Resource Documents: Australia (145 items)
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Author: Browne, Karen; and Hamilton, Carol
The Western Australian Government is committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. In doing so, energy companies are under increasing pressure to reduce emissions and adopt low or no carbon technologies. The South West Interconnected System has recently doubled in size and includes the 51 turbine Yandin Wind Farm opened in May 2021. Currently, there are plans underway for installation of a further 42 turbine wind farm in the Shires of Kojonup and Broomehill-Tambellup.
Rural landowners are coming under increasing pressure to facilitate the placement of wind turbines on their or adjoining properties. During construction, wind farms create jobs for local communities and in the long term, provide a cleaner, greener energy system. However, it is the terms of wind farm arrangements that are likely to have long term implications. In this alert Karen Browne and Carol Hamilton provide an overview of some of the issues which can affect landowners when entering into wind farm agreements.
The real purpose of a wind farm agreement
While a contract typically outlines the rights, duties and obligations of the parties, a wind farm agreement will typically focus on the noise and loss of amenity generated by a wind farm and require a landowner to surrender all rights it may have in relation to noise abatement in exchange for the payment of money, which may or may not be indexed to inflation.
The landowner is not paid for use of its land but rather payment is made in recognition of the adverse effects noise may have on the landowner and its farming operations.
How long will the wind farm be in place?
A wind farm agreement is unlikely to specify the duration of the wind farm but is likely to provide that the agreement will end when the turbines are decommissioned or cease to operate. Alternatively, it may provide that it will end once noise ceases to be above a certain level. It means that should the wind farm operator employ new technology which reduces noise to below a specified level, a landowner may no longer be entitled to receive payments even though the wind farm remains in operation and its land or operations remain affected.
Restrictions in the use of the land
A wind farm agreement is also likely to control how a landowner uses its affected land by prohibiting the use or development of land within a certain radius of a turbine, require caveats to be placed on the title or preventing a landowner from entering into dealings over all or part of the land without the operator’s consent. At the same time the operator will likely be unrestricted in its right to assign its interests with little or no consultation with a landowner.
Landowners prohibited from objecting to future operations
A wind farm agreement usually prohibits a landowner from objecting to any future operations, even where a landowner would have a statutory right to object with respect to applications submitted to regulatory authorities. A landowner could be prohibited from objecting to the upgrading of facilities, including the installation of larger or taller turbines.
Given the significant uncertainty with respect to the duration of a wind farm agreement and the long term effects on objecting, landowners should carefully consider the possible impacts on future land uses before entering into a wind farm agreement.
The money to be gained for hosting a wind farm or agreeing to adverse impacts from one placed on adjoining land can be an unexpected windfall for landowners; however, wind farm agreements need to be carefully crafted to compensate landowners whose land and farming operations are affected by the placement of turbines on their properties.
Karen Browne and Carol Hamilton
February 3, 2022, lexology.com
Author: Richards, Melinda
Supreme Court of Victoria, VSC 145, 25 March 2022
TORTS – Nuisance – Private
– Wind farm operated by defendant
– Plaintiffs complain noise from wind turbines disturbs sleep
– Substantial interference with plaintiffs’ enjoyment of land
– Interference is intermittent and specifically affects plaintiffs’ ability to sleep undisturbed at night
– Social and public utility of wind farm
– Whether plaintiffs hypersensitive
– Nature and established uses in locality
– Whether wind farm an established use in locality
– Whether defendant took reasonable precautions
– Noise found to be substantial and unreasonable interference with plaintiffs’ enjoyment of land.
PLANNING – Permit compliance
– Relevance of permit compliance to private nuisance claim
– Noise conditions in planning permit apply New Zealand Standard 6808:1998 Acoustics – The Assessment and Measurement of Sound from Wind Turbine Generators
– Whether wind farm complied with noise conditions in permit
– Proper interpretation of noise conditions and NZ Standard
– Role of Minister in relation to permit compliance
– Minister responsible authority for noise conditions under Planning and Environment Act 1987(Vic)
– Not for Minister to determine permit compliance
– Defendant did not establish compliance with noise conditions in permit.
– Whether damages an adequate remedy for continuing nuisance
– Damages not an adequate remedy
– Injunction restraining defendant from continuing to permit noise from wind turbines to cause nuisance at night and requiring defendant to take necessary measures to abate nuisance
– Injunction stayed for three months.
