Sow the Wind Turbine, Reap the Wind Turbine Noise

Kevin Kilty

It is not the purpose of this essay to bash wind energy projects, but rather to illuminate some of the controversy about wind turbine noise, and to point out the surprisingly primitive state of making wind turbine noise calculations for purposes of permit applications. In the past year I have been drawn slowly into a controversy over the siting of a large wind turbine project. Over the past two months I have spent more than one full day in hearings of one sort or another regarding the permitting of this project and actually gave about 75 minutes of testimony in one case not as a technical expert, but as a concerned citizen with a deeper than average understanding of particular concerns.

There are many wind farms currently operating in my state, so many in fact that Wyoming is near the top of states ranked by installed wind generating capacity per capita. This is the first one to my knowledge that has drawn significant public opposition. The reason for this opposition is that the wind farm is proposed to be built in an area of the Laramie Range mountains with a beautiful view of the Colorado Rocky Mountains to the south. It has also become a residential neighborhood of sorts with quite a large collection of ranches and ranchettes. The windfarm proposes to place an industrial facility, with towers extending to possibly 675 feet at blade tip, intermixed with residences and ranches.  As more and more wind turbines are needed to meet renewable energy demands, the problem of industrial wind farms encroaching on residences, farms and ranches will only become more acute. One common problem, acoustics, is poorly understood by most of the public. Thus was born this essay.

The approval process

No renewable energy facility may operate in our state without its full complement of permits — one from local authority, a county commission generally, and then one from the industrial siting council (ISC) at least. As part of the review and approval process, the ISC requires submittal of an application that outlines the evaluation of potential project impacts and mitigation measures related to environmental, social, and economic resources. One section of the submittal is devoted to acoustics, and justifiably so as excessive noise is considered a health hazard in many workplace settings, and is regulated by any number of governmental agencies. Though there are different opinions about the health effects of wind turbine noise, low frequency noise, and infrasound, there is no reason to discount the health effects of nuisances that can disturb people’s rest.[1]

Beyond health concerns, however, industrial wind turbines are considered a nuisance if placed too close to residences or noise sensitive facilities. They interfere with a person’s quiet enjoyment of their property. It is interesting how people who wish to avoid the nuisances presented by wind projects are now called NIMBYs by environmentalists. Such is our upside down world.

One ISC mandate is to mitigate such nuisances (Wyo. Stat. § 35-12-109). Rather than investigate this matter independently, however, the council will depend on input from other agencies such as a group within the Department of Environmental Quality, or perhaps county regulations, and the stamp of a professional engineer  licensed to practice in the state on the permit application. A rather expensive and complex project like a wind farm cannot build a turbine and then decide if the noise it produces exceeds a local limit. No measurements are involved. Instead, the approach is one of modeling the propagation of noise from the turbines to local residences or property lines. Here is where trouble begins.

The noise scale

The range of natural noise energy is exceptionally broad, extending from the just barely detectable sound of a rustling leaf (at one picowatt per meter squared) to the startling sound of nearby thunderclap (one watt per meter squared). In order to handle such range, human hearing evolved to detect ratios of sound energy. Thus the ear responds somewhat logarithmically to sound level, and sound or noise level measurements use a logarithmic scale. The just barely detectable change of sound loudness is approximately one decibel (one tenth of a Bel) abbreviated as dB. It is a factor of 1.26 in the ratio of sound power level. The just barely audible sound is the reference point of zero dB.[2] From this basis we derive a plethora of additional particular measures involving different schemes of weighting by frequency, or averaging over different time periods, to attempt to convey more and more information about sound in very specific instances. For example, the most common weighting scheme to describe impacts on human hearing is the “A-weighting” which is applied to frequencies over seven octaves centered from 63Hz to 8kHz, and which covers most of the range of human hearing.[3]

Unfortunately a plethora of sound statistics combined with a logarithmic scale is beyond the ability of most people to comprehend reasonably. During my testimony one of the council members asked me why, if the hearing room sound level was 60 dB as measured by his smart phone, we should be concerned with a 3dB uncertainty. I explained that the scale is logarithmic and to add 3dB would make this room twice as loud. I don’t know if this helped explain the matter, but it is apparent that he was interpreting the decibel scale as linear, and on that basis 60 and 63 are nearly the same value.

