Test results prove wind turbine noise modelling faulty

As a service to Ontarians concerned about the use of suspect noise modelling by engineers working on behalf of wind developers to get projects approved it appears concern is warranted. HCG were instrumental in developing the noise regulations for the Ontario government. Recently they conducted a Section D audit test on the Unifor turbine. Highlights of that test are below;

Unifor Wind Turbine (Page 2)

Acoustic Immission Audit January 8, 2018

Table 1: Predicted Sound Levels and UTM Coordinates of Selected Locations

Location Easting Northing Predicted Sound Level [dBA]

J Receptor 467256 4919594 42.7±
Monitoring Location M1 467348 4919607 43.9*

T Receptor 467416 4919124 40.1±
Monitoring Location M2 467474 4919119 39.2*

Q Receptor 467169 4919269 42.0±
Monitoring Location M3 467212 4919266 44.1*

 ± Sound level taken from ENIR [1]. ( Original CAW modelling )  * Sound level predicted by acoustic model created by HGC Engineering.

NOTE: 2 of the 3 test locations modelled higher by HCG than by CAW’s original engineering consultant.

Receptor location J is a single storey cottage located at 12 Globe Place. Turbine T1 is approximately 210 m to the southeast. The sound level meter was installed on a fence at the northwest side of the Unifor property, approximately 205 m from T1, designated Monitoring Location M1. The microphone was placed at a height of 4.5 m, consistent with the ENIR.

Table 4a: Monitoring Location M1 – Sound Level Summary

10 m Height Wind Speed [m/s]

LEQ Sound Level [dBA] 1 2 3 4 m/sec

Average Operating (ON) / Std Dev. –
1 –
1 47.9 1.5 48.7 1.4

Average Ambient (OFF) / Std Dev. 34.4 3.3 36.3 3.2 40.2 2.4 42.8 1.4

Wind Project Only – – 47 47

Criteria 45 45 45 45 ( our faulty 45 db semi urban classification – normally rural at 40 db )

Excess – – 2


Closest receptor the Groves home at 12 Gobles Place at 210 m. away from the Unifor turbine was modelled at 42.7 by CAW, predicted at 43.9 by HCG and HCG audit tested it at 47 and 48 dB. An unpublished MOECC approved Section D audit test by CAW engineer on April 27,28,29 2014 had measurements of 45 db at 4m/sec and 57 dB at 6 m/sec. It was later deemed incomplete after found by FOI as CAW called off the test each night as residents unaware of testing being done called in noise complaints.

The HCG 47 and 48 dB illegal noise levels were based on an alternate test track of less than half the normal amount of measuring supposedly due to lack of good data. We had never heard of this optional test track.

Only low wind speeds between 1 to 4 m/sec (max 14.4km/hr) were used in this reduced data testing track for 1 hour averaging. Meanwhile the MOECC chart shows wind speeds from 4 to 10 m/sec. and shows that all wind speeds from 4 to 8 m/sec shall not exceed the max limit of 45 dB.

Where are the noise test results for wind speeds from 5 to 10 m/sec? No good wind for the 3rd time?? Common sense says they would be much higher than the 48 dB HCG measured and could most likely be extrapolated by talented acousticians.

So we have learned that HCG, the architect of Ontario’s noise testing regulations, has just proven how faulty the wind turbine noise modelling scheme is that MOECC uses to approve wind projects in Ontario. And while using low max. wind speeds of 4 m/sec. HCG is off by 5 dB ( 48.7-43.9 ) and that is significant.

Any yet to be approved or built wind projects like those now launching legal challenges based on concern of the adverse effects faulty modelling will have on them appear to be well justified.

Greg Schmalz

12 thoughts on “Test results prove wind turbine noise modelling faulty

  1. Do the tip speed ratios increase during a wind gust? Are the increases in tip speed ratio sound levels recorded and published? Are the operations of the wind farm rotor speeds part of any study on noise level increases? These are questions that need to be answered by the developers.

