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Resource Documents: Impacts (125 items)


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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.

Date added:  October 23, 2018
Ireland, WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Effects of development of wind energy and associated changes in land use on bird densities in upland areas

Author:  Fernández‐Bellon, Darío; et al.

Wind energy development is the most recent of many pressures on upland bird communities and their habitats. Studies of birds in relation to wind energy development have focused on effects of direct mortality, but the importance of indirect effects (e.g., displacement, habitat loss) on avian community diversity and stability is increasingly being recognized. We used a control‐impact study in combination with a gradient design to assess the effects of wind farms on upland bird densities and on bird species grouped by habitat association (forest and open‐habitat species). We conducted 506 point count surveys at 12 wind‐farm and 12 control sites in Ireland during 2 breeding seasons (2012 and 2013). Total bird densities were lower at wind farms than at control sites, and the greatest differences occurred close to turbines. Densities of forest species were significantly lower within 100 m of turbines than at greater distances, and this difference was mediated by habitat modifications associated with wind‐farm development. In particular, reductions in forest cover adjacent to turbines was linked to the observed decrease in densities of forest species. Open‐habitat species’ densities were lower at wind farms but were not related to distance from turbines and were negatively related to size of the wind farm. This suggests that, for these species, wind‐farm effects may occur at a landscape scale. Our findings indicate that the scale and intensity of the displacement effects of wind farms on upland birds depends on bird species’ habitat associations and that the observed effects are mediated by changes in land use associated with wind‐farm construction. This highlights the importance of construction effects and siting of turbines, tracks, and other infrastructure in understanding the impacts of wind farms on biodiversity.

Darío Fernández‐Bellon, Mark W. Wilson, Sandra Irwin, John O’Halloran
School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University College Cork, Ireland

First published: 22 October 2018; https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13239

Download original document: “Effects of development of wind energy and associated changes in land use on bird densities in upland areas

Download supplemental information: Details on site locations (Appendix S1), survey methods and density calculations (Appendix S2), and bird species recorded and their conservation status and densities (Appendix S3)

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Date added:  October 18, 2018
Health, NoisePrint storyE-mail story

Health effects of ultra-low frequency sound and noise by wind power generation facilities

Author:  Ishitake, Tatsuya

We investigated whether long-term exposure to low-frequency noise generated by wind power facilities is a risk factor for sleep disorders. We performed an epidemiological study of the living environment and health effects of such noise by surveying 9,000 residents (≥20 years of age) living in areas with operational wind power facilities. Sleep disorders were assessed using the Athens Insomnia Scale. To assess environmental noise in residential areas near wind turbines, infrasound and low-frequency sound exposure levels were measured at 50 community centers of a town. The prevalence of sleep disorders was significantly higher among residents who reported subjectively hearing noise (by approximately twofold) than among those who did not. Moreover, the reported prevalence of sleep disorders was significantly higher (by approximately twofold) among residents living at a distance of ≤1,500 m from the nearest wind turbine than among residents living at a distance of ≥2,000 m, suggesting a dose-response relationship. The attitudes of residents towards wind power facilities strongly affected their responses regarding sleep disorder prevalence. It is highly likely that audible noise generated by wind power facilities is a risk factor for sleep disorders. Obtaining a satisfactory consensus from local residents before installing wind power facilities is important as for more amenable their attitudes towards such facilities. [Article in Japanese]

Tatsuya Ishitake, Department of Environmental Medicine, Kurume University School of Medicine

Nihon Eiseigaku Zasshi [Japanese Journal of Hygiene]. 2018;73(3):298-304. doi: 10.1265/jjh.73.298.

Download original document: “風力発電施設による超低周波音・騒音の健康影響

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Date added:  October 17, 2018
Denmark, Health, NoisePrint storyE-mail story

Pregnancy exposure to wind turbine noise and adverse birth outcomes: a nationwide cohort study

Author:  Harbo Paulsen, Aslak; et al.



