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Sound specialist offers expertise on industrial wind installations

February 6, 2008
Sound specialist offers expertise on industrial wind installations

[ News Watch Home ]

“Understanding Sound Associated with Industrial Wind Developments”, was the theme of the presentation by Rick Bolton, Engineer & Sound Specialist, and sponsored by Citizens for a Healthy Rural Neighborhood (CHRN), on Wednesday, January 30, at Perry’s Masonic Temple.

Though Wednesday’s inclement weather prohibited attendance by many from outlying areas, citizens and Town Board members from Perry, Gainesville, Leicester, and Orangeville were there. Mr. Bolton’s presentation was designed to convey a basic understanding of the complexities of sound, effects on humans, and flaws in current analysis standards being employed by wind developers in the U.S.

Mr. Bolton began by explaining that sound associated with wind turbines is an extremely complex issue, and one that needs thorough analysis. “Sounds are waves – just like light and water,” he said. These sound waves are measured in deci-Bels (dB, or dBA – A-weighted deci-Bels – most closely imitate the human ear).

“Human audibility is extremely sensitive,” he said. “In fact, far more sensitive than anything we can use to record sound electronically. While the human ear can detect to 0 dBA, the lowest range even the most expensive noise meters can measure is 14 dBA.”

Elaborating on the factors that can amplify sound, Bolton pointed out:

1.) Sound can propagate for over a mile, and even further over water;

2.) Sound gets worse in water (i.e. – ice, fog);

3.) Low frequencies can double sound by refraction off hard surfaces (hillsides, snow-pack);

4.) ‘Wave Coherence’, created by a number of turbines together, amplifies sound;

5.) When the wind is blowing, it can refract noise from the elevated source-point downward;

6.) Sounds below 30 Hz, termed ‘infrasound’, create serious health problems (turbines have been indicated as being a strong source of ‘infrasound’)

7.) Ice-loading on the front edge of turbine blade tips disturbs air flow around the blade, creating turbulence, and increasing sound.

8.) Modulation occurs when the blade compresses air as passing the mast of the turbine, and is worsened by large groups of turbines’ blades not operating in sync. (Bolton has never seen modulation addressed in any wind developer provided studies.)

Bolton explained the many ways wind developers methodology is flawed. Field measurements are not done correctly (i.e. – improper microphone placement, no justification for sampling sites, etc.); accurate samplings need to be done for a full year to account for seasonal variations, but aren’t; and computer prediction models wind developers rely on are inadequate because they don’t account for modulation, coherence, refraction, and icing.

Facts contained in Perry’s DEIS from the sound study done by Horizon for Perry were brought up that highlighted Bolton’s point that sound studies being done are totally inadequate: “5 monitoring locations; Survey was carried out over roughly a 3-week period; Unfortunately, 3 primary & 2 backup instruments were destroyed by water infiltration, so octave band data could not be collected for ALL positions for the entire 3-week survey; There were a number of periods of either inclement weather or low wind speeds – conditions that are not generally useful; General conditions of temperature, barometric pressure, & wind for the survey period are shown in plots below as observed at DANSVILLE, NY – some 20 miles southeast of the site.”

Illustrating and explaining his points with numerous charts and graphs that were part of his presentation, he also included examples and measurements from homes that had been abandoned by their owners due to the resulting life-altering health effects of living too close to turbines. Not surprisingly, these health problems have been linked to sleep disturbances.

The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines recommend that sound level should not exceed 30 dBA for a good night’s sleep. WHO also unanimously agrees that noise levels greater than 42 dBA create sleep disturbances, and that disturbed sleep has serious health effects.

Bolton explained that rural country settings currently enjoy extremely quiet night-time noise levels of 20 – 30 dBA. However, wind developers typically propose 50 dBA as acceptable noise levels at property lines of neighboring homes to their industrial wind installations. They do so despite the fact that the NYS DEC recommends no more than a 6 dBA increase over existing night-time ambient noise levels.

“Every 6 dBA is a perceived doubling of sound, or loudness,” Bolton said. When you understand this, you can begin to understand the problems that are occurring from siting these facilities far too close to people’s homes in rural areas. Bolton’s research suggests that 3,000′ – 5,000′ setbacks from the nearest property line should be the rule of thumb.