Acoustic modeling

Modeling acoustic propagation is a complex and technical subject. In order to do it from first principles would require a fully 3-D model of the atmosphere, land surface, and possibly the local geology. One would need realistic temperature and wind profiles, a model of the local terrain and estimates of the sound absorptive properties of soils and vegetation. Instead of taking this route consultants opt instead for a far simpler approach of using very idealized models of propagation combined with factors that model the attenuation of sound in vegetation, upon reflection from objects, through moist atmosphere, and so forth. Upon reading numerous environmental impact statements (EIS) regarding sound propagation, I realized these estimates are made commonly using a method described in an international standard,  ISO9613-2. This propelled me to fetch the standard and read it.

ISO9613-2 is a quarter of a century old. Wind turbines have evolved from a typical 500kW unit at the time this was written to a more typical 3MW plus now. They have grown from a few tens of meters in height at the hub to more than a hundred meters. Rotor diameters are now pushing 220m.

Moreover ISO9613-2 Is not meant specifically for wind turbines, but rather is a general approach to any sort of noise source. In fact, it doesn’t specify its expected accuracy for noise sources and receivers higher than 30m (mean height) and more distant than 1000m.[4] The standard spells out explicitly its other limitations. For instance, it contemplates sound diverging spherically from point sources declining at 6dB per doubling of distance. The attenuation with distance can be much less than 6dB per doubling of distance in many situations. To the extent it is applicable to extended (non-point) sources of noise, these can be broken down into a collection of point sources so long as the collection of points representing the extended source have the same intensity and height above ground, and the same conditions of propagation from source point to receiver. This would seem to preclude its use in noise emanating from the turbine blades.

Under meteorological conditions the method is limited to propagation within 45 degrees of downwind direction, wind speed between 1 and 5m/s between 3 and 11 m height. It presumes a well developed, moderate, ground based inversion, such as develops on clear, calm nights. It fails to define what a moderate inversion means. To more fully understand this term I searched and found on Cliff Mass’s blog that a moderate inversion is one between 10 and 15C temperature gain per 1000 feet of elevation.[5] My calculations indicate an inversion of 10C would bring a sound ray propagating horizontally at its source at a height of 100m to the ground surface in less than 2km. Strong inversions might do the same in a distance less than 1km.[6] What this means is that a strong inversion maps the acoustic output of the entire lower hemisphere of what ISO9613-2 imagines a wind turbine to be (an isotropic radiator) into a small surface patch. It concentrates sound energy near surface in a way similar to how inversions trap pollutants.

Of particular interest is Table 5 in ISO9613-2 which lists the uncertainties of the method. These are generally ±3dB (SPL), but the table lists nothing concerning uncertainties for high sources, nor for distant field points. Footnotes indicate further limitations. For instance, as Note 24 indicates, variation in sound level at a certain site and on a certain day can be expected to be considerably larger than Table 5. Unfortunately the term “considerably” is not quantified.

Finally the standard does not contemplate many other potential effects from wind turbines: Amplitude modulation, tonal noises, ground vibrations, low frequency noise, infrasound, reflections, and the actual directivity of wind turbine noise. Meteorological conditions may make the divergence cylindrical with attenuation of only 3dB per doubling of distance, rather than 6dB per doubling, as propagation becomes confined to near surface ducts. Ground reflections from a low source, which occur at near grazing angles serve to quiet the direct waves through destructive interference; while, reflection at larger angles from a high noise source are coherent and interfere both destructively and constructively. A list of the deficiencies of ISO9613-2 for purposes of modelling sound propagation from modern wind turbines seems pretty long.

Beyond these many hypothetical concerns, though, actual field measurements have shown that the method can produce substantial underestimates of wind turbine noise of 0-5dB at close distances to 10dB beyond 10 km. [7]

“Why use a standard which appears to apply and perform so poorly?” one may ask.  As Keith, et al, have pointed out

 “It is not currently feasible to use more sophisticated methods than ISO (1996) as those methods require data that are usually not available: a sound speed profile, or wind speed and temperature as a function of height.” [8]

Thus, we seem stuck with this customary method and so we should contemplate how to ameliorate its deficiencies.

Margins and Factors of Safety

What we are faced with is a method of estimation that does not pertain to some circumstances at all, and pertains to others with a large and unquantified degree of uncertainty. This may be an unusual situation, but not completely unlike problems that engineers face commonly. What a sensible engineer would do in such a situation is to construct an adequate margin for uncertainty, and add this margin to estimates of noise. Indeed, factors of safety and margins are a core concept in engineering design and system operations. The question is, “How large should this margin be?”

Considering factors not even addressed by ISO9613-2, things like amplitude modulation, infrasound, ground vibrations and reflections, all we can say is these must be addressed eventually by appropriate research. There is very little to go on at present and are not a focus of this essay. The wind farm that has been the focus of my concerns is being built on crystalline bedrock which may make ground vibrations a particular problem. Homes are practically defenseless against vibrations entering through their foundation, which then interact with resonances in the structure. Because this project now has its permits, time will tell if this is a problem or not.