Noise from wind turbines (WTs) is reported as more annoying than traffic noise at similar levels, raising concerns as to whether WT noise (WTN) may negatively affect health, as reported for traffic noise. We aimed to investigate whether residential WTN is associated with adverse birth outcomes. Based on national registries, we identified all Danish dwellings situated within ≤ 20 wt heights radius and a random selection of 25% of dwellings situated within 20–40 wt heights radius of a WT. We identified 135,795 pregnant women living in the dwellings from 1982 to 2013, and collected information on gestational age and birth weight from a national birth registry. Using data on WT type and simulated hourly wind at each WT, we estimated hourly outdoor and low frequency (LF) indoor WTN at the dwellings of the pregnant women and aggregated as mean nighttime WTN during pregnancy. We used logistic regression with adjustment for individual and area-level covariates for the analyses. We did not find evidence suggesting that mean pregnancy or trimester-specific exposure to outdoor or indoor LF WTN were associated with any of the three adverse birth outcomes investigated: preterm birth (n = 13,003), term small for gestational age (n = 12,220) or term low birth weight (n = 1127). However, the number of cases in the highest exposure categories of ≥  42 dB outdoor WTN or ≥ 15 dB indoor LF WTN were low for all outcomes (n between 0 and 31). The present study does not support an association between nighttime WTN and adverse birth outcomes. However, there were few cases in the high exposure groups and the results call for reproduction.

Aslak Harbo Poulsen
Ole Raaschou-Nielsen
Alfredo Peña
Andrea N. Hahmann
Rikke Baastrup Nordsborg
Matthias Ketzel
Jørgen Brandt
Mette Sørensen

  • Diet, Genes and Environment (A.H.P., Ol.R.-N., R.B.N., M.S.), Danish Cancer Society Research Center, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • DTU Wind Energy (A.P., A.N.H.), Technical University of Denmark, Roskilde, Denmark
  • Department of Environmental Science (O.R.-N., J.B.), Aarhus University, Roskilde, Denmark
  • Department of Natural Science and Environment (M.S.), Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark

Environmental Research, Volume 167, November 2018, Pages 770-775

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Date added:  October 16, 2018
Canada, Noise, TechnologyPrint storyE-mail story

Wind turbine low frequency and infrasound propagation and sound pressure level calculations at dwellings

Author:  Keith, Stephen; et al.

This study was developed to estimate wind turbine low frequency and infrasound levels at 1238 dwellings in Health Canada’s Community Noise and Health Study. In field measurements, spectral peaks were identifiable for distances up to 10 km away from wind turbines at frequencies from 0.5 to 70 Hz. These measurements, combined with onsite meteorology, were in agreement with calculations using Parabolic Equation (PE) and Fast Field Program (FFP). Since onsite meteorology was not available for the Health Canada study, PE and FFP calculations used Harmonoise weather classes and field measurements of wind turbine infrasound to estimate yearly averaged sound pressure levels. For comparison, infrasound propagation was also estimated using ISO 9613-2 (1996) calculations for 63 Hz. In the Health Canada study, to a distance of 4.5 km, long term average FFP calculations were highly correlated with the ISO based calculations. This suggests that ISO 9613-2 (1996) could be an effective screening method. Both measurements and FFP calculations showed that beyond 1 km, ISO based calculations could underestimate sound pressure levels. FFP calculations would be recommended for large distances, when there are large numbers of wind turbines, or when investigating specific meteorological classes.

Stephen E. Keith, Non Ionizing Radiation Physical Sciences Division, Consumer & Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau, Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate, Health Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Gilles A. Daigle, Michael R. Stinson, MG Acoustics, Carlsbad Springs, Ontario, Canada

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 144, 981 (2018); https://doi.org/10.1121/1.5051331

Download original document: “Wind turbine low frequency and infrasound propagation and sound pressure level calculations at dwellings

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