Report: Noise from turbines meet guidelines
There’s no scientific proof wind turbines make disturbing levels of noise and, although more study is needed, Ontario’s guidelines are sound, a long-awaited consultant’s report for the ministry of the environment says.
The report by Ryerson prof Dr. Ramani Ramakrishnan was finished in December 2007 but was only posted on the government’s Environmental Registry website on Monday.
It reviews the work of a Dutch scientist, Dr. G.P. Van Den Berg, who found that 98-metre tall turbines at a German wind farm near the Dutch border made more – and more annoying – noise at night than expected. The report has been heralded by groups opposing wind farm projects near their homes.
“(Van Den Berg’s) dissertation was to provide scientific evidence for increased annoyance from wind farms during evening and night time hours,” Ramakrishnan wrote. “The review showed the above was not the case.
“One of the main criticisms of the doctoral dissertation of Van Den Berg is that the conjectures of his research have not been supported by solid scientific data.”
The Dutch study should be used as a catalyst for further work, though, Ramakrishnan said.
His report also found Ontario’s noise guidelines for wind turbines are reasonable and strike a balance “between noise impact and the need for wind farms, based on currently available scientific data.”
Kate Jordan, a spokesman for the ministry of environment, said the report, held back from December, was being posted on the Environmental Registry for 30 days to allow the public to comment on it. “We wanted to make sure it was the final report. We needed to know it was complete,” Jordan said of the late release.
The report has found what the industry has believed for some time, Sean Whittaker, vice-president of policy for the Canadian Wind Energy Association, said.
“The report does confirm that the findings of Van Den Berg are put into question,” Whittaker said.
“CANWEA has been confident that the noise guidelines we have here in Ontario are very good.”
Ontario has about 500 megawatts of Canada’s 1,856 megawatts of wind power. CANWEA wind projects could rise to as much as 4,600 by 2020.
Ron Mattmer, who lives a kilometre from a proposed wind development in Kincardine, says he supports wind power but is opposed to locating them so close to homes.
He said the ministry is “in denial” about Van Den Berg’s noise findings and have “jiggered” their own limits to ease development.
By Jonathan Jenkins
Queen’s Park Bureau
30 April 2008
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