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Resource Documents: New Zealand (19 items)

RSSNew Zealand

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:  September 29, 2011
Health, New Zealand, Noise, SitingPrint storyE-mail story

Evaluating the impact of wind turbine noise on health-related quality of life

Author:  Shepherd, Daniel; McBride, David; Welch, David; Dirks, Kim; and Hill, Erin

We report a cross-sectional study comparing the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of individuals residing in the proximity of a wind farm to those residing in a demographically matched area sufficiently displaced from wind turbines. The study employed a nonequivalent comparison group posttest-only design. Self-administered questionnaires, which included the brief version of the World Health Organization quality of life scale, were delivered to residents in two adjacent areas in semirural New Zealand. Participants were also asked to identify annoying noises, indicate their degree of noise sensitivity, and rate amenity. Statistically significant differences were noted in some HRQOL domain scores, with residents living within 2 km of a turbine installation reporting lower overall quality of life, physical quality of life, and environmental quality of life. Those exposed to turbine noise also reported significantly lower sleep quality, and rated their environment as less restful. Our data suggest that wind farm noise can negatively impact facets of HRQOL.

A thorough investigation of wind turbine noise and its effects on health is important given the prevalence of exposed individuals, a nontrivial number that is increasing with the popularity of wind energy. For example, in the Netherlands it is reported that 440,000 inhabitants (2.5% of the population) are exposed to significant levels of wind turbine noise. Additionally, policy makers are demanding more information on the possible link between wind turbines and health in order to inform setback distances. Our results suggest that utility-scale wind energy generation is not without adverse health impacts on nearby residents. Thus, nations undertaking large-scale deployment of wind turbines need to consider the impact of noise on the HRQOL of exposed individuals. Along with others, we conclude that night-time wind turbine noise limits should be set conservatively to minimize harm, and, on the basis of our data, suggest that setback distances need to be greater than 2 km in hilly terrain.

Noise & Health, September-October 2011, 13:54,333-9

Daniel Shepherd, Erin M. Hill
Department of Psychology, School of Public Health, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand

David McBride
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

David Welch, Kim N. Dirks
School of Population Health, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Download original document: “Evaluating the impact of wind turbine noise on health-related quality of life

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Date added:  February 6, 2011
Health, New Zealand, NoisePrint storyE-mail story

Impact of Turbine Noise on Health and Well-Being

Author:  Shepherd, Daniel

Wind turbines are a new source of community noise, and as such their effects on public health are only beginning to emerge in the literature. The recognition of a new disease, disorder, or threat to health usually follows a set pathway. First, doctors and practitioners attempt to fit symptoms into pre-defined diagnostic categories or to classify the complaints as psychosomatic. Second, as evidence accumulates, case studies begin to appear in the literature, and exploratory research is undertaken to obtain better descriptions of the symptoms/complaints. Third, intensive research is undertaken examining the distribution and prevalence of those reporting symptoms, the factors correlating with the distribution and prevalence of those symptoms, and ultimately to cause-and-effect explanations of why those reporting symptoms may be doing so.

In my reading of the literature the health effects of wind turbines are only beginning to be elucidated, and is caught somewhere between the first and second stages described in 2.3. The important point to note is that case studies (e.g., Harry, 2007; Pierpont, 2009) and correlational studies (e.g., Pedersen et al., 2007; van den Berg, 2008) have already emerged in relation to the health effects of wind turbine noise, and so the possibility of detrimental health effects due to wind turbine noise must be taken with utmost seriousness. In this statement I present the results of a pilot study conducted in and around the Makara Valley that likewise urges a cautious approach to turbine placement.

Finally, as with other noise sources there is individual variation in regards to the effects of wind turbine noise. However, it is a fallacy to argue that because only some suffer symptoms while others do not then those who claim to be suffering the symptoms must be making them up. In the field of epidemiology the differential susceptibility of individuals are known as risk factors, and assuming that individuals of a population can be represented by the average characteristics of the population is known as the ecological inference fallacy. In terms of wind turbine noise these risk factors are still under study, and one important risk factor is noise sensitivity. In assessing the health impact of turbine noise in the Ohariu Valley it is crucial that noise sensitive individuals be assessed in isolation and not ‘averaged out’. …

Download original document: “Impact of Turbine Noise on Health and Well-Being

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Date added:  July 6, 2010
New Zealand, Noise, TechnologyPrint storyE-mail story

Sound, Noise, Flicker and the Human Perception of Wind Farm Activity

Author:  Atkinson and Rapley Consulting

The explosion of wind farms worldwide has brought with it a rising tide of resistance from residents near them. Complaints about noise and flicker, as well as health problems such as sleep disturbance, headaches, dizziness, anxiety and depression, are all strikingly similar. Developers are advised by experts that the noise levels are virtually undetectable and so low that sound cannot directly cause these symptoms and that these people are naturally anxious.

