SSE are applying for a two year extension for their test turbine site at Hunterston after a noise level investigation into the current site proved to be compliant.
We recently reported that Fairlie Community Council had raised concerns in relation to dizziness in the neighbourhood, with one resident even stating she was aware when the second 7MW Mitsubishi turbine was turning. The first 6MW turbine was erected by Siemens.
SSE committed to an independent report on the noise issue emanating from the turbines, which has now been included in their planning application, which is now pending at North Ayrshire Council.
The extension has proved to be controversial with former Fairlie community councillor Steven Graham stating that the original agreement for the test turbine site was only temporary. However, SSE say they are applying for a two year extension, with a view to a further 15-20 year extension thereafter.
Sound levels were recorded inside a complainant’s property at 25A Main Road, Fairlie, and during 10 separate assessment periods, all of which included operation of the Mitsubishi turbine.
Noise measurements and observations made on 30 November 2016 coinciding with the highest power output of 6178kW from the Mitsubishi turbine, together with downwind conditions, indicating ‘comfortable compliance’ within the official limit.
The independent report stated: “Operational noise from the Mitsubishi turbine has been shown to provide no significant levels of low frequency sound inside the 1st floor living room of the property.”
Overall sound levels inside the property were measured and met the guidance level for the purpose of resting in living rooms and sleeping in bedrooms.
The addition of noise produced by the coal boat at the jetty between 24-28 October 2016 increased sound levels inside the living room of the property, typically by +5dB, the report stated.
SSE’s extension to the consent period for the test turbine site at Hunterston would enable a full five year operating window, and the chance to further refine the important data and findings following early project delays.
Sean Kelly, Hunterston Project Manager, said; “The Hunterston facility has been instrumental in securing Scotland’s place as an international leader in offshore wind energy research and development. To date the Hunterston project has injected £32.4m into the Scottish economy with £4.1m of this in North Ayrshire.
“It is a unique facility that we believe still has much more to give to the offshore wind industry. The team is hopeful that we can extend the site for another two years to complete its current testing and research programme.
“The Hunterston site has not only brought benefits to the offshore wind industry and economic benefit to the region, the communities close to the wind farm have also benefited from the Hunterston Community Fund which is providing £250,000 over the current five years of the project.”
“If successful this extension to the test site will allow SSE to assist with the continued development of offshore wind technology as well as providing a facility with Siemens for training future offshore wind technicians.”