Wind Turbine Infrasound: What You Can’t Hear Can Really Harm You

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Wind turbine noise, what you can’t hear can harm you
Vermontbiz
Brian Dubie
25 September 2015

What do you think of when you think of an industrial wind project? Wind developers want you to think of free, green electricity. People who live near industrial wind turbines think of noise. Let’s see why. An Industrial Wind project in Swanton proposes to install seven 499-foot tall wind turbines along 6,000 feet of Rocky Ridge (elevation 323 feet).

We don’t know what turbine model the developer is considering, so let’s look at the GE 2.75-120 Wind Turbine. At 475 feet, it is slightly smaller than the developer’s Swanton turbines. GE says a single one of their 475-foot monsters can produce 106 dBA of noise. Scaling up to seven turbines would increase that noise to 109 dBA. (Noise is measured as pressure on a scale that is logarithmic, so sometimes the numbers are difficult to understand, but 109 dBA is loud. For comparison, my chain saw is rated at 109 dBA. I wear ear protection when I use it.)

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So, when you think of industrial wind turbines on a ridge line, envision an airport with a line of airplanes that are holding for take-off. The airplanes are powered by chainsaw engines that have run up their engines to full power. But, unlike planes at an airport, the turbines never take off. Now, imagine this at 2am in the morning.

Some people will say wind turbines are not that noisy. Well that depends on how far from the turbines (chainsaws) and how many turbines (chainsaws) there are. Sound attenuates over distance. The further you are from the turbines (chainsaws) the more the noise attenuates and thus the quieter the sound is. Noise attenuation is also dependent on many topographical and meteorological factors. For example if you are downwind from the turbines (chainsaws) the noise is greater. If the turbines (chainsaws) are located on high ground, the noise carries farther.

The World Health Organization says that noise levels greater than 30 dBA can interfere with sleep. The WHO also explains that low-frequency noise has a greater potential to disrupt sleep and that levels of low frequency noise should be kept lower than 30 dBA. Turbines produce lots of low frequency noise – the kind of noise most likely to interfere with neighbors’ sleep.

Vermont’s Department of Health says that turbine noise outside your open bedroom window should not exceed 40 dBA. The Department assumes that you have different windows than I have and that your open bedroom window will reduce a 40 dBA noise to 30 dBA. Not only that, the Department’s 40dBA limit applies to noise averaged over a year. That means that somebody could start up a vacuum cleaner (70 dBA) outside your open bedroom window every 19 minutes and still operate within the Department’s guideline.

Vermont’s Public Service Board has a different standard. The PSB says that the turbine noise outside your open bedroom window, averaged over an hour, should not exceed 45 dBA. The PSB would allow the vacuum cleaner to start up every five minutes.

Of course a standard is no good if you don’t monitor for compliance. Vermont has developed an ingenious system where the monitoring is done by turbine neighbors.

When noise levels exceed the PSB’s limits, the neighbors can call a special telephone number provided by the turbine operator. Turbine neighbors say that this telephone is not answered at night. To compensate for this, some wind operators hire experienced professionals to come in for a week or two every year to monitor their noise and to assure the neighbors that they are imagining things.

The noise you can hear is not the only sound that an industrial wind turbine produces. Industrial wind turbines also produce low frequency sound that you cannot hear but you can feel. When a turbine blade passes the wind tower on a large turbine it generates a low frequency pulse. These pulses are typically below 20 Hz and are called infrasound.

Turbine infrasound can be detected inside homes as far away as six miles. We know also that very low levels of infrasound and LFN are registered by the nervous system and affect the body even though they cannot be heard. Researchers have implicated these infrasonic pulsations as the cause of some of the most commonly reported “sensations” experienced by many people living close to wind turbines.

These sensations include chronic sleep disturbance, dizziness, tinnitus, heart palpitations, vibrations and pressure sensations in the head and chest etc. There is medical research which demonstrates that pulsating infrasound can be a direct cause of sleep disturbance. In clinical medicine, chronic sleep interruption and deprivation is acknowledged as a trigger of serious health problems.

Denmark, recognizes the potential health effects of audible and sub-audible turbine noise. Vermont does not. The Vermont Department of Health acknowledges that turbine noise can disturb sleep and that disturbed sleep can impair health. It is curious that the Department is unable to connect the dots and to conclude that turbines can impair health.

