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Macarthur wind farm critic disputes data  

Credit:  By EVERARD HIMMELREICH | The Standard | May 3, 2013 | www.standard.net.au ~~

A campaigner against the Macarthur wind farm has dismissed the energy company’s claims the turbines are operating within required noise limits.

AGL Energy (AGL) this week announced that an independent noise compliance assessment on the wind turbines by the AECOM company had shown the farm was operating within the noise limits set down in its planning permit.

However, Annie Gardner said residents who lived near the turbines could still not sleep at night because of the infrasound (low-frequency) noise, as well as background noise emitted by the turbines.

Ms Gardner questioned the independence of the company that carried out the sound tests, which found the turbines were compliant with requirements. She said AECOM was paid by AGL “so therefore AECOM is beholden to AGL”.

“We, the neighbours, are very dissatisfied with the methodology used by AECOM and their lack of suitable equipment.

“They used faulty equipment at our property for two weeks in December 2010 and then again their equipment was faulty and failed whilst carrying out noise testing at our property for three out of five weeks for this important compliance checking in February-March 2013.

“Our property was not the only one where AECOM’s equipment was also found to be faulty.

“The battery failed to operate at at least one other property, resulting in no noise data,” Ms Gardner said.

She said it was not enough for AGL to claim compliance with the set noise limits and it was up to the planning minister to determine compliance.

AGL Energy said the planning permit for the Macarthur wind farm required noise monitoring be carried out at specified dwellings neighbouring the site, pending landowner approval.

Noise loggers were installed between February and March 2013 to capture data for the objective assessment.

AGL said the noise compliance assessment was part of a wider noise monitoring program implemented by the company since the first turbines started operating in late September last year.

All noise monitoring results received to date at 13 neighbouring dwellings had shown the wind farm complied with the planning permit’s acoustic requirements, AGL said.

AGL’s power development general manager Scott Thomas said he was aware some Macarthur community members were concerned about wind farm noise levels.

Because of that, the company had wanted to make sure the wind farm was operating correctly from the start to give the community a greater level of comfort.

“Over 40,000 hours of noise monitoring has been conducted at Macarthur, which is well beyond the amount of noise monitoring required in the planning permit,” Mr Thomas said.

“All results received to date confirm that Macarthur wind farm remains compliant within the government’s strict noise regulations that are in line with the World Health Organisation’s guidelines for noise limits.”

Source:  By EVERARD HIMMELREICH | The Standard | May 3, 2013 | www.standard.net.au

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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