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Looking for Wind Industry Leadership in Reducing Noise Impacts

WIND MEASUREMENTS

  • 02 2011 23
    Though sound levels of 45-50dB have been taken in stride by many, even most, places where early industrial wind development took place, it’s becoming apparent that for some types of communities, sound levels of even 40dB are triggering high levels of community push-back. 

    The industry’s first responses to this emerging problem have been counterproductive: discounting the prevalence of complaints, vilifying acousticians seeking to understand the shift, and most fundamentally, insisting to county commissions nationwide that “widely accepted” community noise standards that have worked elsewhere are applicable everywhere. 

    It’s high time that forward-looking industry insiders take the lead in forging a more flexible, collaborative relationship with communities, acknowledging that the noise tolerance we are used to is not universal: some rural regions are far less amenable to moderate, yet easily audible, turbine noise.  Companies that accept this fact — rather than ignoring or fighting it — will build corporate reputations that could make them the go-to developers across much of rural America. 

    A few tidbits highlight just how counterproductive the current entrenched “everything is fine” stance has become. In many places, developers have been reduced to spending time and money arguing about whether sound levels monitored at 1-3db above regulatory limits (imperceptible to barely perceptible differences) are caused by turbine noise or ambient noise.  We can’t accept or imagine that the problems are rooted in a regulatory limit that may be 10dB too high for local tolerance.  Sursa: renewableenergyworld.com