Turbine Torment: Study Proves Thumping Wind Farm Noise Annoying Neighbours 9 KM Away

Waterloo’s whirling wonders, driving people nuts, 9kms away.


Giant industrial wind turbines deliver a cacophony of thumping, grinding low-frequency noise for those forced to live with it. Anyone claiming that it’s not a miserable daily torment, hasn’t lived with it, or they’re on the wind industry payroll.

One tired old retort is that the farmers who get paid to host turbines, never complain. To the contrary, those equipped with a little honesty, decency and integrity, most certainly do.

Clive and Trina Gare are cattle graziers with their home property situated between Hallett and Jamestown.

Since October 2010, the Gares have played host to 19, 2.1MW Suzlon s88 turbines, which sit on a range of hills to the West of their stately homestead. Under their contract with AGL they receive around $200,000 a year; and have pocketed over $1.8 million since the deal began.

On 10 June 2015, the Gares gave evidence to the Senate Inquiry into the great wind power fraud during its Adelaide hearing: [Hansard from the hearing is available here as HTML and here as a PDF (the Gare’s evidence commencing at p63)].

That evidence completely contradicts the wind industry lie that turbine hosts never, ever complain; a piece of propaganda cooked up by its media manipulators – including a former tobacco advertising guru – who run the story that it’s only “jealous” wind farm neighbours who complain about wind turbine noise, “jealous” because they’re not getting paid.

The Gares pocket $200,000 a year for the ‘pleasure’ of hosting 19 of these things; and, yet, make it very clear that it was the worst decision of their lives.

In their evidence they describe the noise from turbines as “unbearable”; requiring earplugs and the noise from the radio to help them get to sleep at night; and the situation when the turbines first started operating in October 2010 as “Crap, to put it honestly” – evidence which is entirely consistent with the types of complaints made routinely by wind farm neighbours who don’t get paid, in Australia and around the world; and as detailed in the examples below.

The Gare’s evidence is also entirely consistent with the experience of David and Alida Mortimer, also paid to host turbines for Infigen at Lake Bonney, near Millicent in SA’s South-East (see our post here).

Despite AGL spending tens of thousands on noise “mitigation” measures, the noise from turbines continues to ruin their ability to sleep in their own home, as Trina Gare put it:

No, they were waking me up on the weekend. You wake up to the thumping. This is with all the soundproofing in the house. As I said, I sleep with the radio on every night. If they are really cranked up I have to turn the volume up, so I will probably just go slowly deaf.

In her evidence Trina Gare stated, in the same terms as her husband Clive, that:

In my opinion, towers should not be any closer than five kilometres to a dwelling. If we had to buy another property, it would not be within a 20-kilometre distance to a wind farm. I think that says it all.

For more on the Gare’s experience, see our post here.

Apart from never wanting to publicly admit that they’ve made the kind of error made by Clive and Tina Gare, the other reason that farmers hosting turbines don’t complain, is that they would be sued out of existence, if they did.

The ‘gag’ clauses in a landholder agreements prevent them from complaining to anyone, anytime, ever: Bound & Gagged: Wind Industry Shuts Down Community Complaints Using Punitive Gag Clauses

Here’s an example of the kind of contractual bondage used to silence host farmers and/or their neighbours: Wind Farm BS Deed_DI_opt

Another reason that farmers hosting turbines don’t complain, is that they don’t live anywhere near them. Plenty of them simply pocket the cash, abandon their homes situated next to turbines and build very pleasant new homes, without a wind turbine, anywhere in sight: Macarthur Turbine Hosts Destroy Local Community & Bolt, as Hammering the Wind Industry becomes the “New Black”

Despite claims by the wind industry and its pet acoustic consultants that wind turbine noise is the equivalent of a refrigerator operating 500 m away, locals forced to live with it, know otherwise.

Now a research group from Flinders University has established with scientific data, what neighbours have known all along: it’s the periodic pulsing and thumping of turbine blades that’s creating all that wholly unnecessary grief.

Wind farm noise annoys residents up to 3.5km away, Flinders University study finds
The Advertiser
Tim Williams
19 June 2019

One of the first studies into wind farm noise has found that the turbines could disrupt people living nearby, and can be heard almost 9km away.

