People living near a wind farm in B.C. should be able to sleep easy.
Taking a page from the World Health Organization’s Guidelines For Community Noise, the province has developed a policy to limit the sound produced by commercial wind developments.
As such, no wind farms in B.C. may produce sound louder than 40 decibels as measured outside a pre-existing residence near the project. Sound is produced at wind turbines by rotor blades slicing through the air and by their mechanical components.
The sound of an operational refrigerator measures around 40 decibels, while normal conversation registers at about 60 decibels, according to www.dangerousdecibels.org.
Neil Banera is the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum director of policy and operations for independent power producers.
He was asked to shape the noise policy, which came into effect at the end of May. It’s needed to address concerns of citizens as various wind projects work their way through the approval process. A noise limit was deemed to be more effective than mandating specific setback distances for turbines from pre-existing residences.
“Imposing setbacks is a simple but arbitrary approach, so we decided we needed a more scientific approach so thats why we adopted what the World Health Organization was recommending,” Banera said.
The World Health Organization said that for undisturbed sleep in a bedroom at night, the sound level should not exceed 30 decibels.
“We worked back from that baseline to determine what that sound level could be on the outside of the house to result in 30 decibels inside, which, it’s been decided, is 40 decibels,” Banera said.
Peace River Block Daily News
11 July 2007
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