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.
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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
This material is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.
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