Why is there such a disparity between the perception of the issue from the two groups? Part of the problem is that the physics of sound and the human perception of noise are still not well understood by many. There is a great difference between being able to measure something and a person’s perception of it and the variation between individuals is never well accounted for by a statistical mean. This can split communities into the affected and the unaffected, the latter group who, due to no fault of their own, cannot understand the views of those who complain. Yet, for those adversely affected by the wind farm placement, there is no doubt about the intrusion into their lives.

This monograph brings together the many threads that are needed to explain these issues as a series of Papers from experts dealing with issues of human perception of wind farm noise and flicker. The intent is to make this material accessible to the layman, so many of the papers have extended introductions to the subject areas.

Click here to contact the publisher to order a copy, or click the button below to purchase the book using PayPal: NZ$99.95 (International Air Parcel Post NZ$25)


Click here for excerpts of the first pages of all chapters.

Introduction to Sound, Noise, Flicker and the Human Perception of Wind Farm Activity – Mr Bruce Rapley, Editor

Wind Farms and Health
Wind Turbine Noise and Health in the New Zealand Context – Dr Daniel Shepherd
Hearing and Personal Response to Sound – Dr Bob Thorne
Blade Flicker, Shadow Flicker, Glint: Potential Hazards of Wind Turbines – Dr David McBride & Mr Bruce Rapley
Health, Wellbeing, Annoyance and Amenity – Dr Bob Thorne
Environmental Risk, New Zealand Legislation and Standards – Dr Bob Thorne
Synopsis of Assessing Intrusive Noise and Low Amplitude Sound – Dr Bob Thorne
Wind Farms: The Potential for Annoyance – Dr Bob Thorne

Community Perceptions of Wind Farms
Community Perception and Acceptance of Wind Farms – Dr Bob Thorne
Individuals’ Perception of Wind Farm Sounds – Dr Bob Thorne

Economic Assessment of Wind Farms
The ‘Achilles Heel’ of Renewable Energy: Long Term Storage – Mr Bryan Leyland
Deriving the Real Cost of Wind Power – Mr Bryan Leyland
Noise Mitigation: The Valuation of Noise – Dr Bob Thorne

Wind Turbine Noise Assessment and Prediction
Sounds from Wind Turbines: Theory, Practice, Assumptions, and Reality – Professor Philip J Dickinson
Technical Standards Relating to Wind Farm Acoustics – Dr Daniel Shepherd
Noise from Wind Turbines – Dr Bob Thorne
Seismic Effects on Residents from Wind Turbines – Dr Huub Bakker, Dr David Bennett, Mr Bruce Rapley & Dr Bob Thorne
Sound Characteristics of Multiple Wind Turbines; Interpreting sonograms (additional excerpt) – Dr Huub Bakker & Mr Bruce Rapley
Wind Farm Vibration Analysis – Dr John Heilig
The Character of the Local Environment – Dr Bob Thorne
Instrumentation and Methods of Analysis – Dr Bob Thorne
Modelling Wind Farm Noise – Mr Mark Simpson
Predicted Sound Levels from the Turitea Wind Farm – Dr Bob Thorne

Wind Farm Noise Management
Wind Farm Noise Management Conditions – Dr Bob Thorne and Mr Max Thorne

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Date added:  November 21, 2009
New Zealand, WildlifePrint storyE-mail story

Bird species of concern at wind farms in New Zealand

Author:  Powlesland, R.G.

Wind generation currently contributes about 1.5% of New Zealand’s energy production, but the forecast rapid expansion in wind farm construction is likely to take this to close to 20% over the next 10 years. To date, no published studies are available giving accounts of the impacts of wind farms on birdlife in New Zealand; therefore, part of the challenge is to determine which species are likely to be adversely affected by wind farm construction and operation here. This resource document provides a brief summary of the threat ranking, distribution and movements of native and migrant bird species on the North and South Islands of New Zealand, and the potential impacts that wind farms may have on them (displacement, habitat loss and collision fatalities). The following species warrant particular consideration when present as residents in the vicinity of a wind farm, or when likely to be moving through a wind farm area on migration or during local movements: all kiwi, Australasian crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus), all penguins, threatened species of herons and allies, blue duck (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos), brown teal (Anas aucklandica), New Zealand falcon (Falco novaeseelandiae), waders (Charadrii), and cuckoos. More research is required into the migratory behaviour of several native species to determine which wind farm sites are most likely to result in collision fatalities. In addition, data on the rates of avoidance of wind turbines by birds flying through wind farms is required, especially for those undertaking nocturnal migrations. The number of collision fatalities at New Zealand wind farms needs to be determined using systematic searches that take account of searcher efficiency and scavenger activity.

September 2009

New Zealand Department of Conservation Research & Development Series 317

Download original document: “Bird species of concern at wind farms in New Zealand

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