There is a growing body of research that shows that industrial wind turbines can have negative effects on the health of their neighbors. Because so many indicators point to infrasound as a potential agent of adverse health effects, I respectfully ask the members of Pubic Service Board, the Pubic Service Department, the Governor, the members of the Legislature, all Elected Officials, the Media, the Industrial Wind industry and all Vermonters who care about the future of our State to please read this report that describes infrasound in detail HERE.

If not sited properly industrial wind turbines can harm public health. I therefore call for a moratorium on industrial wind turbine projects until the Legislature, Pubic Service Board, Public Service Department and the Governor develop operating standards that protect the health of turbine neighbors, reform turbine siting standards, and regulate the operation of existing industrial turbines.

Brian Dubie of Fairfield served as Vermont’s Lieutenant Governor 2003-2011
Vermontbiz

Brian makes some pretty fair points about the woeful “regulation” of incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound. The problem has been known about (covered up and lied about) by the wind industry for around 30 years:

Three Decades of Wind Industry Deception: A Chronology of a Global Conspiracy of Silence and Subterfuge

And he rightly fingers infrasound as the real villain:

Wind Turbine Infrasound: What Drives Wind Farm Neighbours to Despair

As to getting a government to “regulate the operation of existing industrial turbines”, we wish Vermont’s victims the best of luck. With wind power outfits and their pet acoustic consultants routinely lying and fabricating evidence, said to show ‘compliance’ with noise conditions set by planning permits – and every level of government willingly condoning it – don’t hold your breath:

Pacific Hydro & Acciona’s Acoustic ‘Consultant’ Fakes ‘Compliance’ Reports for Non-Compliant Wind Farms

Brian gives his own answer when he says “wind operators hire experienced professionals to come in for a week or two every year to monitor their noise and to assure the neighbors that they are imagining things”. Straight from the wind industry play-book.

However, where Brian leads himself astray, is in his suggestion that there is some valid place for wind power in a modern economy, provided there are reformed “siting standards”.

Brian needs to dig a little deeper and start with some fundamental questions about wind power as a generation source.

soundofmusic-topper

“It’s always a very good place to start”…

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As Sister Maria sang: “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start”.

Wind power is NOT, and will never be, a meaningful power generation source.

The Wind Power Fraud (in pictures): Part 1 – the South Australian Wind Farm Fiasco

The Wind Power Fraud (in pictures): Part 2 – The Whole Eastern Grid Debacle

Consider a country where its electricity supply was exclusively based on wind power generation; a place where businesses would attempt to run around the vagaries of the wind; where houses would be well-stocked with candles and their occupants left to keep food cold with kero-fridges or iceboxes – and those homes otherwise run on wood, sticks or dung, used for cooking or heating. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

June 2015 National

As soon as that country had the chance (due to the availability of technology and/or as a process of economic development) it would build a system based on power generation sources available “on-demand” (ie coal, gas, hydro, nuclear, geo-thermal).

Its people would then be able to enjoy around the clock illumination; factories could run to the clock, and not the weather; homes would be heated and cooled according their occupants’ needs, making life safer and more comfortable (no-one need be frozen to death or expire from the heat because the wind stopped blowing); economic development and prosperity would follow, as night follows day.

Placed in the practical context of the needs of a functioning society, wind power can be seen as the patent nonsense that it clearly is. If a country didn’t have a conventional power system (as we have), it would build one, anyway.

Once people grasp that fact, the rest of the wind industry’s ‘case’ falls away.

Talk about “wind farms being in the right place” just sounds silly; ergo, with arguments about distances from homes; separation from bird nesting sites or migration routes etc, etc.

All of these other considerations – while legitimate – simply jump to the periphery and dilute the strength of the key argument.

Keep hitting our political betters with the pointlessness of wind power as a generation source; and the rest falls away.

What reasonable decision maker would back policies that favour something that has no economic benefit?

Moreover, as the central claim that wind power reduces CO2 emissions in the electricity is a complete falsehood, the justification for the hundreds of $billions in subsidies directed to wind power looks like pure lunacy, at best; or graft and corruption (aka ‘crony’ capitalism), at worst.

What the wind industry hates most are facts.

STT dishes them up on a daily basis. The facts outlined above – and which we’ve detailed many times before – are unassailable.

Wind power is a fraud, pure and simple. In late 2015, anyone that still claims to support wind power is either an idiot; or they’re in on it.

Definition of fraud

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

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