Feeling the noise

amplitude modulationSun 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

4 thoughts on “Feeling the noise

  1. The results were baffling: “Changing the operational parameters had absolutely no effect. There was neither a linear nor systematic development. We had expected a positive effect. Also, the distance to the turbines made no difference whatsoever. The same was found in samples from other sites”, explains Project Manager Johannes Pohl, a psychologist at the University of Halle-Wittenberg.

    Hmm. Could this be infra sound? Audible noise does not seem to matter. More research is certainly needed.

    • These “nose” and health studies that are cranked out by proponents are not intended for rural a audience.

      Instead they are for urban audiences and potential investors in IWTs.

      Need to attract money into these investments. Can’t allow anything negative about IWTs to reach potential investors. Might scare them away.

      Urban audiences are where the political support for IWTs mostly comes from.

  2. So far proponents of IWTs have managed to deny the health impacts and loss of property values and convince others not affected by IWTs that this is psychological or just being MIMBYs.

    But these proponents can not deny that this is not about generating electric power but is instead about generating money. Rural Ontarians have to be put-upon to accomplish this.

    If there wasn’t a great deal of money to be made from renewable energy projects they would not be done.

    You have a small group of wealthy urbanites imposing what they want on to a small group of rural people. The rest of the urbanites don’t know what is taking place so they are willing to go along with this. And they don’t know how much money can be “milked-out” of these renewable energy projects.

    • It’s an insult to rural Ontarians to even suggest that they need psychological techniques used on them to convince them that this is necessary to install IWTs in rural Ontario areas.

      Psychologists need to check out the motives that these IWT proponents have?

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