Commercial wind turbines generate ice throw, shadow flicker and two types of noise. The first type of noise is regulatory. Regulatory noise is measured in decibels. The second is infrasound or low-level sound. The infrasound causes sleep disturbance, headache, tinnitus, ear pressure, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, visual blurring, irritability and panic attacks. It is widely affirmed that exposure to low-frequency noise causes adverse health affects in humans.
The CEO of one of the largest turbine companies was asked why they just don’t make the turbines quiet. This was his response: “The simple answer is that at the moment it is not technically possible to do so.”
The town of Jamestown has no method to make a complaint about ice throw, shadow flicker or noise issues. What department in Jamestown would take the complaint? The town must establish a method to make a certified complaint to a specific department such as the Department of Health to review the complaint.
The larger the turbine, the more noise it makes. Two-megawatt turbines are three times larger than the 660-kilowatt turbine at Portsmouth Abbey. The turbines in Falmouth and Fairhaven, Mass., are 1.65-megawatt and 1.5-megawatt turbines, respectively, in which noise complaints have been made up to 3,000 feet from those turbines.
It’s often assumed that simply by virtue of their size, the large wind turbines must be less expensive to build – megawatt for megawatt – because they have the advantage of scale. The reality of the situation though is that’s not always the case. Transmission and gearbox issues increase with the size of the turbine after the warranty runs out.
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