  2. Would someone please provide an update on this situation? Is it possible that, despite the fact that this turbine was finally proven to be out of compliance after years of residents reporting harm, it’s still running?

  3. The newly elected Ontario government began a new legislative session and rapidly introduced the Urgent Priorities Act, 2018. Schedule 2 lays out the White Pines Wind Project Termination Act, 2018, which attempts to terminate the wind turbine project that is being constructed in Prince Edward County.

    Unfortunately the harm being caused to persons including children at wind turbine projects that are currently operating and governed by obviously (and deliberately) deficient noise regulations are NOT addressed in Urgent Priorities legislation yet.

    • The White Pines Wind Project Termination Act, 2018 promises that WPD White Pines Wind Incorporated will be compensated according to Schedule 6:

      “6 (1) The Crown shall pay compensation to wpd White Pines Wind Incorporated in accordance with this section.”

      Why should the people of Ontario compensate a corporation for building a project that was going to put Ontarians at risk of harm?

    • “Local Green Energy Act opponents want MPP Bill Walker to take next step”
      Scott Dunn | Owen Sound Sun Times | September 25, 2018

      ‘[excerpt] Enthusiasm abounds among local politicians who actively opposed the Green Energy Act, now that the newly elected Ontario government introduced legislation to scrap it.

      But they now want the provincial government to acknowledge people were harmed by wind turbines and to agree those who can no longer live in their homes should be compensated.

      That’s the view of the chair of the Multi-Municipal Wind Turbine Working Group, Randy Roppel, a municipal councillor in Kincardine, who spoke in an interview Tuesday.

      “First of all, I rejoice with the decision that the provincial government has made and I agree with it. I think it was long overdue to repeal the Green Energy Act,” Roppel said. “And I look forward to Mr. Bill Walker (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP), who is going to be in front of us at out next (working group) meeting, to discuss further issues with respect to the grief this has caused people in the rural area of Ontario.”

      Roppel heads a group of about 15 rural municipalities which are mainly in Bruce County, with others in Grey County and a few on the Niagara Peninsula who opposed the Green Energy Act. They’re meeting with Walker Oct. 11 in Chesley.

      Walker said in a news release Tuesday morning that Bill 34 would repeal the Green Energy Act “so we can get more affordable hydro bills and return local planning powers to municipalities.” Efforts to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.

      Roppel said he hopes the government will ask his group to help find solutions to health problems associated with wind turbine. He’d like turbines which aren’t in compliance with the law shut down, including grandfathered turbines, and to create larger setbacks to better protect people.

      He estimated as many as “maybe 200” people in Ontario have been forced from their homes due to health effects associated with wind turbines.

      “First of all I think the government has to admit that this industry has caused health issues with respect to the people in this province,” Roppel said.

      “The government is going to have to decide,” he said, “. . . how they’re going to compensate them – and they’re going to have to be compensated, whether we like it or not.”

      The current 550-metre setbacks should be “well in excess” of 800 metres, Roppel said. Another issue to look at is aquifer contamination from piles driven into the ground for wind turbine bases, he said.

      “We’re not saying they shouldn’t be here,” Roppel said of wind turbines. “We’re saying put them where they’re not going to affect the people. That’s simple.”

      Mark Davis, the deputy-mayor of Arran-Elderslie, was the founding chair of the Multi-Municipal Wind Turbine Working Group, until he stepped down a year ago. He said he’s “enthused” by the government’s decision.

      “Our role has really changed now that there will be no more of these monuments to stupidity built. Now we have to deal with the people that are ill that are living close to them.”’

    • “Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith says government must change the way it does business”
      Adam Bramburger | The Picton Gazette | Sept. 27, 2018

      ‘[excerpt] “While it is a backward-looking exercise, hopefully coming out of it will be some positive steps to ensure this type of — in the private sector they’d call it fraud — doesn’t happen again.”