Rumbling wind farm noise can be persistent enough to annoy residents 3.5 km away, and can be detected at a range of nearly 9km, a Flinders University study has found.

Researchers took readings at nine properties at various distances from the Waterloo Wind Farm, east of the Clare Valley.

They were all homes where residents had complained about noise disturbing their sleep.

The thumping or rumbling noise related to the frequency of turbine blades passing the towers, and also turbine power output, was audible indoors up to 3.5km away for 16 per cent of the time overall, and 22 per cent of the time at night.

Such noise, known as amplitude modulation (AM), was audible for 20 per cent of the time at a 2.4km distance, but was only detected once over the range of 7.6-8.8km.

“In this first study, we found that audible AM decreases with distance from the wind farm but still remained prominent over long distances,” study leader Dr Kristy Hansen said. “The prevalence of AM has not been widely reported either in Australia or worldwide, although it’s well known that it results in increased annoyance in listening tests, and has also been cited in complaints from residents living near wind farms.”

Noise recordings were similar for wind farm power outputs of between 40 and 85 per cent. “This indicates that it is important that AM analysis is not restricted to high power output conditions only,” Dr Hansen said.

Flinders sleep expert Professor Peter Catcheside said for the broader project, the field work was done but more analysis was needed on the sleep effects.

“Based on our noise studies in the field, we will faithfully reproduce key elements of wind farm noise for direct comparison against quiet periods and traffic noise in both day-time listening tests and overnight sleep studies,” he said.

“These studies will map out the dose-response effects of wind turbine noise compared to better known traffic noise effects on sleep.”

The research team is seeking people from wind farm areas who feel they are either affected or not affected by wind farm noise, people with traffic noise related sleep problems, and people from quiet rural areas willing to travel and participate in the Adelaide- based laboratory study.

Anyone interested can contact windfarmnoisestudy@flinders.edu.au
The Advertiser

The lead researcher of the study, Dr Kristy Hansen (pictured above) is one clever cookie. Not only that, she is gifted with an empathy and integrity that’s altogether lost on the wind industry’s pet acoustic consultants, who, long ago, sold their souls for silver.

Dr Hansen, by stark contrast, has approached her task by actually listening to the wind industry’s victims, taking time to understand the nature of their complaints and going into the field to gather data to identify precisely what it is that’s driving them nuts.

The full paper is available here: Prevalence of wind farm amplitude modulation at long-range residential locations

Here’s an extract from Dr Hansen’s paper that proves, once and for all, that what wind farm neighbours are complaining about isn’t the product of their ‘climate denying’ imaginations.

Prevalence of wind farm amplitude modulation at long-range residential locations
Journal of Sound and Vibration 455 pp136-149
Hansen, K. L., Nguyen, P., Zajamšek, B., Catcheside, P., & Hansen, C. H.
13 May 2019

The presence of amplitude modulation (AM) in wind farm noise has been shown to result in increased annoyance.

Therefore, it is important to determine how often this characteristic is present at residential locations near a wind farm.

This study investigates the prevalence and characteristics of wind farm AM at 9 different residences located near a South Australian wind farm that has been the subject of complaints from local residents.

It is shown that an audible indoor low-frequency tone was amplitude modulated at the blade-pass frequency for 20% of the time up to a distance of 2.4 km.

The audible AM occurred for a similar percentage of time between wind farm percentage power capacities of 40 and 85%, indicating that it is important that AM analysis is not restricted to high power output conditions only.

Although the number of AM events is shown to reduce with distance, audible indoor AM still occurred for 16% of the time at a distance of 3.5 km.

At distances of 7.6 and 8.8 km, audible AM was only detected on one occasion.

At night-time, audible AM occurred indoors at residences located as far as 3.5 km from the wind farm for up to 22% of the time.

Fig. 9. Relationship between AM depth and distance from the wind farm before (green) and after ‘AM correction’ (red). (a) Outdoor measurement, (b) Indoor measurement.

