February 4, 2013

Wind farm sound insignificant: study

Lyndal Reading | February 4, 2013 | The Weekly Times | www.weeklytimesnow.com.au

A report by EPA South Australia has found infrasound from wind farms is “no greater” than infrasound in other rural environments.

Infrasound is sound not audible to the human ear.

The EPA took measurements over a period of a week at seven urban and four rural locations including residences approximately 1.5 kilometres from wind turbines.

The study found the level of infrasound at the residences near the wind turbines was “no greater than that experienced in other urban and rural environments, that the contribution of wind turbines to the measured infrasound levels is insignificant in comparison with the background level of infrasound in the environment.”

The Clean Energy Council said the report “put to rest a common myth about wind farms – that they create dangerous levels of infrasound.”

In a media release Clean Energy Council Policy Director Russell Marsh said the report provided some much-needed clarity in a debate that has often been clouded by misinformation.

“South Australia’s EPA is the most experienced regulatory authority in Australia when it comes to wind farm noise, and this new report provides hard evidence that wind turbines do not cause increased levels of infrasound in surrounding areas, neither inside people’s homes nor outdoors,” Mr Marsh said.

“The study included houses in rural and urban areas, houses both adjacent to a wind farm and away from turbines, and measured the levels of infrasound with the wind farms operating and also switched off.

“There were no noticeable differences in the levels of infrasound under all these different conditions. In fact, the lowest levels of infrasound were recorded at one of the houses closest to a wind farm, whereas the highest levels were found in an urban office building.”

However, Dr Sarah Laurie from the Waubra Foundation questioned the methods used by the EPA.

Dr Laurie said the EPA study only went down to 10HZ.

“It is the opinion of many, including the Waubra Foundation, that these frequencies below 10 Hz are of great interest and relevance,” she told weeklytimesnow.

Dr Laurie said the EPA planned to investigate the Waterloo Wind Development, 30km from Clare in SA, by conducting full spectrum acoustic measurements down to 0.25 Hz.

“We are therefore glad that the SA EPA investigation at Waterloo will be utilising equipment which is capable of measuring down to the very lowest frequencies. They need to investigate the homes where problems are reported.”

The Australian reported last week land values could be cut by being near windfarms.

South Gippsland shire council has amended the rates notice for a landowner near the Bald Hill wind farm project, which is yet to begin construction.

Meanwhile, a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing over the Cherry Tree Range windfarm near Seymour continues.

It is believed to be the first to reach VCAT since planning rules were changed by the Coalition Government.

The Coalition allowed the right of veto to homeowners whose house was within 2km of a turbine.

The 16-turbine Cherry Tree Wind Farm, by Infigen, was knocked back by Mitchell Shire last year.

It is a $100 million project with a capacity of 50 megawatts, south east of Seymour.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2013/02/04/wind-farm-sound-insignificant-study/