On the other hand, for noise as we commonly think of it, measured by the A-scale of weighting, we can calculate an uncertainty budget. Consultants for the wind turbine entities do two things in this regard that I view as improper. First, they add a 2dB margin that is nothing more than a single standard deviation of noise pertaining to manufacturing and installation variations of the turbine/generators themselves. This is a very minimal margin.  Obviously the departure of field measurements from calculated estimates shows that there are additional sources of uncertainty that arise from meteorology, terrain, wind turbine height, and from the rotor not being well-approximated as a point source. What we need are standard deviations of as many independent sources of noise variation as we can find, and combine them in a manner consistent with the Guide to Estimation of Uncertainty in Measurements (GUM).[10]

Second, in a number of acoustics reports I have read the wind energy consultants claim that by not including provisions for attenuation of sound they have produced “conservative” estimates of noise. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing if one can trade unknown biases of this sort for unknown uncertainties of the random kind, and to rely on it is not a good engineering practice.

If we assume the 2dB standard deviation of noise in wind turbine manufacture and installation, the 3dB standard deviation of uncertainty mentioned in Table 5 of ISO9613-2 (the warning in Note 24 notwithstanding), and one more standard deviation of 1dB for distance uncertainty between the source of noise on the wind turbine and the receiver location, and a coverage factor of k=2 [9], then our uncertainty budget looks like that in Table 1, nearby.

Table 1. Uncertainty Budget

Source of UncertaintySound Pressure Uncertainty relative to zero dBVarianceVariance and coverage factor (k2=4)
Wind Turbine(2dB): 10(2/20)-1 = 0.2590.0670.268
Propagation factors(3dB): 10(3/20)-1 = 0.4130.1710.684
Distance(1dB): 10(2/20)-1 = 0.1220.0150.06
Totals1.006 (square root of total variance) 1.012

Since the uncertainty should be expressed in dB which we can add directly to the modeled noise value, we convert back to dB using 20 Log (1.006+1) = 6.1dB. The complication here is that the uncertainty of the propagation factors is not independent of the turbine-contributed uncertainty — the turbine noise and distance uncertainties are independent issues, but a more noisy turbine will contribute to noisier contributions from terrain and meteorology as these are merely a channel conveying the noise from source to receiver. Moreover turbines become more noisy with rising wind speed. However, we are at least working our way toward a defensible and meaningful value of design margin.

What is the pertinent regulated noise limit?

More potential conflict arises from imprecise regulation language. From our county regulations regarding noise for wind energy conversion (WEC) projects we see

 “Noise associated with WECS operation shall not exceed fifty-five (55) dBA as measured at any point along the common property lines between a non-participating property and a participating property.”

Note that the regulation makes reference only to a weighted scheme (A weighting for example) but with no explanation about any averaging over a measurement period of any kind. We might assume it is a very short period measurement — an instantaneous value practically. Otherwise we would expect some notation more specific such as Leq, the equivalent continuous sound level, or Lnight, which is the A-weighted sound pressure level averaged over the 8-hour long night duration. The wind turbine operators do not want to adhere to a near instantaneous limit as this becomes a more stringent standard to meet when a facility is prone to occasional loud bursts in an otherwise long, quiet averaging period. Obviously regulator would do better to consult someone with relevant knowledge of acoustics to help them compose more useful regulations.  


As wind farms proliferate they are bound to invade residential areas and noise sensitive facilities with increasing frequency, making arguments over nuisance and health concerns increasingly acute and acrimonious. Yet, the methods used to estimate noise levels are surprisingly primitive and don’t appear at times to follow good engineering practice. The public including agency regulators are generally baffled by the technology surrounding noise specifications and measurements. Hopefully this essay helps illuminate some of the important issues.


[1]-See for example Simon Carlile, John L. Davy, David Hillman, and Kym Burgemeister, A Review of the Possible Perceptual and Physiological Effects of Wind Turbine Noise, Trends in Hearing Volume 22: 1–10 2018. Or, Jianghong Liu, Lea Ghastine, Phoebe Um, Elizabeth Rovit, Tina Wu, Environmental exposures and sleep outcomes: A review of evidence, potential mechanisms, and implications, Environ Res. 196:110406. May, 2021; doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2020.110406.