      Smith also celebrated Thursday’s introduction of legislation to scrap the Green Energy Act as a positive move to reverse the course taken by the previous government.

      “That’s great news. It’s been jubilantly cheered across rural Ontario,”Smith said. “There’s still some people in the city that don’t understand why the Green Energy Act was so bad for Ontario […]’

  4. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should focus on human rights abuses in Canada.

    Wind turbines harm Canadians including children.

    ‘[excerpt] We’re going to stand with the values that we know are important for Canadians, and Saudi Arabia will take the decisions that they will take,” Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Tuesday when asked whether the spat could imperil the General Dynamics agreement.’

    “Spat with Saudis hits home in London, Ont.” | Andy Blatchford | The Canadian Press

    • ‘[excerpt] On Wednesday Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, said his government was engaging with Saudi Arabia to resolve the spat but stood firm on Canada’s stance. “We will, at the same time, continue to speak clearly and firmly on issues of human rights at home and abroad wherever we see the need.’

      “Saudi critics jab Canada on Twitter and TV as diplomatic feud deepens” | Ashifa Kassam & Kareen Shaheen | The Guardian | August 9, 2018

      The Government of Canada permits Industrial Wind Turbines that harm Canadians including children.

    • Think what might happen in this industry if some multi-national enterprise violated the laws and norms of a nation in which it was doing business, capturing civil institutions and conspiring to deny and cover-up the harms and other collateral damages caused by its business practices.

  5. ‘[excerpt] […] Joseph Pickerill, director of communications at the Office of the Minister for International Trade Diversification, wrote.

    “Human rights are an integral part of our trade agenda and launching a review of the proposed helicopter deal was the right thing to do. We will continue to support and defend our values, our workers and the world-class products they produce each and every day,” the statement added.’

    “Philippines president questions whether Trudeau understands history, politics” | Global News, with files from Reuters, The Associated Press | Aug. 22, 2018

    Trudeau is too busy to see the trade implications of permitting wind turbines in Canada to harm persons including children?

  6. “Why NAFTA’s unloved investor-state dispute chapter may be in trouble”
    Janyce McGregor | CBC News | Sept 9, 2018

    ‘[excerpt] The Canadian government finds itself in an awkward spot when it comes to foreign investment treaties. […]
    Canada has been dealing with populist skepticism about ISDS [Investor-State Dispute Settlement]— with the argument that it prioritizes the rights of corporations over sovereign states — since long before the current NAFTA talks launched. […]

    International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr told CBC News said the consultation amounts to the first “major review” of Canada’s investor protection agreements in a decade. “The world has changed dramatically since then.”
    Several things beyond the NAFTA talks are driving this consultation, the minister said.
    “We’re looking to reinforce the rules-based system, and that includes reforming the [World Trade Organization],” Carr said. Canada is planning a meeting of like-minded trading partners — including the European Union but excluding the U.S. and China — to discuss options for WTO reform Oct. 25-26 in Ottawa.
    Some suggest a beefed-up WTO could protect investors better than all these bilateral and regional agreements, although it’s not clear that enough countries want that to make it happen. […]

    The most common complaint about ISDS is that it allows private investors to punish governments for policies that affect the bottom line but also protect the public interest — environmental laws, for example. […]
    A U.S. official said the two countries wanted ISDS to be “limited” to cases of expropriation, bias against foreign companies or failure to treat all trading partners equally.
    However, for “companies that have contracts with the government,” the official continued, “old-fashioned ISDS” would remain in play for certain sectors: oil and gas, infrastructure, energy generation and telecommunications.
    Canada has been on the losing end of most of the ISDS cases it’s faced — which is why some find the idea of Canada defending it at the NAFTA table odd. […]

    ISDS does seem incompatible with other Trudeau government priorities. […]
    Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde sits on Freeland’s NAFTA advisory panel. “You cannot trade what is not yours,” he wrote in an op-ed in the Toronto Star .’

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