– Damages for past loss of amenity
– Aggravated damages
– High-handed conduct of defendant
– Exemplary damages not awarded.
Download original document: “Noel Uren and John Zakula v Bald Hills Wind Farm”
Author: Nguyen, Phuc; Hansen, Kristy; Zajamšek, Branko; and Catcheside, PeterNguyen, Phuc; Hansen, Kristy; Zajamšek, Branko; and Catcheside, Peter
Abstract – Wind farm noise amplitude modulation (WFNAM) is a major contributor to annoyance and could cause sleep disturbance. In laboratory listening experiments assessing its annoyance and sleep disturbance potential, WFNAM stimuli are commonly synthesised and can thus suffer from a lack of ecological validity. Here, five stimuli synthesis methods were compared with measured noise in terms of their perceived similarity. An ABX discrimination listening test and one-third octave band spectra were used for evaluation of the aural and visual similarity, respectively, between the synthesised and measured noise spectra. The results showed that synthesising WFNAM using a simple method can be ecologically valid as listeners could not accurately differentiate between measured and synthesised WFNAM. However, time varying features of WFNAM do play a small but significant role in human perception and therefore hearing test evaluation of synthesis is recommended for obtaining the most ecologically valid synthesised WFNAM.
Duc Phuc Nguyen, Kristy Hansen, College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
Branko Zajamsek, Peter Catcheside, Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
Applied Acoustics, Volume 166, September 2020, 107349.
Download original document: “Evaluation of wind farm noise amplitude modulation synthesis quality”
Wind farm infrasound detectability and its effects on the perception of wind farm noise amplitude modulation
ABSTRACT – Some residents attribute adverse effects to the presence of wind farm (WF) infrasound. However, dominant features of windfarm noise such as infrasound, tonality and amplitude modulation span the average human hearing threshold, so attribution to infrasound is problematic. This study used a combination of pre-recorded noise stimuli, measured at 3.2 km from a wind farm, in laboratory-based listening tests to investigate human perception of infrasound and amplitude modulation at realistic sound pressure levels in a group of 14 participants. Although a small sample size warrants cautious interpretation, preliminary results suggest differential effects between self-reported non-sensitive versus noise-sensitive participants, where the latter detected infrasound above chance. Infrasound did not affect the perception of amplitude modulation. Larger studies remain needed to clarify these findings.
Duc Phuc Nguyen, Kristy Hansen, College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
Branko Zajamsek, Gorica Micic, Peter Catcheside, Adelaide Institute for Sleep Health, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia
Presented at the Australian Acoustical Society Annual Conference, Acoustics 2019.
Download original document: “Wind farm infrasound detectability and its effects on the perception of wind farm noise amplitude modulation”
Author: Hansen, Kristy; Nguyen, Phuc; Zajamšek, Branko; Catcheside, Peter; and Hansen, Colin
ABSTRACT – The presence of amplitude modulation (AM) in wind farm noise has been shown to result in increased annoyance. Therefore, it is important to determine how often this characteristic is present at residential locations near a wind farm. This study investigates the prevalence and characteristics of wind farm AM at 9 different residences located near a South Australian wind farm that has been the subject of complaints from local residents. It is shown that an audible indoor low-frequency tone was amplitude modulated at the blade-pass frequency for 20% of the time up to a distance of 2.4 km. The audible AM occurred for a similar percentage of time between wind farm percentage power capacities of 40 and 85%, indicating that it is important that AM analysis is not restricted to high power output conditions only. Although the number of AM events is shown to reduce with distance, audible indoor AM still occurred for 16% of the time at a distance of 3.5 km. At distances of 7.6 and 8.8 km, audible AM was only detected on one occasion. At night-time, audible AM occurred indoors at residences located as far as 3.5 km from the wind farm for up to 22% of the time.
Kristy L. Hansen, Phuc Nguyen, College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University, Tonsley, Australia
Branko Zajamšek, Peter Catcheside, College of Medicine, Flinders University, Bedford Park, Australia
Colin H. Hansen, School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Adelaide, Australia
Journal of Sound and Vibration 455 (2019) 136–149. doi: 10.1016/j.jsv.2019.05.008
Download original document: “Prevalence of wind farm amplitude modulation at long-range residential locations”