Sun and Wind Energy, Torsten Thomas
By using longer blades and fine-tuning them into more aerodynamic shapes, manufacturers are squeezing more and more performance out of their wind turbines. But the background noise caused by stalling continues to grate on some people’s nerves. The phenomenon requires more than just a psychologist.
The wind power industry has grown accustomed to conflicts with environmentalists and groups of local residents. Noise pollution in particular has long been a hot issue. Whenever this topic arises, the debate quickly moves into the broad field of psychology. Noise pollution always seems to have a subjective component, and there are very few really empirical studies regarding the possible health effects on local residents.
The ongoing debates about airborne noise or the possible effects of low-frequency noise have continually led to calls for the distance between wind farms and buildings to be increased. Finland is a case in point: Jari Keinänen, Director of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, has just declared noise to be the single biggest danger to people residing near wind farms. In June, he called for the current minimum distance of 500 m to be increased to 2,000 m. “It may be possible to go closer, but only when there are reliable figures for an impact assessment”, he said. Read article