[2]-Sound Power Level (PWL) is defined as dB=10LogW+120; where W is the sound intensity in watts/m2. The reference level of 0dB occurs equates to one picowatt per meter squared.  An alternative equivalent definition uses Sound Pressure Level (SPL) and is dB=20LogP+94 with P measured in Pascals. Reference level of 0dB occurs at 20 micropascals.

[3]-Other weighting schemes are C, Z, and G which may provide important utility in various contexts. For example Z is an unweighted scale useful for peak loudness measurements; G is useful for characterizing low frequency sound.

[4]-Keith et al, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 144 (2), 2018;: Keith et al, J. Acoust. Soc. Am.139, 1436 (2016)

[5]-From Cliff Mass’s blog site I found that moderate inversion are those with temperature at 1000 feet height 10-15 C warmer than the ground surface. Strong inversions, beyond 20C occur on clear nights with snow covered ground. This definition applies strictly to the entrapment of pollutants, which was the topic of Mass’s blog and not to sound propagation. However, the calculations of ray curvature suggest such inversions are also not a bad guide to concentration of sound energy near the ground per the sorts of distances involved in ISO9613-2.

[6]-For information on calculating the curvature of acoustic rays see William W. Seto, Acoustics, Schaum’s Outline Series, Chapter 8, 1970.

[7]-Recent Advances in Wind Turbine Noise Research, Colin Hansen, and Kristy Hansen,

Acoustics 2020, 2, 171–206; doi:10.3390/acoustics2010013; Keith et al, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 139 (3), March 2016.

[8]-Keith et al, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 139 (3), March 2016.

[9]-GUM: Guide to the evaluation of uncertainty in measurements:

[10]-The location uncertainty largely results from what part of a large turbine is currently contributing noise and how it is oriented with respect to a receiver. Regarding coverage factor, if a coverage factor of 99% (k=2.57) is more appropriate than a coverage factor of 2 (95%) then the corresponding margin rises to 7.2dB, and so on. This coverage factor seems to be a point of confusion in some acoustics reports. The acoustic modelers appear to think of “k” as the margin itself, whereas in standard metrological terminology “k” is a coverage factor. That a typical k-value is 2 and a typical manufacturer reported noise uncertainty is 2dB seems an unfortunate coincidence.

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Gary Pearse
August 1, 2021 6:39 am

Are there no studies being done on existing wind farms including reports of actual health effects, or effects on hearing for those with hearing aids, etc.? Background noise, or chatter at a social event tends to compound problems of hearing a person standing talking to you if you have hearing aids.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 1, 2021 6:46 am

Yes, there have been dozens of them.

and they ALL came up with ‘no negative health effects’.

Gregory Woods
Reply to  griff
August 1, 2021 7:14 am

Griffy: Why am I not surprised?

Kevin kilty
Reply to  griff
August 1, 2021 7:33 am

I think you need to research further.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 1, 2021 8:34 am

Griff is opposed to “further research” as he already has the answer he wanted in the first place.

Personally I have no idea if there are real health effects from these things. To me it doesn’t matter as they are functionally useless, every electron they produce must be backed up 100%, essentially building two generating grids.

Here in Alberta we are locked into a summer high pressure situation and wind today is over performing at 11% of nameplate.


Just like in February where we had over a week of -40c and wind averaged less than 5%.

Even if they cost nothing to build they are not worth the other costs they impose

Pure garbage

Spoke too soon, now 10% and falling

Last edited 1 year ago by Pat from Kerbob
John Hultquist
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
August 1, 2021 10:27 am

 The wind facilities feeding the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) balancing the load in the OR & WA region had a nice up-spike during the evening of July 31, and now (10 am Aug 1) are just slightly above nothing.
I think the towers became parasitic a few times in the past week, but that isn’t reported.
BPA Balancing Authority Load and Total Wind Generation

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
August 1, 2021 1:22 pm

To me it doesn’t matter as they are functionally useless, every electron they produce must be backed up 100%, essentially building two generating grids.

But if, as has been suggested and never disproven, every electron produced is outweighed by an electron used to manufacture and maintain this turbine, not only is it an utter waste, but the waste is doubled by requiring reliable backup too.

Richard Page
Reply to  griff
August 1, 2021 8:26 am

Griffy – I think you are being completely disingenuous here. There have been far more than ‘dozens’ but over 50% have been trying to establish a regulatory framework for noise level and siting distances. Several of these recommend that there needs to be more research done on high frequency harmonics from multiple blade rotation, rotational and blade-passing frequencies, and much more research done on ultrasound, low frequency noise as well as terrain and atmospheric conditions. Of the rest, most tried to establish a link between wind turbine noise and a plethora of medical conditions that people have experienced after nearby wind turbine installation. Of these, there is simply very little research or data to draw from although most of the studies noted that the human nervous system is susceptible to vibrations and low frequency noise that may or may not be produced by wind turbines. In short, despite Griffy’s smug dismissal, the result is that not enough research has been done to have a clear understanding of the issues. The jury appears to still be out on this one.

