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Wind turbine sound limits: Current status and recommendations based on mitigating noise annoyance  

Author:  | Australia, Noise, Regulations

Abstract:
This paper describes existing wind turbine sound limits in Australian states and several other countries with similar constraints, how these were established and a method that could facilitate their harmonisation. Most existing limits appear to have been adopted to avoid sleep disturbance using data derived from sound sources other than wind turbines. This seems to have been a reasonable approach at the time of their adoption because of the paucity of other suitable data. More recently the concept of “annoyance” has been used to encapsulate negative reactions to wind turbine sound. Many studies have now demonstrated a significant relationship between annoyance and wind turbine sound level, whether or not sound was the major source of the annoyance. Thus there is a logical basis for now deriving a wind turbine sound limit based on limiting annoyance. This paper describes such an approach. The derived limit is compared to existing Australian and international limits. Its value lies within the range of these other limits. It provides a method for harmonisation of future limits based on direct assessments of human response to wind turbine sound.

John L. Davy, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, Victoria, Australia
Kym Burgemeister, Arup Acoustics, East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
David Hillman, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, Western Australia, Australia

Applied Acoustics
Volume 140, November 2018, Pages 288-295
doi: 10.1016/j.apacoust.2018.06.009

Fig. 1. The percentage of highly annoyed people as a function the outdoor wind turbine sound level exceeded for ninety percent of the time in a 10 min period. The sound pressure levels have been converted to LA90(10min) from their original values.

Fig. 2. The percentage of highly annoyed people according to the Community Tolerance Level model as a function the outdoor wind turbine sound level exceeded for ninety percent of the time in a 10 min period. The sound pressure levels have been converted to LA90(10min) from their original values.

Fig. 3. The percentage of highly annoyed people as a function the outdoor wind turbine sound level exceeded for ninety percent of the time in a 10 min period. The sound pressure levels have been converted to LA90(10min) from their original values.

Our analysis derives a maximum sound level limit for wind turbine sound based on permitting no more than 10% of the population to be highly annoyed when exposed to wind turbine sound at the maximum sound level limit. Such a 10% threshold is commonly used when setting hearing protection noise limits, and is similar to the 8% used when setting the Dutch wind turbine sound limits. Thus Fig. 3 and Eq. (2) suggest that the mean limit for wind turbine sound should be an LA90(10min) of 35 dBA.

Fig. 4. The percentage of highly annoyed people indoors and outdoors as a function the outdoor wind turbine sound level LA90(10min). The Canadian curves are based on survey data from Ontario and Prince Edward Island provinces. The European curves are based on Dutch and Swedish survey data. The original Lden and LAeq levels have been converted to LA90(10min).

Table 1. Wind Turbine Sound Limits.

Standard Quantity Area Time Background LA90(10min) Limit
ETSU-R-97
England
LA90(10min) No financial Involvement Day ≤30 to 35 dB 35 to 40 dB
ETSU-R-97
England
LA90(10min) No financial Involvement Day >30 to 35 dB BKGND + 5 dB
ETSU-R-97
England
LA90(10min) No financial Involvement Night ≤38 dB 43 dB
ETSU-R-97
England
LA90(10min) No financial Involvement Night >38 dB BKGND + 5 dB
ETSU-R-97
England
LA90(10min) Financial Involvement Any ≤40 dB 45 dB
ETSU-R-97
England
LA90(10min) Financial Involvement Any >40 dB BKGND + 5 dB
VIC NZS 6808:1998 LA95(10min) Any Any ≤35 dB(LA95) 40 dB
VIC NZS 6808:1998 LA95(10min) Any Any >35 dB(LA95) BKGND + 5 dB
SA EPA 2003 LAeq(10min) Prediction LA90(10min) Measurement Any Any ≤30 dB 35 dB
SA EPA 2003 LAeq(10min) Prediction LA90(10min) Measurement Any Any >30 dB BKGND + 5 dB
WA 2004 LAeq(10min) Any Any ≤30 dB 35 dB
WA 2004 LAeq(10min) Any Any >30 dB BKGND + 5 dB
SA EPA 2009 LAeq(10min) Prediction LA90(10min) Measurement Standard Any ≤35 dB 40 dB
SA EPA 2009 LAeq(10min) Prediction LA90(10min) Measurement Standard Any >35 dB BKGND + 5 dB
SA EPA 2009 LAeq(10min) Prediction LA90(10min) Measurement Rural Living Any ≤30 dB 35 dB
SA EPA 2009 LAeq(10min) Prediction LA90(10min) Measurement Rural Living Any >30 dB BKGND + 5 dB
VIC NZS 6808:2010 LA90(10min) Standard Any ≤35 dB 40 dB
VIC NZS 6808:2010 LA90(10min) Standard Any >35 dB BKGND + 5 dB
VIC NZS 6808:2010 LA90(10min) High Amenity Day ≤35 dB 40 dB
VIC NZS 6808:2010 LA90(10min) High Amenity Day >35 dB BKGND + 5 dB
VIC NZS 6808:2010 LA90(10min) High Amenity Evening or Night less than 6 m/s ≤30 dB 35 dB
VIC NZS 6808:2010 LA90(10min) High Amenity Evening or Night less than 6 m/s >30 dB BKGND + 5 dB
NSW Draft 2011 LAeq(10min) LA90(10min) + 1.5 dB Any Day ≤30 dB 35 dB
NSW Draft 2011 LAeq(10min) LA90(10min) + 1.5 dB Any Day >30 dB BKGND + 5 dB
NSW Draft 2011 LAeq(10min) LA90(10min) + 1.5 dB Any Night ≤30 dB 35 dB
NSW Draft 2011 LAeq(10min) LA90(10min) + 1.5 dB Any Night >30 dB BKGND + 5 dB
QLD 2016 LAeq Prediction Non-host lot Day and Evening ≤32 dB 37 dB
QLD 2016 LAeq Prediction Non-host lot Day and Evening >32 dB BKGND + 5 dB
QLD 2016 LAeq Prediction Non-host lot Night ≤30 dB 35 dB
QLD 2016 LAeq Prediction Non-host lot Night >30 dB BKGND + 5 dB
QLD 2016 LAeq Prediction Host lot Any ≤40 dB 45 dB
QLD 2016 LAeq Prediction Host lot Any >40 dB BKGND + 5 dB
Demark LAeq, 8 m/s@10 m Standard Any Any 44 dB
Demark LAeq, 6 m/s@10 m Standard Any Any 42 dB
Demark LAeq, 8 m/s@10 m Noise Sensitive Any Any 39 dB
Demark LAeq, 6 m/s@10 m Noise Sensitive Any Any 37 dB
Canada, Ontario LAeq (1hr) Urban Any ≤38 dB RefBG 45 dB
Canada, Ontario LAeq (1hr) Urban Any >38 dB RefBG RefBG + 7 dB
Canada, Ontario LAeq (1hr) Rural Any ≤33 dB RefBG 40 dB
Canada, Ontario LAeq (1hr) Rural Any >33 dB RefBG RefBG + 7 dB
Sweden LAeq, 8 m/s@10 m Standard Any Any 40 dB
Sweden LAeq, 8 m/s@10 m Quiet Any Any 35 dB
Netherlands LAden Any Any Any 47 dB
Netherlands LAeq Any Night Any 41 dB

Download original document: “Wind turbine sound limits: Current status and recommendations based on mitigating noise annoyance

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

The copyright of this material resides with the author(s). 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. Send queries to query/wind-watch.org.

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