Neither citizens, nor the town officials being rushed through zoning, siting, and approval processes by wind developers truly understand the vast difference between 30 and 50 dBA until it is too late. Bolton stressed the importance of “getting it right” before allowing industrial wind facilities to be built, since mitigation after the fact is not available. He has yet to see wind developers do any follow-up studies for those now experiencing problems. They simply ignore them.

Bolton also explained that NY Townships are perpetuating flawed methods by accepting, and placing in their ordinances, the 50 dBA sound levels being submitted by wind developers, without demanding justifications – despite the fact that this is contrary to SEQR rules. NYS DEC’s Environmental Conservation Rules for SEQR state that the noise pollution potential must be evaluated at each affected “receptor”.

NYS DEC’s Program Policy, “Assessing & Mitigating Noise Impacts”, states: “When a sound level evaluation indicates that receptors may experience sound levels or characteristics that produce significant noise impacts, or impairment of property use, the Department is to require the permittee or applicant to employ necessary measures to either eliminate, or mitigate, adverse noise effects.”

If our townships fail to hold developers accountable to required standards, “we will lose the privilege, and precious asset, of having the peace and quiet of the country,” he said.

Mr. Bolton then took questions from the crowd. In response to questions asking what he thought of being “surrounded” by up to 23 turbines within 1.5 miles of their homes, he answered, “I would be VERY concerned if I were you.”

When asked if he has conducted any studies in the Perry area, Bolton replied that he had. Those who attended Perry’s Public Hearing October 16, 2006, will remember Mr. Bolton adding his comments, and handing in the study he did for Perry to the Board that evening. (Mr. Bolton’s comments on the Noise Issue can be found in the Comments to Perry’s DEIS under H-1, pages 1-24.)

By Mary Kay Barton

Batavia Daily News

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Anne Murray lends voice to opponents of N.S. wind farm

July 4, 2007

By DARRELL COLE The Canadian Press | 5:41 PM

GULF SHORE — Nova Scotia’s songbird wishes a proposed wind farm in Gulf Shore would just fly away.

Singer Anne Murray, who has a summer home in the area, is joining other residents in opposing the construction by Atlantic Wind Power Corp. of 20 to 27 100-metre-high wind turbines in the province’s northwest corner.

“I just think it’s too close. It’s in all our backyards,” said Murray, who grew up in nearby Springhill. “I think wind power is a good thing, and I am all for them when they’re in the right place. I don’t believe these ones are in the right place.”

The project is presently undergoing an environmental assessment. Depending on how that goes, construction could begin in 2009.

Area residents have been fighting the project since it was first proposed and urged Cumberland County to set the distance between the turbines and their properties at a minimum of two kilometres. Instead, the municipality passed a bylaw setting the distance at the greater of three times the height of the turbine, or 500 metres.

Company president Charles Demond has said a two-kilometre setback would kill the project.

Murray feels the concerns being raised by the Gulf Shore Association and area residents aren’t being taken seriously. She believes there are too many unanswered questions surrounding the placement of turbines close to homes, including the effects of noise, vibration and shadow flicker.

“Some people think this is just a bunch of hysterical people opposed to change, but nothing could be farther from the truth,” she said. “These people are in favour of wind power, but the bylaw passed by the county doesn’t set the distance far enough between their homes and these turbines.

“I’m all for progress and I’m all for change, but not this close.”

Murray said she’s also not opposed to using her celebrity to help project opponents because she feels this wind farm will have a “catastrophic” impact on Pugwash and the Gulf Shore area.

