The author first became aware of the adverse health problems associated with infrasound many years ago in 1974, when an aero-engine manufacturer approached him to consider the problems that office personnel were experiencing close to engine test facilities. He had been conducting research into the active control of sound, and the question was posed as to whether active sound control could be used to address this problem. At that time, this research was in its infancy, and the scale of the problem clearly lay outside practical implementation. Five years later, however, the author was asked to address a related problem associated with the low-frequency noise of a 15,000SHP ground-based gas-turbine compressor installation, having a 40 foot high, 10 foot diameter exhaust stack. This problem was of a more tractable scale, and the author and his colleagues successfully reduced the low-frequency noise of the installation by over 12dB. He subsequently was requested to address a similar installation of significantly greater size and power, again with accurately predicted results.
As a consequence of this and subsequent work, the author has gained considerable experience of the disturbing effects of low-frequency noise and infrasound. So when he first became aware of the nature of adverse health reports from windfarm residents, they were immediately recognisable as effects with which he had been familiar for as many as 35 years.
Since late 2009, the author has lived part-time within a Michigan community where windturbines have been increasingly deployed. Consequently he has had significant interaction with residents whose lives and well-being have been damaged, and moreover has experienced the associated very severe effects directly, at first hand. His resultant perspective is thus based on both detailed theoretical analysis, and extensive personal, practical experience.
M.A. Swinbanks, MAS Research Ltd, Cambridge, U.K.
Presented at Wind Turbine Noise 2015, Glasgow, 20–23 April
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