old domestic geese Anser anser f domestica, divided into 2 equal groups. The first experimental gaggle (I) remained within 50 m from turbine and the second one (II) within 500 m. During the 12 weeks of the study, noise measurements were also taken. Weight gain and the concentration of cortisol in blood were assessed and significant differences in both cases were found. Geese from gaggle I gained less weight and had a higher concentration of cortisol in blood, compared to individuals from gaggle II. Lower activity and some disturbing changes in behavior of animals from group I were noted. Results of the study suggest a negative effect of the immediate vicinity of a wind turbine on the stress parameters of geese and their productivity.
Polish Journal of Veterinary Sciences Vol. 16, No. 4 (2013), 679–686
J. Mikołajczak, J. Marć-Pieńkowska, P. Szterk
Department of Animal Nutrition and Feed Management, Faculty of Animal Breeding and Biology
Department of Agricultural Engineering, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering
Department of Poultry Breeding, Faculty of Animal Breeding and Biology
University of Technology and Life Sciences, Mazowiecka, Bydgoszcz
G. Odrowąż-Sypniewska, J. Siódmiak
Department of Laboratory Medicine, Faculty of Pharmacy, Nicolaus Copernicus University Collegium Medicum, Bydgoszcz
Author: Hansen, Colin
I am writing to provide my opinions concerning some of the problems associated with the 2009 SA Guidelines for wind farm noise and in particular I am writing in support of the comments made by the well‐respected acoustical consultant, Mr Les Huson in his February, 2014 report reviewing the Flyers Creek wind farm approval and his November, 2011 report for the Cooranga North Community in which he described his outside to inside noise reduction measurements. The opinions I express here are my own and are not necessarily endorsed by The University of Adelaide.
One of the more important incorrect assumptions implicit in the guidelines is that there is a substantial reduction in noise when travelling from outdoors to indoors. To satisfy World Health Organisation (WHO) Guidelines, the maximum allowable noise level in a bedroom at night is 30 dBA if the sleep of 90% of people is not to be disturbed. This implies that to protect 90% of people, there must be a minimum noise reduction from outdoors to indoors of 10 dBA if the allowed outside noise level is 40 dBA. The validity of this assumption is discussed below.
The A‐weighted noise reduction, from outside noise levels to inside noise levels, that will be experienced by any dwelling will depend on the following factors:
- The construction of the dwelling (wall materials, number of windows, roof materials etc).
- The area of openings due to windows being open, particularly in walls facing the source of the sound.
- The character of the noise: low‐frequency noise is less attenuated by houses than high‐frequency noise. Thus if the noise consists of mainly low‐frequency components (as does wind farm noise at distances of 1 km or more from the nearest turbine in a wind farm), then the noise reduction from outside to inside will be much less and sound will intrude through open windows that are not even facing the turbines.
During the course of undertaking our Australian Research Council funded project on the impact of wind farm noise on rural communities, my research team has made a substantial number of measurements of the reduction in wind farm noise levels from outside to inside for a number of residences in the vicinity of the Waterloo wind farm. All of our measurements have been for the situation where all windows and doors were closed. For this case we have measured between 12 and 15 dBA noise reductions at times during the night when it was clear that the wind farm was the dominant noise source. However, if windows were open, the noise reduction would be substantially less than this and this is supported by the measurements taken by Mr Les Huson and reported in his November, 2011 report. Especially at low frequencies, inside noise levels are very dependent on where in a room they are measured, which means that there would need to be multiple inside measurements taken to properly define an average outside to inside noise reduction and the noise source would need to have a similar frequency content as the predicted wind farm noise at each particular location.
It is clear that specification of 40 dBA of allowable outdoor noise levels is no guarantee that noise levels indoors will not exceed 30 dBA at night so it would be safer to specify average indoor noise levels and the number and location of measurement microphones. During compliance checking it would be preferable to measure indoor noise levels during times when the local wind strength is low to avoid contamination of the data due to noise generated by wind blowing past vegetation and other objects. Taking measurements indoors would also mean that large microphone wind shields would be unnecessary. To avoid contamination of the data by internal noise sources in a residence, the measurements would need to be attended. If this caused problems, compliance checking could consist of outside to inside noise reduction measurements using an artificial sound source and outdoor noise measurements with just the wind farm noise.
A complicating factor that should be mentioned here is that the 30 dBA limit recommended by WHO for people to not suffer sleep disturbance is based on the noise being dominated by traffic noise which is not so heavily weighted towards low‐frequencies as wind turbine noise is. It is well‐known that low‐ frequency noise is more annoying than noise spread over low, mid and high frequencies for the same total A‐weighted level (dBA). Thus 30 dBA of predominantly low—frequency noise as produced at distant residences by a wind farm will cause more annoyance than 30 dBA of traffic noise. The 30 dBA limit proposed by WHO is also based on the response of people living in the suburbs of European cities where levels of background noise experienced and accepted by residents would be much greater than experienced in an Australian rural environment. Of course there are always a certain percentage of individuals even in an urban environment who will be disturbed at levels of 30 dBA. Finally, distant traffic noise is not modulated, does not vary rapidly over short periods of time and is thus much less likely to cause annoyance than noise of the same average level produced at residences by wind farms, which does vary substantially over very short time periods as well as over long time periods.
The SA EPA wind farm guidelines also suffer from the additional limitations listed below.