Fig. 12. Indoor noise measurements taken at 9 different locations near a wind farm. (a) Number of AM events and percentage of time that AM was present before and after ‘AM correction’ against wind farm percentage power capacity, (b) Number of AM events and percentage of time that AM was present before and after ‘AM correction’ against hub-height wind speed, (c) AM depth against wind farm percentage power capacity, where the data has been separated into 2 km-wide distance bins and the regression fits applied to all data, (d) AM depth against hub-height wind speed, where the data has been separated into 2 km-wide distance bins and the regression fits applied to all data, (e) Number and percentage of time that AM was present as a function of time of day.

The relationship with wind farm noise with time – most was detected at night when people are sleeping (Figure 12 e).

Conclusion (extract)
Tonal AM occurred most often at night-time, during the hours between 10pm and 5am.

Approximately 10% of the total measurement time at night-time contained audible AM.

At residences located up to 3.5 km from the wind farm, audible AM occurred for as much as 22% of the time at night.

This has important implications for possible sleep disruption from wind farm AM, particularly as ambient noise levels in rural South Australia can be as low as 15 and 5 dBA, outdoors and indoors, respectively.

Further research is needed to determine the prevalence of AM on an annual basis. Further work is also needed to quantify the annoyance and sleep disturbance potential of this type of tonal AM.
PDF of Hansen 2019

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Jackie Rovensky says:

    Keep up the fantastic work Kristy and thanks STT for reporting on this important research.
    The beginning of the end has to start somewhere, lets hope this is it with truly worthwhile researchers doing this work we will have this industry on the run.
    Just watch out for those tame ‘jokers’ who think they have something worthwhile to say and believe we should all be grateful to them.
    One instance in a Victorian Newspaper on the 22nd shows how the media still don’t get it – don’t get, they don’t understand the need to not only repeat the warbling of a few who have no idea what they are talking about or have but desperately want to deny it, and reporting the truth from the mouths of those who feel the pain and those who undertaken worthwhile acceptable research in the fields they are trained to do so.
    The time has come for the media to take a stand and write their own reports instead of repeating flippant hogwash written by media hogs.
    The truth will-out, but only when the media accept they are their not to do this industries bidding but to tell the truth. to report what is happening to those at the sharp end of this insidious global onslaught.

  2. Please read this article and all of the comments published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal blog carefully:

    Did engineers work with our government to design this technology? Did they take an oath to do no harm? Who were these engineers in Ontario?
    Who granted the patents for these turbines? Have Federal Statutes been violated?
    The time to get to the bottom of how this all happened is long overdo. We need high level advocacy to expose the key players behind this human rights violation.
    Turbines need to be turned off.
    Forced relocation is not the answer.

  3. How can we fight this? Large absentee landowners sign up for it and local officials fall in line despite protests by majority. It’s happening in too many places. We gave been protesting for 3 yrs and changing out local officials but the project (149 turbines) keeps moving forward. NextEra currently in Warren Co. Indiana. And they want more.
    Has anyone successfully sued the leaseholding landowners if they cant stay in their home?

  4. Hey stopthesethings, have you seen our new 4-minute animated video, “Turbine Trouble”? It’s about how U.S. states are passing laws (or attempting to) to stop wind turbines from being built too close to military installations, which compromises national security. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RKTvnOCJUM&t

  5. I am surprised that there no mention of the power/ amplitude frequency etc. of this AM is being measured close to an individual wind turbine. A wind farm also must have a chaotic mix of this AM with each turbine having its own output out of phase with the others.

    Just pondering in my armchair!

  6. Nah! Vestas assures us wind turbines are quieter than a fridge…..

  7. Well i live 10 km away from macarthur turbines and get woken mainly between may and november if we have a north westerly above 30 ks. Its got way worse since hazelwood closed. Best describe it as being jetlagged the nights we get woken. Now i just get up as the broken sleep makes you feel worse if we stay in bed. The windfarm commisioner explained that as we have large cypress trees on turbine side of house they take the wind noise away and thats why we get the thumping that wakes us in our bedroom which is on southern side of house. Funny how closer neighbors are offered plantations to sheild them from sight and now noise as we have found since they appeared on horizon. And the commisioner is totally contradicting this planning requirement.

  8. Reblogged this on Climate- Science.

  9. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: