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Resource Documents: Noise (681 items)


(noise inside entry vestibule at midnight, 3 1.5-MW GE turbines 1500 feet downwind, Bliss, N.Y.)

Also see NWW press release on noise

Unless indicated otherwise, documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are shared here 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. • The copyrights reside with the sources indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations.

Date added:  February 11, 2023
Noise, Regulations, U.K.Print storyE-mail story

Review of noise guidance for onshore wind turbines: report for UK government

Author:  WSP

This study aimed to answer the question: in view of government policies on noise and commitments to Net Zero, should the existing ETSU-R-97 noise assessment guidance for wind turbines be updated, and if so, how?

Onshore wind is recognised as one of the lowest-cost sources of renewable electricity generation. A sustained growth in capacity is also seen as a keen enabler of the UK government’s commitment to deliver a net zero economy by 2050.

Using our expertise in acoustics, planning and environmental assessments for renewables, we delivered this study on behalf of the UK government Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to review the UK onshore commercial wind turbine noise assessment guidance (a document known as ETSU-R-97).

Since the ETSU-R-97 guidance was published in 1996, the context has changed:

Our report recommends key areas of the guidance that would benefit from being updated, and provides recommendations for further evidence needed to support updates identified. These include revisiting the framework of noise limits, and establishing new guidance to support assessment and control of the potential impact of AM.

Our recommendations will help to ensure that guidance for local planning authorities, developers and operators is the most relevant and up-to-date possible, supporting robust planning and assessment processes for managing the potential impacts of noise from wind turbines, which in turn will contribute to sustainable delivery of onshore wind energy.

How did we approach the study?

WSP’s acoustics team worked closely with a steering group including BEIS, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, and the Northern Ireland Executive.

The study comprised three workstreams:

The evidence review employed two stages of systematic literature search and screening of a wide range of publications identified from peer-reviewed literature databases, scientific conferences, official reports, guidelines and standards. In total, 132 publications were reviewed for evidence relevant to the research.

The stakeholder engagement survey included a questionnaire, and focus interviews with identified key stakeholders. In total 32 organisations responded to the questionnaire and 6 key stakeholders were interviewed.

The field measurement exercise collected a ‘snapshot’ of wind turbine sound data from seven wind farm sites during conditions thought likely to enable the detection of amplitude modulation at ranges representative of wind farm neighbours.

What is amplitude modulation?

A feature of wind turbine sound commonly known as amplitude modulation (AM). This is a regular fluctuation of the sound level associated with the passage of the blades. It is often described subjectively as a ‘swish’ or ‘whoomph’ sound.

Areas for increased focus:

Our analysis indicates that the existing guidance would benefit from updating in two key areas:

  1. Noise limits: The ‘noise limits’ defined in the ETSU-R-97 guidance are based on information that reflected the state of knowledge and turbine technology at the time. The research indicates that these should be revisited in view of advancements in onshore wind turbine technology, knowledge and scientific evidence of the potential impact of wind turbine noise, and the evolution of government noise policies in each of the devolved administrations of the UK. These developments could be reflected in a new framework for assessment and control of noise impact, in terms of addressing health outcomes and expected behavioural responses associated with wind turbine noise.
  2. Amplitude modulation guidance: The research also indicates that the current ETSU-R-97 guidance does not fully address the potential impact of AM in wind turbine sound. The evidence identified in the study, including indicative information from the field measurements, suggests that the assumptions about AM adopted in ETSU-R-97 do not fully represent the nature of AM as experienced and measured. Existing evidence could be used to help develop suitable guidance on controlling AM, and stakeholder views suggest this would be welcomed.

Our report also includes recommendations on further areas of the guidance likely to benefit from updating to reflect the latest evidence addressing methods of measurement, prediction, data analysis, assessment and control for wind turbine sound and noise.

Recommendations for future studies:

Our report for BEIS identifies further key evidence needed to support some of the recommended updates, and to inform planning and consenting around onshore wind farms in the UK, including:

Attaining suitably robust evidence to support guidance updates is likely to require government, industry, academia and other stakeholder groups to work together to achieve mutual interests in providing local planning authorities, environmental protection departments, developers and operators with the most relevant and up-to-date guidance possible for planning and assessing noise from wind turbines. Achieving this aim will ensure the effective management of the potential impacts of wind farm noise, while supporting government objectives for achieving Net Zero.

The findings of the study must be considered within the context of its strengths and limitations, which are detailed and discussed in the report. The authors would like to stress that this review represents only an initial step in any process of updating the existing guidance that may be decided on in the future; the report itself does not provide new guidance or supersede any parts of the current policy or guidance frameworks in place in any of the devolved administrations.

