Resource Documents: Impacts (122 items)
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: Holttinen, Hannele
[abstract] The variations of wind power production will increase the flexibility needed in the system when significant amounts of load are covered by wind power. When studying the incremental effects that varying wind power production imposes on the power system, it is important to study the system as a whole: only the net imbalances have to be balanced by the system. Large geographical spreading of wind power will reduce variability, increase predictability and decrease the occasions with near zero or peak output. The goal of this work was to estimate the increase in hourly load-following reserve requirements based on real wind power production and synchronous hourly load data in the four Nordic countries. The result is an increasing effect on reserve requirements with increasing wind power penetration. At a 10% penetration level (wind power production of gross demand) this is estimated as 1·5%–4% of installed wind capacity, taking into account that load variations are more predictable than wind power variations.
Hannele Holttinen, Technical Research Centre of Finland
Wind Energy 2005; 8:197–218. DOI: 10.1002/we.143
Download original document: “Impact of Hourly Wind Power Variations on the System Operation in the Nordic Countries”
Author: Paatero, Jukka; and Lund, Peter
[abstract] Irregularities in power output are characteristic of intermittent energy, sources such as wind energy, affecting both the power quality and planning of the energy system. In this work the effects of energy storage to reduce wind power fluctuations are investigated. Integration of the energy storage with wind power is modelled using a filter approach in which a time constant corresponds to the energy storage capacity.The analyses show that already a relatively small energy storage capacity of 3 kWh (storage) per MW wind would reduce the short-term power fluctuations of an individual wind turbine by 10%. Smoothing out the power fluctuation of the wind turbine on a yearly level would necessitate large storage, e.g. a 10% reduction requires 2–3 MWh per MW wind.
Jukka V. Paatero and Peter D. Lund
Helsinki University of Technology, Advanced Energy Systems, Espoo, Finland
Wind Energy 2005; 8:421–441. DOI: 10.1002/we.151
Download original document: “Effect of Energy Storage on Variations in Wind Power”
Author: Mele, Christopher
A persistent noise of unknown origin, sometimes compared to a truck idling or distant thunder, has bedeviled a Canadian city for years, damaging people’s health and quality of life, numerous residents say.
Those who hear it have compared it to a fleet of diesel engines idling next to your home or the pulsation of a subwoofer at a concert. Others report it rattling their windows and spooking their pets.
Known as the Windsor Hum, this sound in Windsor, Ontario, near Detroit, is unpredictable in its duration, timing and intensity, making it all the more maddening for those affected.
“You know how you hear of people who have gone out to secluded places to get away from certain sounds or noises and the like?” Sabrina Wiese posted in a private Facebook group dedicated to finding the source of the noise.
“I’ve wanted to do that many times in the past year or so because it has gotten so bad,” she wrote. “Imagine having to flee all you know and love just to have a chance to hear nothing humming in your head for hours on end.”
Activists have done their own sleuthing.
Over six years, Mike Provost of Windsor, who helps run the Facebook page, has amassed more than 4,000 pages of daily observations about the duration, intensity and characteristics of the sound and the weather conditions at the time.
He has had to fend off skeptics and theorists who believe that the hum is related to secret tunneling, U.F.O.s or covert government operations, he said.
Mr. Provost, a retired insurance salesman, said his work was a blend of obsession and hobby. “I’ve got to keep going,” he said in a phone interview. “I’m not going to quit this.”
The hum is not limited to Windsor, a city of about 220,000 people on the Detroit River. Mr. Provost said he had received reports from McGregor, Ontario, 20 miles to the south, and from east of Cleveland, about 90 miles away.
Tracey Ramsey, a member of the Canadian House of Commons, said in a phone interview that she regularly gets calls from constituents about the health effects of the hum. Residents have complained of headaches, sleeplessness, irritability and depression, among other symptoms.
“It’s something they are desperate for an answer to,” she said.
Tracing the noise’s origins is complicated by who hears it, and when and where.
Tim Carpenter, a retired consulting engineer who specialized in geotechnical engineering and machine vibrations and is an administrator of the Facebook page, says not everyone can hear it.
“It’s as if you had a fire hose moving back and forth and the people who have the water falling on them hear the noise, and if you’re outside that stream, you don’t hear the noise,” he said.
Researchers have found no trends related to gender or age for the “hearers.”