A better question might be ‘why hasn’t more research been done into wind turbine noise?’

Reply to  Richard Page
August 1, 2021 9:26 am

As there are other sources of infrasound like road traffic, railway traffic, even weather related IS sources like wind in mountains (foehn etc) that has been studied much earlier with results showing health effects by IS I got the impression, the windmill IS studies are studies by renewable energy lobbyists.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Krishna Gans
August 2, 2021 3:16 am

Since windmills are the modern equivalent of cathedrals, any study imputing negative impacts would be as likely as a study made by the Inquisition to find harmful effects from attending mass.

The fact that the griffter is certain that they’re harmless should in itself be alarming. That virtually proves that they are deadly!

Reply to  Richard Page
August 1, 2021 10:51 pm

Who will pay for such research?

Reply to  griff
August 1, 2021 8:50 am

About Mechanics of Influence of Infrasound on Living OrganismAbout Mechanics of Influence of Infrasound on Living Organism

Infrasound is an important factor of the environment of modern man, whose body is supposed to function mainlyon the frequencies of infrasound in terms of mechanical processes. The biological effect of infrasound on the livingorganism is manifested by disorders in the activity of the nervous and cardiovascular systems, energy metabolism,the structure of cell membranes.
The materials considered in the article testify to the fruitfulness of ideas about theimportant role of infrasonic processes in the organization of human and mammal life. The accumulation of data infavour of such ideas has a wide scientific, theoretical and practical significance: a living organism is a part of natureand cannot exist outside of nature and its diverse phenomena, the laws of physics and chemistry that describe them.They are based on all processes of life, how complex and bio specific they were not.
Therefore, the question of theratio of living and non-living, external and internal environments of the body, external and internal oscillatoryprocesses in human life and other living organisms, the mechanics of the effect of infrasound on them. It should benoted that the living organism is able to actively change the processes taking place in it, including those caused byinfrasound. I’ve tried to show this in the example of the organization of lymph flow.

Reply to  Krishna Gans
August 1, 2021 10:51 am

I get “server not found”

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Krishna Gans
August 1, 2021 10:05 pm

That paper hardly seems relevant to real situations. The claims in the paper are based on a study that stated “With short-term exposure (up to several days) infrasound intensity of 100 dB and a frequency of 16 Hz caused ultrastructural and morphometric changes in the lymphatic system, which were accompanied by significant functional changes in the body”

100dB is loud. Acoustic guidelines suggest that even at normal frequencies sound levels of 100dB cause severe damage in 8 hours let alone several days.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Izaak Walton
August 2, 2021 7:44 am

100 dB at 16 Hz is not nearly so dangerous as it would be at say 1000Hz. The ear has protective mechanisms that attenuate the response to pressure variations below 1000Hz and are very effective below 20Hz. The threshold of hearing at 5Hz for instance is about 120dB. The world of low frequency, below 20Hz or so, is very different than within the band of human hearing.

Reply to  Krishna Gans
August 1, 2021 11:05 pm

The tissue effects I mentioned elsewhere in this thread seem to be related mainly to mechanically produced infrasound, infrasound produced frequently or for long durations.

Most specifically for wind turbines, a characteristic high energy pulse is produced from the sudden compression, then release, of air as the rotating blade passes over the supporting pylon. Everything within a yet to be well determined distance is subjected to a cyclically repeated high energy acoustic shock: wham, wham, wham

Reply to  griff
August 1, 2021 8:59 am

The effects of noisewith a frequency of 16 Hz at a level of 10 dB above the hearing threshold were observed by Landström and Byström [4]. Exposure to noise caused fatigue and disturbance in wakefulness. Similar results were obtained by Yamazaki and Tokita [5]. According to them, infrasound causes fatigue, depression, stress and sleepiness. Other studies by Danielsson and Landström [6] demonstrate the effect of sounds with frequencies of 6, 12 and 16 Hz and levels of, respectively, 95, 110 and 125 dB on the circulatory system.Systolic blood pressure increase and diastolic blood pressure decrease with no change in the pulse rate have been demonstrated. The biggest symptoms were observed for the frequency of 16 Hz and these symptoms were intensified under the influence of increasing sound level and completely disappeared after cessation of exposure. Studies show that the symptoms discussed are transient and reversible following removal of the infrasound source. When the sound pressure levels exceed 140–150 dB, infrasound can cause permanent, damaging changes to the body [7]. Resonance of structures of internal body organs may occur.