Download original document: “A review of noise guidance for onshore wind turbines

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Date added:  February 11, 2023
NoisePrint storyE-mail story

Benchmark characterisation and automated detection of wind farm noise amplitude modulation

Author:  Nguyen, Phuc; Hansen, Kristy; Lechat, Bastien; Catcheside, Peter; Zajamsek, Branko; and Hansen, Colin

[Abstract] Amplitude modulation (AM) is a characteristic feature of wind farm noise and has the potential to contribute to annoyance and sleep disturbance. Detection, quantification and characterisation of AM is relevant for regulatory bodies that seek to reduce adverse impacts of wind farm noise and for researchers and wind farm developers that aim to understand and account for this phenomenon. We here present an approach to detect and characterise AM in a comprehensive and long-term wind farm noise data set using human scoring. We established benchmark AM characteristics, which are important for validation and calibration of results obtained using automated methods. We further proposed an advanced AM detection method, which has a predictive power close to the practical limit set by human scoring. Human-based approaches should be considered as benchmark methods for characterising and detecting unique noise features.

Phuc D. Nguyen, Kristy L. Hansen, Bastien Lechat, College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University, Australia
Peter Catcheside, Branko Zajamsek, Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health, Flinders University
Colin H. Hansen, School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Adelaide

Applied Acoustics, Volume 183, 1 December 2021, 108286
doi: 10.1016/j.apacoust.2021.108286

Download original document: “Benchmark characterisation and automated detection of wind farm noise amplitude modulation

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Date added:  February 11, 2023
NoisePrint storyE-mail story

Long-term quantification and characterisation of wind farm noise amplitude modulation

Author:  Nguyen, Phuc; Hansen, Kristy; Catcheside, Peter; Hansen, Colin; and Zajamsek, Branko

[Abstract] The large-scale expansion of wind farms has prompted community debate regarding adverse impacts of wind farm noise (WFN). One of the most annoying and potentially sleep disturbing components of WFN is amplitude modulation (AM). Here we quantified and characterised AM over one year using acoustical and meteorological data measured at three locations near three wind farms. We found that the diurnal variation of outdoor AM prevalence was substantial, whereby the nighttime prevalence was approximately 2 to 5 times higher than the daytime prevalence. On average, indoor AM occurred during the nighttime from 1.1 to 1.7 times less often than outdoor AM, but the indoor AM depth was higher than that measured outdoors. We observed an association between AM prevalence and sunset and sunrise. AM occurred more often during downwind and crosswind conditions. These findings provide important insights into long term WFN characteristics that will help to inform future WFN assessment guidelines.

Phuc D. Nguyen, Kristy L. Hansen, College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University, Australia
Peter Catcheside, Branko Zajamsek, Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health, Flinders University
Colin H. Hansen, School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Adelaide

Measurement, Volume 182, September 2021, 109678
doi: 10.1016/j.measurement.2021.109678

Download original document: “Long-term quantification and characterisation of wind farm noise amplitude modulation

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Date added:  November 5, 2022
NoisePrint storyE-mail story

Ground motions induced by wind turbines

Author:  Nagel, Sven; et al.

Abstract – Wind flow transfers forces to the wind turbine’s rotor blades. These then set the rotor in motion. The hub and the gearbox, where present, transfer this rotational energy to the generator for conversion into electrical power. All the rotating components have significant mass and are located at the head of a slender, elastic load-bearing tower in which they induce dynamic effects. The resulting vibrations, generated at the upper end of the tower, are modified by the dynamic properties of the tower structure and pass through the foundations into the ground. Broadband seismometers record these ground vibrations not only directly adjacent to the wind turbine but also at greater distances of (up to) several kilometers from the turbine. We are aware that local residents and opponents of wind power consider that these vibration phenomena bear potential negative health effects. In the context of this paper, seismic vibrations were measured at the foundation of a 2 MW reference turbine. These seismic signals were compared to numerical simulations. Based on this, we explain the physical background. In the past, any ground vibrations measured have usually been attributed exclusively to the excitation frequencies from the rotor. However, the investigations presented here show that the structural properties of the tower structure significantly influence the type and intensity of the vibrations induced in the ground and dominate the ground motion amplitudes. Finally, we show that the targeted use of absorbers can significantly reduce the vibrations induced in the ground.

Ground motions induced by wind turbines

Sven Nagel, Thomas Ummenhofer, Peter Knödel, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Stahl- und Leichtbau, Karlsruhe, Germany
Toni Zieger, Joachim Ritter, Geophysikalisches Institut, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Karlsruhe, Germany
Birger Luhmann, Stuttgarter Lehrstuhl für Windenergie, Institut für Flugzeugbau, Universität Stuttgart, Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany

Civil Engineering Design. 2021;3:73–86. doi:10.1002/cend.202100015

Download original document: “Ground motions induced by wind turbines

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