Resource Documents: Canada (32 items)
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Author: West, Michael
Despite their generally positive reputation as sources of clean, safe energy, Industrial Wind Turbines (IWTs) do have their critics. For years, residents living in the vicinity of IWT clusters have reported a variety of physical ailments which they attribute to the sounds and vibrations emanating from wind turbines (Kelley, 1985; CBC.ca, 2011). Noise bylaws, setback distances and other regulations applied to IWTs appear to be based on analysis methods used historically with industrial applications, where noise tends to be constant or semi-constant and in the audible range. The noise generated by IWTs is quite different – spiky and high amplitude – like an exploration seismic source pulse, and mainly found in low frequencies not detectable by human hearing (i.e. infrasound or “below hearing”). This article looks at the signals generated by IWTs from a geophysicist’s perspective. …
The analysis of the operating IWTs on the ground and the seismic and air-pulse recordings confirms that large horizontal axis Industrial Wind Turbines act like airgun seismic sources that create low frequency pulses approximately once per second. The audible part of the air pulse makes a sound like “whump” so, as per geophysical industry tradition, we should name the IWT a “whumper” seismic source (as opposed to a thumper or puffer which would require a faster rise-time on the pulse). Most of the amplitude of the pulse exists at frequencies below the audible range, so a person stopping by the roadside to listen to an IWT may not hear anything and is likely to think that they make no significant “noise” at all.
Two aspects of IWT-generated noise do not appear to have been adequately accounted for in the creation of regulations for the IWT industry: that the noise contains many spurious, high amplitude spikes, and that it is mainly found in the low, infrasonic frequencies. An impulsive noise source such as an IWT requires amplitude measurements over short time windows like 1 second and little or no averaging of data during analysis. Long analysis time windows and averaging amplitude over 1/3 octave band frequency ranges is an acoustics industry testing method appropriate only for higher frequency “whirring” machines like diesel generators or milling machines. Current Ontario Government regulations do not include testing frequencies lower than 31.5 Hz. “Noise” testing procedures for regulation of IWTs should be revised to include all low frequencies created by the IWTs because the low frequency events contain the most power and highest amplitudes.
Conversion of non-weighted peak pulse amplitudes from the microphone recording in Figure 9, at 550 meters offset in 20 kph winds including the full frequency range to 1 Hz, revealed peak Sound Pressure Levels of 65 dB or more. Additionally, the SPL noise limit specification should not be increased with increased wind speed as this makes no sense. Governments and agencies tasked with the regulation of IWT installations should review and revise their testing protocols, so that regulations that reliably protect the health of people and animals living in the vicinity of IWTs can be implemented.
Michael West, P. Geoph., B.Sc., GDM
Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists | Recorder, Jun 2019, Vol. 44, No. 04
Download original document: “The Industrial Wind Turbine Seismic Source”
Author: Palmer, William
Wind turbines are often perceived as benign. This can be attributed to the population majority dwelling in urban locations distant from most wind turbines. Society may understate the risk to individuals living near turbines due to an overstatement of the perceived benefits of turbines, and an understatement of the risk of injury from falling turbine parts, or shed ice. Flaws in risk calculation may be attributed to a less than fully developed safety culture. Indications of this are the lack of a comprehensive industry failure database, and safety limits enabling the industry growth, but not protective of the public. A comprehensive study of wind turbine failures and risks in the Canadian province of Ontario gives data to enable validation of existing failure models. Failure probabilities are calculated, to show risk on personal property, or in public spaces. Repeated failures, and inadequate safety separation show public safety is not currently assured. A method of calculating setbacks from wind turbines to mitigate public risk is shown. Wind turbines with inadequate setbacks can adversely impact public health both directly from physical risk and indirectly by irritation from loss of safe use of property. Physical public safety setbacks are separate from larger setbacks required to prevent irritation from noise and other stressors, particularly when applied to areas of learning, rest and recuperation. The insights provided by this paper can assist the industry to enhance its image and improve its operation, as well as helping regulators set safety guidelines assuring protection of the public.
William K.G. Palmer, Journal of Energy Conservation – 2018;1(1):41-78
Download original document: “Wind Turbine Public Safety Risk, Direct and Indirect Health Impacts”
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”
Derivation and application of a composite annoyance reaction construct based on multiple wind turbine features
Author: Michaud, David; et al.
Objectives: Noise emissions from wind turbines are one of multiple wind turbine features capable of generating annoyance that ranges in magnitude from not at all annoyed to extremely annoyed. No analysis to date can simultaneously reflect the change in all magnitudes of annoyance toward multiple wind turbine features. The primary objective in this study was to use principal component analysis (PCA) to provide a single construct for overall annoyance to wind turbines based on reactions to noise, blinking lights, shadow flicker, visual impacts, and vibrations evaluated as a function of proximity to wind turbines.
Methods: The analysis was based on data originally collected as part of Health Canada’s cross-sectional Community Noise & Health Study (CNHS). One adult participant (18–79 years), randomly selected from dwellings in Ontario (ON) (n = 1011) and Prince Edward Island (PEI) (n = 227), completed an in-person questionnaire. Content relevant to the current analysis included the annoyance responses to wind turbines.
Results: The first construct tested in the PCA explained 58–69% of the variability in total annoyance. Reduced distance to turbines was associated with elevated aggregate annoyance scores among ON and PEI participants. In the ON sample, aggregate annoyance was effectively absent in areas beyond 5 km (mean 0.12; 95% CI 0.00, 1.19), increasing significantly between 2 and 5 km (mean 2.13; 95% CI 0.92, 3.33), remaining elevated, but with no further increase until (0.550–1] km (mean 3.37; 95% CI 3.02, 3.72). At ≤ 0.550 km, the average overall annoyance was 3.36 (95% CI 2.03, 4.69). In PEI, aggregate annoyance was essentially absent beyond 1 km; i.e., (1–2] km (mean 0.21; 95%CI 0.00, 0.88); 2–5 km (mean 0.00; 95%CI 0.00, 1.37); > 5 km (mean 0.00; 95%CI 0.00, 1.58). Annoyance significantly increased in areas between (0.550 and 1] km (mean 1.59; 95%CI 1.02, 2.15) and was highest within 550 m (mean 4.25; 95% CI 3.34, 5.16).
Conclusion: The advantages and disadvantages to an aggregated annoyance analysis, including how it should not yet be considered a substitute for relationships based on changes in high annoyance, are discussed.
David S. Michaud & James McNamee, Non-Ionizing Radiation Health Sciences Division, Consumer and Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau, Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate, Health Canada
Leonora Marro, Biostatistics Section, Population Studies Division, Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau, Health Canada
Canadian Journal of Public Health (2018) 109:242–251
Download original document: “Derivation and application of a composite annoyance reaction construct based on multiple wind turbine features”