Reply to  Krishna Gans
August 1, 2021 10:59 am
Rich Lentz
Reply to  Krishna Gans
August 1, 2021 3:51 pm

There was a case where a person living near where the first Wind Tunnel that GM built started getting extreme Migraine Headaches. He lived about five miles away and thus it took years before his doctor associated the problem to the inadequate reduction of the noise from the WT to his problem They first blamed medical problems and looked for tumors/cancer in the brain etc. A fluke he had severe problems lasting through the night and there was an article in the daily paper that day about the new Wind Tunnel and how it was reducing drag and saving gasoline.
Ear plugs do NOT work as your bones are vibrating and you get a significant portion of your hearing from your bones. GM had filtered out the noise above 20 Hz or so as I remember and had not even thought of filtering out and noise below that because “Your ears do not here down that low!” I am sure many people have heard/s the very low frequency, 20 down to very small fractions of a second period undulating sound when/if you sit on the last row of a jet that has the engines mounted on either side of the body of the aircraft. I make sure I do NOT get that seat. PERIOD.

Last edited 1 year ago by usurbrain
Reply to  Krishna Gans
August 1, 2021 11:10 pm

As the lecture and papers referenced in my notes make clear, some of these tissue changes are reversed if the infrasound exposure is terminated, some times the body makes compensating changes if exosure is terminated, sometimes the damage is too severe and there is no recovery. Any hope of recovery requires removable of the infrasound or removable of the person from the local of the infrasound. Infrasound cannot be effectively blocked by any reasonable shielding.

Reply to  griff
August 1, 2021 9:04 am

they ALL came up with ‘no negative health effects’.

And they were all bogus, griff. The major limitation on all studies of possible effects of living near a wind turbine is that they are observational.

Obviously you cannot randomise people to live near a wind turbine. There is also no way to blind subjects to their proximity. Some of the data is based on surveys, which introduces an element of selection bias.

But then, bias is your forte is it not.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  fretslider
August 1, 2021 10:35 am

The amounts of lease money that landowners earn from leasing ground for wind turbines is paultry compared to New York City rents….

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 1, 2021 10:45 am

Oops. This is a reply to strarzmom below.

Reply to  griff
August 1, 2021 9:09 am

If wind turbines are that safe and healthy why can’t New York City string them up across the concrete canyons and make their own power? Seems like a win-win to me. They get the renewable power they crave, and no one else has to be inconvenienced or worse for it.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  starzmom
August 1, 2021 10:45 am

please refer to my comment just above…

Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 1, 2021 12:55 pm

What is money? Doesn’t matter to the true believers.

Mark Kaiser
Reply to  griff
August 1, 2021 12:50 pm

griff, I checked all the studies you quoted. Could not find even ONE that disagreed with you. Of course I found none that agreed. But hey, you’re 50% correct.

Joe the non climate expert
Reply to  griff
August 1, 2021 1:45 pm

Dozens of studies – all by activists and all Bull – stuff

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  griff
August 1, 2021 6:08 pm

“Yes, there have been dozens of them.
and they ALL came up with ‘no negative health effects’.”

Cite just one…

Shanghai Dan
Reply to  griff
August 1, 2021 7:53 pm

False. This is actually an area I’ve worked in (as a professional acoustics engineer). There is actually a well-known linkage between infrasound (low frequency) and genetic mutations, enough to create a consideration of cancer:

Yes, actual science behind it. Additionally, high levels of infrasound – while normally “inaudible” are strongly linked to mental and physical fatigue, to the point that infrasound is actually used as a weapon, and tool for “rooting out” targets holed-up in buildings too diffficult (logistically or politically) to physically invade.

Reply to  griff
August 2, 2021 1:00 am

See, you don’t have to believe that, just because you may think that wind is wonderful. The precautionary principle would lead you to avoid citing them where there was any risk.

It would be perfectly consistent to think wind is wonderful and the solution to the climate emergency, but also to think that the turbines should be located in isolated areas removed from human habitation because of concerns about infrasound.

Why don’t any believers argue thus? Why is it that these beliefs always cluster together?

— there is a climate emergency
— wind power is effective and beneficial
— there’s no environmental damage from turbines
— noise from turbines is not a health risk.

Whether or not there is a climate emergency it would be really nice if wind generation was cost effective and safe and could be sited wherever one wants. But the preponderance of evidence is against it, certainly on cost and effectiveness, and there is enough doubt about sound to make it prudent to locate it in isolated areas.

