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Wind farm noise  

Credit:  Northern Argus, www.northernargus.com.au 9 February 2011 ~~

In late July 2010, Michael Hogan, then, the project manager for the proposed Stony Gap wind farm, assured over 70 people at a public meeting in Robertstown that wind turbines being build by Roaring 40s, were not noisy. Furthermore, he claimed that the turbines, equipped with Danish build Vesta’s components, were quieter than other brands.

Not many weeks after the Robertstown meeting, the first few turbines of Roaring 40s Waterloo Wind Farm began generating electricity. The remaining turbines soon followed so that well before the end of 2010 all 37 turbines were generating power and we dispute Michael Hogan’s assurance.

The turbines at Waterloo (and, likewise, those planned by Roaring 40s for its Stony Gap and Robertstown projects) are, thus far, amongst the most powerful build in South Australia each turbine having a rated capacity of 3 MW (Megawatts) compared to, for example, Snowtown Stage 1 with a turbine capacity of 2.1 MW or Wattle Point’s turbines rated at 1.65MW. (As the turbines get more powerful they make more noise.)

On December 12, 2010, a gathering of Waterloo residents met to hear Dr Sarah Laurie talk about possible health impacts from exposure to noise and vibration from these large machines – the list of symptoms is lengthy, with sleep deprivation being the most likely.

It is well-established that continuous sleep disturbance can lead to serious health problems.

Reports from numerous acousticians make it clear that noise in hilly areas can be amplified by the landscape and that certain weather conditions will also influence the level of turbine noise. It is, therefore, very difficult to predict just how loud any particular wind farm will be.

Since the Robertstown meeting in July last year, Roaring 40s has modified its view about noise. In its latest Stony Gap community newsletter it stated, “The overall sound that is heard from a turbine or a wind farm is a complex mix of sounds that varies from day to day, from one wind farm to another and sometimes from one person’s perception to another.” All of which wind farm critics have been saying for some time.

Additionally, wind energy companies have yet to acknowledge that the noise is distressing to some people, the industry, also, does not recognise that very low frequency and vibrations are produced by modern turbines. Accurate reading of ultra-low frequencies (below audible levels) are, according to some acousticians, difficult to measure and require specialised instrumentation which few organisations have.

Symptoms, reported by some people living as neighbours to wind farms, suggest that very low frequency noise and vibration is being emitted by modern turbines.

Our property lies approximately 10km east of the Waterloo wind farm. We are situated along a creek line in the east-west running valley. We cannot see the turbines but we hear them, particularly, from mid-evening to mid-morning, and under certain weather conditions.

The noise sometimes sounds like a big wind that never arrives. Also, we hear a low-frequency noise like the annoying sound of the bass when an inconsiderate neighbour refuses to turn the music off: thud, thud, thud and audible inside the house, at times, as well.

Our opposition to wind farms is on the record; however, we did not believe we would hear the turbines over this distance. How wrong we were.

On the evening of October 22 last year we could hear the thudding sound very loudly and we rang the, then Councillor for Robertstown ward Warren Mosey and asked him to come to hear the noise. He declined to do so. Perhaps, the new Councillor John Neale would agree to come and listen.

ALLY FRICKER and BOB LAMB

Brady Creek via Robertstown

Source:  Northern Argus, www.northernargus.com.au 9 February 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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