Dr. Darius Kohan, the director of otology and neurotology at Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, said that the low-frequency hum was unlikely to cause long-term hearing damage but that it could be as debilitating as tinnitus, a persistent ringing in the ears.
Scott Barton, an assistant professor of music at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, said in a phone interview that infrasound, which is below 20 hertz, can create a sense of unease because it is unintelligible to human hearing but still detectable. While it is possible to be accustomed to certain noises (the hum of an air-conditioner, for example), this low-frequency noise is challenging because it has been so inconsistent, he said.
Seeking intervention by government regulators for the hum is difficult because regulations typically address decibel levels that can lead to hearing loss or damage, not those that can affect quality of life, Rebecca Smith, a sound engineer and doctoral student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who researches urban noise, wrote in an email.
“Think about the sound of a dog barking,” she said. “It doesn’t need to be loud enough to physically damage you to be really annoying and distracting.”
The University of Windsor report said the hum’s likely source was blast furnace operations on Zug Island on the Detroit River, which is densely packed with manufacturing. Activists complained that United States Steel, which operates the furnaces, has been uncooperative and secretive. A company spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.
A principal investigator on the study, Professor Colin Novak, told CBC News in 2014 that researchers needed more time and cooperation from the American authorities to pinpoint the source. “It’s like chasing a ghost,” he said.
Hums similar to Windsor’s have been reported in at least a dozen communities worldwide, including in Australia, England and Scotland, the study said. In the United States, high-profile hums have been reported in Taos, N.M., and Kokomo, Ind.
Researchers studied the Taos hum in 1993 but did not pinpoint a source. Karina Armijo, the town’s director of marketing and tourism, said in a telephone interview that complaints had subsided.
“I have never heard the Taos hum, but I’ve heard stories of the Taos hum,” she said. “There’s not been a lot of buzz about it in the last few years.”
A 2003 study in Kokomo by the acoustics and vibration consulting company Acentech prompted two industrial plants to install silencing equipment, providing relief to some residents but not all, a 2008 paper about the study said.
“In fact, one affected resident had become so disturbed that she moved more than 700 miles away to relieve her symptoms,” it said.
Mr. Carpenter said it was possible a major source of the Windsor hum could be eliminated and other mechanical sources would replace it, entering the “heard spectrum.”
“It’s possible that no matter what is done to relieve or attenuate the noise, it might never be enough,” he said.
—Christopher Meele, New York Times, Feb. 19, 2018
[NWW note: This story is reproduced here because the complaints are the same that many neighbors of large wind turbines make, and here they – as well as the physiologic effects of infrasound and low-frequency noise and the intrusive nature of pulsing noise (amplitude modulation), even at relatively low levels – are taken seriously. It might also be noted that across Lake St. Clair from Windsor there are hundreds of large wind turbines.]
Author: Freiberg, Alice; et al.
Objectives. The wind industry is a growing economic sector, yet there is no overview summarizing all exposures emanating from wind turbines throughout their life cycle that may pose a risk for workers` health. The aim of this scoping review was to survey and outline the body of evidence around the health effects of wind turbines in working environments in order to identify research gaps and to highlight the need for further research.
Methods. A scoping review with a transparent and systematic procedure was conducted using a comprehensive search strategy. Two independent reviewers conducted most of the review steps.
Results. Twenty articles of varying methodical quality were included. Our findings of the included studies indicate that substances used in rotor blade manufacture (“>epoxy resin and styrene) cause skin disorders, and respectively, respiratory ailments and eye complaints; exposure to onshore wind turbine noise leads to annoyance, sleep disorders, and lowered general health; finally working in the wind industry is associated with a considerable accident rate, resulting in injuries or fatalities.
Conclusions. Due to the different work activities during the life cycle of a wind turbine and the distinction between on- and offshore work, there are no specific overall health effects of working in the wind sector. Previous research has primarily focused on evaluating the effects of working in the wind industry on skin disorders, accidents, and noise consequences. There is a need for further research, particularly in studying the effect of wind turbine work on psychological and musculoskeletal disorders, work-related injury and accident rates, and health outcomes in later life cycle phases.
Freiberg Alice, C. Schefter, M. Girbig, V.C. Murta, and A. Seidler
Boysen TU Dresden Graduate School, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment, and Health. Published on line Jan 23, 2018. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.3711
Download original document: “Health effects of wind turbines in working environments – a scoping review”