What happened to the precautionary principle, regarding sound? Or birds and bats?

Reply to  griff
August 2, 2021 11:16 am

Griff talking utter bollox as usual!
I live next to a wind farm (YOU DON’T!)- quite a big one with the huge blades (they reckoned some of the largest in Europe).

They are really noisy and obviously sited illegally close to a small town.
The people that allowed them in, financed that sh.t and had them erected, were obviously corrupt and don’t live anywhere close by, which seems to be normal now.

Quite apart from the massive hike in electricity bills since they put thru this diktat, (they were some of the lowest in the EU but simple DOUBLED in 3yrs), if they run in summer time with windows open, sleep disturbance would be the first port of call for negative health effects.
What a twat you are really coming on here talking lies and constant crap.

Reply to  griff
August 2, 2021 11:29 am

Sigh — just click-bait.

Reply to  griff
August 2, 2021 2:07 pm

griff – I beg to differ with your assessment that “they all came up with no negative health effects”
Included in the 2012 Massachusetts Wind Turbine Health Impact Study you will notice that indeed sleep disruption and effects on health and well-being were documented. Suffice it to say since that time several local Boards of Health have declared wind turbine operations to consitute Nuisance conditions – under Ma law Nuisance conditions must be abated / eliminated.

Mass DEP DPH Wind Turbine Health Impact Report – 2012

“Wind turbines can produce unwanted sound (referred to as noise) during operation (p.ES-4)

“In other words it is possible that noise from some wind turbines can cause sleep disruption.  (p. ES-6)

“It is acknowledged that noise from wind turbines can be annoying to some and associated with some reported health effects (e.g., sleep disruption) (p. 29)

 “The epidemiological studies indicate that noise and/or vibration from wind turbines has been noted as causing sleep disruption” (p. 30)

Given the effects of sleep deprivation on health and well-being, including problems with cognition, it is possible that cognitive and mood complaints and other medical and psychological issues associated with sleep loss can stem from living in immediate proximity to wind turbines, if the turbines disrupt sleep.” (p. 32-33)

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 1, 2021 7:33 am

There are quite a few. The Europeans tend to take this issue more seriously than Americans, and I think part of the reason is that many of our wind farms are located in very sparcely located areas and often on sediments that provide for sound absorptive ground. That is going to begin changing. One challenge in this issue is that making accurate sound measurements in and around homes is technically challenging, which makes it difficult to correlate complaints with sound levels. There is also the problem of the sound being intermittant.

However, lab measurements have detected sleep disturbance correlates with turbine operations, and disturbance of the amygdala by low frequency sound (not well represented in the A-scale weighting) and infrasound. As one researcher noted, we don’t know if the individuals prone to disturbance are the tail of the normal human population, or if there is some other physiological/psychological issue at play.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 1, 2021 8:13 am

“sparsely populated”

Ken Irwin
Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 1, 2021 8:55 am

I once lived near an industrial area – one factory had particularly noisy exhaust fans.
The funny thing was they ran 24/7 and you didn’t notice them.
When they shut them down for service – usually about 03:00 – then it would wake you up.
The service normally took about an hour – by which time you had fallen asleep again – and dammit they would wake you up again as they restarted – but no matter how hard you listened, the noise just faded away – your ears simply tune it out – its the change that gets to you.
By similar token as the Plant Engineer of a large factory, I investigated a complaint from a neighbor (about 1km away) about the noise from our air compressors.
I parked outside his house one evening at 03:00 with a B&K sound measuring instrument and found that although I could just about hear the compressors with my own ears I couldn’t detect it on the instrument other than an insignificant flicker on the dial.
I also struggled to get a reading below 40dBA (The maximum reading at the industrial premises boundary = local bylaw limit) – the small waves on a beach 8km away were reading 38 and a light drizzle registered 50, a dog barking went off-scale.
However the sudden change in noise from the compressors and they loaded or unloaded was noticeable to MkI eardrums even if it was below the regulation figure.

So my musing on this subject is :- What happens when the wind direction shifts and the downwind wingtip vortex spirals from one wind turbine suddenly intersect another ?

I suspect a sudden low frequency harmonic change to the timbre of the noise and that is disturbing but difficult to measure.

Our “caveman” brain responds to nearly imperceptible changes in our environment as a survival mechanism.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Ken Irwin
August 1, 2021 9:39 am

Very interesting observations, Ken. I figure our caveman brains are wired to be very sensitive to changes — we are distractable. I don’t know how else to explain the sense of presense, that signal that wakes us up or alerts us to the presence of another person or thing.