The Amherst News

From worst to first in wind generation

February 6, 2007

From worst to first in wind generation

Greenhouse gases up 90% from coal stations


Feb. 1.Climate change is real. It’s a serious concern to Canadians and it’s great to see these issues becoming more prominent in recent media coverage. The study by the Ontario Clean Air Alliance points to mismanagement and poor planning by the former Conservative government between 1995 and 2002.That government did not invest in clean, green power. Instead, it belched out more power from dirty coal plants. Under their watch, emissions rose by more than 125 per cent.The McGuinty government brings a different approach. In three years, we have reduced Ontario’s reliance on coal plants by more than 32 per cent. We’ve gone from worst to first when it comes to wind generation.And we’ve invested in new province-wide energy conservation programs that are producing results – and that means cleaner air for all of us.While so many other jurisdictions are expanding their reliance on coal, we’re reducing ours. Ontario stands as the only jurisdiction in the world not building more coal-fire generation, but phasing it out.
Duncan and McGuinty still don’t get it. Even the UK is backing off on-shore wind.

“Power cut for clean energy
A scheme designed to encourage the use of renewable electricity sources is set to be ditched amid claims it is expensive and inefficient. So how can Britain’s fight against climate change be resuscitated?
By Tim Webb
Published: 28 January 2007
And now, the Renewables Obligation scheme, enshrined on April Fools’ Day 2002, looks set to be abandoned.Ofgem wants the scheme, which is being reviewed by the Government in its current Energy Review (to be published in April), scrapped.”

No country has ever proved any significant emission reduction with wind. Why are countries like Germany going back to coal?
They need reliable power. Wind can’t do the job. Wind farms, on the other hand, have caused many problems for people living near them, and have also cost jobs because of high electrical costs. Duncan and McGuinty have no excuse, other than stupidity. Instead of doing what the lobby groups wanted, and that includes David Suzuki, they should have investigated wind energy and it’s problems in other countries. We all want clean energy, but it has to work and be cost effective.

David Suzuki was always a kind of hero of mine. He is however, way off base promoting wind farms. Wind was and still is workable to power a house or cottage off grid. Wind was never designed to power the grid.

We’ll eliminate coal as quickly as we can, and replace it with gas, which is extremely price sensitive, balanced with the need to ensure a continued, reliable supply of electricity. Not

Dwight give it up. Your energy plan is a failure. Face the facts


Dwight Duncan, Ontario Minister of Energy, Queen’s Park

EPCOR is not responding to the public's concerns.

January 27, 2007

The wind industry and the govt. say that the windmills aren’t noisy and there is no stray voltage problem.  The wind industry and the govt. continue to ignore the problems caused by their poorly sited wind farms. The recommendations for setbacks in most of the world are now 2km. In Ashfield they are a mere 400 meters.

The people near the Epcor Kingsbridge 1 wind farm have been suffering from stray voltage, noise and flicker since the wind farm went into sevice last March. To date there has been no resoulution of any of the problems.

Another problem that has been brought to light by the people living in the wind farm is that the wildlife, deer, geese,ducks and other birds seem to have moved away from the area.

The wind industry and the govt. must think that if they keep saying that there are no problems, you the taxpayer will continue to believe them. To say that people are complaining for the sake of complaining or that they are complaining because that didn’t receive any money is, like the wind industry itself, ludicrous.

Epcor had the gall to ask for permission to go ahead with Kingsbridge 11 and then has the audacity to complain that they are being held up because of council.Below is an excerpt from the Lucknow Sentinel

Township asks EPCOR to address public’s concerns
By Sara Bender
Wednesday January 24, 2007

Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh Twp. council is not pleased that

EPCOR is not responding to the public’s concerns.
“EPCOR is not coming through with the information we have asked for,” said Reeve Ben Van Diepenbeek, following council’s Jan. 16 meeting.

Van Diepenbeek said the public continues to address concerns to council of noise and of EPCOR not responding to their concerns. He said township resident Ross Brindley has also expressed concerns of stray voltage in his barn which he says were not there until after the wind turbines were built.
See this week’s Lucknow Sentinel for the full story…

Wind farm videos from the UK and Australia

January 22, 2007

If you don’t want your countryside littered with wind turbines I suggest you get active and start writing and calling your respective Representatives.

Don’t call Carol Mitchell MPP for Huron Bruce.
She thinks wind turbines are majestic.

Enjoy the videos

WindTurbinesareComing-UK.wmv

LivingNextDoortoaWindFarm,Australia.wmv

Letters From Wind Farm Neighbors

January 14, 2007

Letters From Wind Farm Neighbors

These letters are from NY. We are presently gathering letters from people in Ontario. The experience of living near wind turbines in Ontario appears to be the same as those of our neighbours to the south.
Are the wind companies and your govt. telling you the truth? 

