Subsonic noise from wind farms is reportedly no worse than that of the ocean, the hum of Adelaide’s CBD or other energy plants.
Wind farm opponents have seized on earlier reports indicating turbines produce low-frequency noise undetectable by the human ear to argue against development.
Analysis by Adelaide-based acoustic consultancy firm Sonus, provided to The Advertiser, shows the controversial technology does create sub-sonic noise, but at levels that meet international standards.
The findings come amid changes proposed by the State Government that would allow wind farms to be constructed within 1km of homes. The Opposition will attempt to block it on grounds including health concerns.
The study measured noise levels near two operating wind farms, including the Clements Gap station in South Australia’s Mid North. It was commissioned by renewable energy proponent Pacific Hydro.
“The measurement results indicate that the levels of infrasound in the vicinity of the two Australian wind farms are … of the same order as that measured from a range of sources, including the beach, the Adelaide central business district and a (gas-fired) power station,” the study states.
Medical director of the anti-wind farm group Waubra Foundation, Dr Sarah Laurie, said there was not enough independent evidence on the effect of infrasound once it infiltrated homes.
Typical symptoms of turbine sickness include chronic stress and disrupted sleep.
Pacific Hydro executive manager Andrew Richards said the study disproved concerns that wind turbines produced infrasound damaging to human health.
A spokesman for Planning Minister John Rau said wind farms must comply with noise standards and the Government was considering submissions on health impacts and turbines in a development review.
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