- Compliance checking is based on the measurement of LA90 noise levels, which are the noise levels that are exceeded 90% of the time. Reporting these measurements thus misses the 90% of the data that exceed the reported level. Typically, average LAeq levels would be at least 2 dBA above the LA90 levels (much more for modulated sound which often characterises wind farm noise) and it is the average levels (over a 10‐minute time period) that are used in the noise level prediction process specified in the guidelines. Compliance checking also implements the dubious process of fitting a regression line to a large number of data points of measured noise level vs wind speed at the turbine nacelle height. There is usually a large spread in these data of at least 20 dBA. This means that there can be many 10‐minute periods for which the average noise level exceeds the allowed exterior noise level by a very large amount, resulting in excessive interior noise levels for significant periods of time, even though the wind farm will be deemed compliant. Thus compliance checking is over‐generous to the developer and the process is unfair to the residents as it overlooks extensive time periods where the wind farm noise levels exceed those that are allowed. Therefore I believe that the guidelines should be changed so that the allowable noise levels are “not to exceed” average indoor noise levels, rather than regression‐line fitted outdoor noise levels. This is particularly important for the night time, when there is a risk of people being awakened by a loud event. After such an event, the person may have trouble going back to sleep and may lie awake in anticipation of the next noise event.
- Although there is a penalty of 5 dBA to be added to the measured noise levels if the noise is shown to be “tonal” in nature, there is no consideration of any penalty to be applied if the noise is excessively amplitude modulated (AM) or if it varies substantially over short time periods or if it is predominantly low‐frequency in nature. The methodology used to determine the level of AM should be clearly specified and should be based on the results of listening tests. It may be necessary to consider AM of specific third‐octave bands rather than the overall level. Findings from the Renewable UK report released in 2013 could provide a basis for an acceptable criteria and method of establishing and quantifying AM.
- Another limitation is associated with the method of tonality assessment which according to the SA guidelines should follow the method recommended in the standard, IEC 61 400‐11. This standard suggests that the assessment should be based on measurements made near a turbine, but it would seem more appropriate to make the measurements near houses where residents are subjected to the noise. The guidelines should also include a requirement to use night‐time as well as day‐time measurements and should analyse data from all wind directions, not just downwind. In addition all data should be assessed, rather than just the 2 minutes closest to the integer wind speed, all wind speeds should be investigated rather than focusing on only 6–10 m/s at 10 m height and instructions should be given on whether to apply the 5 dBA correction to the affected measurement only or to apply it to the value calculated from the regression curve.
- Another limitation of the SA guidelines is associated with the establishment of the allowable levels when the wind speed becomes sufficient that background noise levels exceed the specified allowed level (35 or 40 dBA, depending on whether the site is zoned “rural living” or “rural industry”). One aspect of the problem is that, especially in conditions of high wind shear, wind at the residence location is not necessarily related to the wind speed and direction at hub height. A second aspect is that according to the guidelines, night‐time data are averaged with day‐time data to provide a single regression curve which represents the “measured” background noise levels that will be used in compliance checking. A serious draw‐back with this approach is that the night time background noise levels are generally substantially lower than day‐time levels, so as a result of day‐time and night‐time averaging, residents are being subjected to excessive noise right at the time they are trying to sleep. Thus there should be different regression curves presented for day‐time and night‐time. Also the night‐time hours should be specified to be between midnight and 5am as this is usually the quietest time period.
- The guidelines do not address the issue of the noise spectrum being dominated by low frequency noise at the location of the affected residences. To address this highly probable event, limits should be provided that are directed at the low‐frequency part of the spectrum such as the DEFRA guidelines published in 2005.
- Another limitation is associated with the development assessment in many cases, and this is the classification of rural residences as “rural industry” if they produce goods that they sell, rather than the much more reasonable “rural living”, as people need to be able to sleep in these “rural industry” zones, something that is not generally a requirement in other industrial zones. In terms of allowed outdoor noise levels, the difference in the above‐mentioned classifications is 5 dBA. As the aim of the specification of acceptable noise levels in the case of wind farm developments is primarily to ensure that the majority of people exposed do not suffer sleep disturbance, and in Australia all wind farm developments are in rural areas, the use of zoning does not make sense – there should just be a single number specified that ensured that people could sleep without being interrupted by wind farm noise. The selected noise limit should be based on a dose response study specific to South Australian rural areas.
- If on/off testing is to be done to assist in determining compliance, it should be done according to Australian Standard, AS4959:2010 at the “critical wind speed”, which is the wind speed associated with the predicted smallest margin of compliance.
- Implicit in the EPA guidelines is the assumption that external background noise is capable of masking wind farm noise provided that wind farm noise does not exceed the background noise by more than 5 dBA. However, there is no evidence in the literature that supports this assumption. Further work is required in this area, including the analysis of the masking potential of background noise in relation to typical indoor wind turbine spectra, to determine a suitable threshold.
- Since measurements of wind farm noise are often required in windy conditions, the guidelines should include specifications for secondary windshields for microphones, which will minimise the contamination of the data from noise resulting from atmospheric turbulence as well as noise produced by wind blowing across the measurement microphones.
- The effect of air density, wind shear, inflow turbulence and inflow angle at hub height on the turbine sound power levels should be included in the noise predictions so that an upper bound to the turbine sound power is used rather than the values measured in flat terrain with little in‐ flow turbulence and negligible wind shear. Alternatively an acceptable safety margin could be applied to the sound power levels provided by the manufacturer that takes into account variations between turbines as well as the effects mentioned above.
- More recent sound propagation models such as Nord2000 and harmonoise are now available and should be investigated for their suitability. In particular, the guidelines should address the uncertainty associated with use of a particular model and the allowable predicted noise levels should take this uncertainty into account.
In conclusion, I believe that there is a strong case for revisiting and modifying the 2009 SA EPA Guidelines for wind farm noise.
School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Adelaide
February 25, 2014 (letter to Mary Morris)