 

Rodger Hutzell, Jr., Meyersdale, PA

13 February 2005

Dear Sir:

I am writing to you in regards to living near an industrial wind turbine facility. This facility is located in Somerset County near Meyersdale, Pennsylvania. The facility has been operating since December 2003.

Since this facility has been up and running, my family and I have experienced noise nuisance issues, specifically when trying to go to sleep at night. The noises are greater during the winter months. The noise appears to correlate to a continual droning sound. When awakened at night, there are times that it is impossible to get back to sleep due to the threshing sounds produced by the wind turbines. After the first few weeks of the initial operation; I began to experience difficulty with sleep patterns. My family physician was consulted regarding this issue with difficulties falling alseep. I was prescribed sleeping medication.

The noise nuisance issue continues to exist. February 2003, I was in my yard running my chain saw and the drone of the wind turbines could be heard over the sound produced by the chain saw. I was never made aware of any type of noise nuisances produced by these industrial turbines prior to their construction.

My lifestyle has changed since this operating industrial facility was erected within near vicinity of my residence. I fear that my real estate value has decreased due to the noise nuisance and deterioration of the scenic mountain ridges that surround my residence.

These industrial facilities and landowners should be held accountable and liable for any all nuisances that affect local and adjacent property owners.

Sincerely,

Rodger A. Hutzell Jr.
327 Ridge Road
Meyersdale, PA
15552

click link for more letters

http://www.savewesternny.org/docs/letters.html 

OPTIONS FOR COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS IN ONTARIO

January 11, 2007

This paper was written in 2004.
It looks at all options for replacement of coal. This 31 page document shows how wrong the Liberal govt. is when it comes to electrical generation in Ontario. If you really want high prices and an unstable grid then embrace the wind. If you want a cost effective reliable grid then get active. I thank Mr. Rogers for his work and allowing me to share it with you.

J.T.ROGERS, PhD
Professor-Emeritus
Dept. of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Carleton University
Ottawa, Ontario

The low intensity of wind power results in a requirement for many large wind turbines to generate any significant power. Furthermore, these turbines have to be well-spaced to ensure
that wake effects on adjacent turbines do not reduce blade efficiency, and thus power generation, significantly. Based on data from different sources, the power-to-area intensity for
wind farms varies from about 2.8 MW/km2 to about 5.0 MW/km2 [32, 33, 34]. Therefore, to replace the capacity of the OPG coal plants by wind power plants, assuming an optimistic
power intensity of 4 MW/km2, would require a total area of about 1,900 sq.km., about three times the size of metropolitan Toronto. The cost and difficulty of assembling adequate wind
sites over such an area in southern Ontario would be prohibitive, even though some of the required area would also still be usable for agricultural purposes. In addition, the total electricity produced annually by this capacity would be considerably less than that produced by the coal-fired plants because of the low annual capacity factors of the wind plants. From the above data on the current installed capacity and energy production of wind power plants in Ontario, the annual capacity factor of these plants is 18.7%, compared to about 60% to 65% for
the coal-fired plants. An ACF of 18.7% is on the low side of the range of ACFs for existing
wind farms, 20% to 30% [35]. Assuming an average ACF of 25%, replacing the coal-fired plants by the same capacity of wind-fired plants would result in the generation of only about
40% of the electricity produced in a year by the coal-fired plants. Furthermore, unlike power from the coal-fired plants, power from the wind plants would not be available on demand to
meet varying loads, but would depend on the variability of the wind. Since there is no practical means of storing electricity directly on a large scale, building additional wind plants to
overcome this intermittency would not be helpful12.
In effect, wind plants cannot really replace the coal-fired plants, since they cannot meet the requirements of intermediate-load service, that is, being available on demand to meet varying
loads over a day or other period. Similarly, wind plants cannot be used for base-load to provide continuous power or for peaking plants to provide peak power on demand. Wind generation is
only useful for now as displacement energy, being accepted by the grid, when it is available, in preference to energy from conventional plants whose operating costs at that time are greater
than those of the wind energy plants .

