For those that are aware ETSU-R-97 is the noise standard that defines nuisance noise from wind turbines. Drawn up in collusion between the wind industry, the BWEA, and the DECC it conveniently ignores low level frequencies and infra-sound as having no impact on humans. Despite many promises to re-visit this and the increasing data and experience that demonstrates the methodology as flawed, the DECC always prevaricates on the issue. What we have always suspected but could never prove, the wind industry and the DECC ought to have been well aware of the issues. A politician recently wrote that if the Government accepted the 2.5km setback for turbines, no wind farms could be built in Scotland. May we assume that same political ‘think’ is behind the ETSU-R-97 standards, that should the noise dangers from low frequency and infra-sound be accepted, few wind farms could be approved. In UK, as in all of Europe, there is a basic legal principle here which is being ignored. The Precautionary Principle: The precautionary principle is detailed in Article 191 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (EU). It aims at ensuring a higher level of environmental protection through preventative decision-taking in the case of risk.
This expose from Australia is detailed below:
Governments, scientists, and the wind industry knew! They have been covering up for 25 years
“It (the 1987 report) found that the standard A-weighted measure for sound was “not an adequate indicator of annoyance when low frequencies are dominant”.”
“Wind health groups in the US and Australia said although modern wind turbines were different to the one studied, the 1987 research was significant because (modern) industry noise-testing regulations had been specifically designed to exclude testing inside buildings and did not concentrate on low-frequency noise — the two main issues identified in the report.
“A federal (Australian) Senate inquiry recommended two years ago that in-house testing be conducted in Australia but it is not included in the present noise guidelines.”
“… other (modern) research has shown that as wind turbines get larger, a greater proportion of the sound is emitted in the lower frequency range”
· BY:GRAHAM LLOYD, ENVIRONMENT EDITOR
· From:The Australian
· July 09, 2013 12:00AM
HEALTH impacts caused by low-frequency noise from wind turbines have been known to US researchers and the renewable energy industry for more than 25 years.
American researchers used mock homes, big speakers and seven volunteers to simulate and measure the impact of low-frequency noise produced by early model, two-blade wind turbines under controlled conditions.
A November 1987 report prepared for the US Department of Energy said the impact of low-frequency noise generated by wind turbines was often “confined to within surrounding homes” and that residents became more sensitive to the impact over time.
The laboratory experiments found that “people do indeed react to a low-frequency noise environment”.
The study, A Proposed Metric for Assessing the Potential of Community Annoyance from Wind Turbine Low-Frequency Noise Emissions, was prepared in response to earlier research into “acoustic disturbances” associated with the operation of a wind turbine near Boone, North Carolina.
It found that the standard A-weighted measure for sound was “not an adequate indicator of annoyance when low frequencies are dominant”.
The research was sent by an American acoustics expert to Australian wind health campaigners and has now been published internationally.
The US report built on earlier research by two NASA facilities and several universities. It was presented to the Windpower 87 Conference & Exposition in San Francisco by physicist ND Kelley from the Solar Energy Research Institute in Golden, Colorado.
Wind health groups in the US and Australia said although modern wind turbines were different to the one studied, the 1987 research was significant because industry noise-testing regulations had been specifically designed to exclude testing inside buildings and did not concentrate on low-frequency noise — the two main issues identified in the report.
A federal Senate inquiry recommended two years ago that in-house testing be conducted in Australia but it is not included in the present noise guidelines.
Clean Energy Council policy director Russell Marsh said the study was not relevant to modern turbines. “This is the equivalent of taking a study about Ataris and applying it to the latest iPads,” Mr Marsh said.
The US research was conducted on older-model wind turbines which the CEC said were known to have noise problems as the blades were exposed to airflow patterns caused by the wind swirling its way through the supports of the trestle tower structure before flowing on to the blades.
“Australia has some of the toughest noise guidelines for wind power anywhere in the world and there is a growing body of more recent evidence that wind turbines do not produce enough low-frequency noise or infrasound to directly cause health problems,” Mr Marsh said.
But other research has shown that as wind turbines get larger, a greater proportion of the sound is emitted in the lower frequency range.
“The (US) research is highly relevant, even though the acoustic emissions themselves are different between old downwind turbines and upwind ones, where the turbines turn around to face into the wind,” Waubra Foundation chief executive Sarah Laurie said.
“What is important is the impact on the people from the sound energy emitted from the respective wind turbines, how it is experienced by them inside their homes and the acknowledgement that the symptoms are real, and that the symptoms may be perceived but not heard,” Dr Laurie said.
Health campaigners said the results of the laboratory simulations in the US study proved there was a direct cause-and-effect relation between the low-frequency noise and “annoyance”.
The National Health and Medical Research Council has said there was no published evidence linking wind turbines to health impacts. The NHMRC is conducting a review of its advice but its updated report on the issue is now overdue. The South Australian Environmental Protection Agency has recently completed a major sound monitoring program at Waterloo where there have been significant complaints from residents, but the results are not yet available.
You may download the 1987 report by clicking “here” in the third paragraph of the text at http://www.windturbinesyndrome.com/2013/u-s-government-has-known-about-wind-turbine-syndrome-since-1987-u-s-dept-of-energy/?var=cna
We recommend you read the summary and the first and last chapters. From page 3 and the references it is clear there are many people, government, corporations and university institutions who know about this research.
The “dose response” protection criteria recommended in this report may not be nearly enough for much larger modern turbines. The limits need to be revised, taking into account the sensitisation* issue with chronic exposure (which they also clearly acknowledged 25 years ago).
* sensitisation: contrary to what governments and industry pretend, one does not get used to ILFN (infrasound and low frequency noise). On the contrary, the longer the exposure, the more one becomes sensitive, and the worse the effects on one’s health.
The laboratory study is downloadable from: http://www.nrel.gov/docs/legosti/old/1166.pdf