It is concluded that wind energy is not a realistic option to replace the coal-fired plants and will continue to play only a very minor role in electricity generation in Ontario.

For the full text of his paper

http://www.cns-snc.ca/media/CNS_Position_Papers/Ontario_coal.pdf

Wind lobbyist at work (CanweA)

January 10, 2007

Letters from Robert Hornung, president of CanweA, to various govt. departments.

Start at the bottom and read your way to the top.

After the Kyoto Accord was signed, the wind industry who was waiting in the wings, stepped in.

A very good salesman leading an uninformed group of people down the garden path.

The wind industry set the tone from the beginning and continues to do so.

To date I have been unable to find any attempt at discovery by the govt.side as to the truth of claims made by the wind industry.

It looks like the govt. let the wind industry cut their own deal. And a sweet deal it is. You didn’t have any other plans for those billions of dollars did you?

Just yesterday I heard Carol Mitchell MPP for Huron Bruce say “I think wind turbines are majestic” Right out of the wind industry play book.Nice touch Carol

Please read the letters and if you come to a different conclusion than I have please let me know.

http://www.canwea.com/Ontario_Province.cfm

Darmstadt Manifesto

January 8, 2007

(Paper on Wind energy)
Initiative Group
Darmstadt Manifesto
Press Release
Dated 1 September 1998
At the press conference which took place today at the Bruningstrasse Press Club in Bonn
the Initiative Group presented the Darmstadt Manifesto on the Exploitation of Wind
energy in Germany.
The manifesto, which has to date been signed by more than 60 college/university
lecturers and writers*, demands the withdrawal of all direct and indirect subsidies in order
to put a stop to the exploitation of wind energy.
(It claims that) the exploitation of wind energy promotes the type of technology which is
of no significance whatever for the purpose of supplying energy, saving resources and
protecting the climate. The money could be put to far more effective use in increasing the
efficiency of power stations, in ensuring effective energy consumption and in funding
scientific research into fundamental principles in the field of energy.

This paper was written in 1998 and here we are in Ontario 2007 fighting against wind farms and the theft of our tax dollars. Make your voice heard. Let Dwight Duncan know your outrage.

Full paper click on link

http://www.savewesternny.org/pdf/darmstadt.pdf

Go to bottom of page to view the signatures

Problems associated with wind turbines

January 7, 2007

[This letter was written by Mr. Monfils, Lincoln Town Board Chairman, about living near wind turbines in Kewaunee County, Wisconsin. He wrote it hoping that it will help other communities facing wind power plant proposals.]

______________________________________________________

To Whom It May Concern:

One lesson learned from our experience with the process of the request for locating wind turbines in the Town of Lincoln in Kewaunee County, was never to assume that what the Utilities or their private supporters tell you about the project is accurate. They put out information, which was beneficial to them and the project and downright wrong.

When dealing with the utilities or private companies, try to deal with one or two persons in charge. This avoids having to repeat your concerns and helps to avoid problems about who said what and who promised this or that about your concerns about the project. Get their promises in writing with guarantees about what they are promising. If their promises are not met, written penalties of appropriate, but substantial size must be provided and enforced. Written conditions and penalties are mandatory if you plan to accept the wind farm project.

Problems that are of strong concern, and problems that we had warned the utilities about but were assured that they would not occur are as follows: interference with T V reception, Microwave reception interference, depreciating property values, flashing red lights (FAA) interfering with nearby homes, wind turbine NOISE which interferes with neighbors sleep and their mental health, increased traffic, road damage, cattle being scared from rotating shadows cascading from the blades in a setting sun, rotating shadows in nearby homes, concerns about stray voltage, concerns about increased lightening strikes, environmental damage to birds, etc. etc. etc. But the proponents for wind energy will dismiss all of these concerns and tell you that they will not occur. THEY ARE WRONG. Ask the neighbors who are not property owners reimbursed by the utilities through lease agreements on their property or people who want to lease in the future. They will verify these problems.
click on link for the rest of the letter
Problems associated with wind turbines