The meter you used, did it have a setting that would allow selection of various weighting schemes? Like A, Z, C, etc?

Ken Irwin
Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 1, 2021 10:08 am

Kevin, Yes a full range of spectrums but I only analyzed in A which is the human ear equivalent and as per regulations.

I like your comment “sense of presence” curious but real.

I have done some work on noise analysis in automotive applications and white noise is curious – you can hear it when you turn it on – buy try as you will you can’t latch on to it and it fades in your ears (but not on your instruments).

I used to work in the automotive industry and some cars are now so quiet that they are using the loudspeaker system to mask noise by ramping up white noise from when you turn the car on.

That way you can’t hear the loud white noise but it diminishes the effect of any tiny noises the car might make.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Ken Irwin
August 1, 2021 10:32 am

Acoustics is about as fascinating a technical subject as one could hope to find. I love it, and am constantly learning new things. Your observations are very interesting. Now imagine trying to explain research to a lay audience — just trying to explain “instantaneous” versus “averaged” or the dB scale is pretty difficult.

Robert Alfred Taylor
Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 1, 2021 3:31 pm

presence” As a boy I experimented, and found I could close my eyes and enter an unknown room, and avoid obstructions over waist high and walls by sort of feeling them as pressure on my chest and in my ears. No idea whether I still can.
Anyone know if movie sound engineers still record silence in the areas where dialog was recorded to match acoustics for ADR?

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Robert Alfred Taylor
August 2, 2021 7:48 am

I had not thought about the problem of re-recording and making sure background sound matches. A mismatch would certainly produce a jarring effect.

Reply to  Ken Irwin
August 1, 2021 11:03 am

See this regarding measuring infrasound

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Ken Irwin
August 1, 2021 4:14 pm

It’s not just wind changes that cause the issue, it is the “whoosh…whoosh…whoosh” of the turbine blades, which is a constant disturbance when you think about it, because the sound isn’t steady like “white noise,” it is intermittent and thereby like those exhaust fans you described being turned off, then being turned on, then being turned off…and so on, i.e., constant disturbances that your body won’t be able to “tune out.”

Shanghai Dan
Reply to  Ken Irwin
August 1, 2021 7:57 pm

All of our perception engines (visual, auditory, olfactory, etc) are rising-edge detectors, and the faster the rise – somewhat independent of amplitude – the more we perceive it. It’s also why a rise then steady state tends to disappear after a minute or three.

Reply to  Ken Irwin
August 1, 2021 11:15 pm

Your instrument does not measure infrasound which has been show, by instruments that do measure it, to be produced at a much higher level than the audible frequencies.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 1, 2021 9:30 am

There are studies showing that a mix, IS and audible noise is worse as IS alone.

A psychoacoustical study to investigate the perceived unpleasantness of infrasound combined with audio-frequency sound
At many immission sites of infrasound (frequency f < 20 Hz), humans are exposed to a mixture of infrasound and sound in the common audio-frequency range (audio sound, 20 Hz < f < 20 kHz). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the auditory perception of infrasound and audio sound not only in isolation but also in combination. This laboratory study aims to investigate the perceived unpleasantness of infrasound (sinusoid at 12 Hz) and audio sound (sinusoid at 1000 Hz, pink-noise 250–4000 Hz), presented alone or in combination with each other. A pairwise comparison task and a rating task using a numerical scale were conducted with 19 normal hearing listeners. In addition, individual detection thresholds were determined for the infrasound stimulus. Combinations of infrasound and audio sound were rated as equally or more unpleasant than either sound presented alone. Inter-individual differences in unpleasantness ratings using the numerical scale were particularly high for stimuli containing infrasound. This can only in part be related to the large variability in infrasound thresholds. These findings suggest that simultaneous exposure to infrasound and audio sound can increase the perceived unpleasantness when both are presented at a sufficient level above the detection threshold.

Last edited 1 year ago by Krishna Gans
Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 1, 2021 12:43 pm

To capture infrasound you have to measure dB(lin). It’s too low frequency for dBA meters to pick up. See Alves-Pereira’s presentations on vibroacoustic disease. She measured 3 infrasound pulses per wind turbine revolution; one for each time a blade passed the pylon. Those repeated energy pulses over long term are what cause remodeling of soft tissues, e.g., thickened blood vessel walls (cardiac disease), thickened lung tissue (pulmonary diseases), neurological damage (e.g., epilepsy).

Last edited 1 year ago by icisil
Kevin kilty
Reply to  icisil
August 1, 2021 1:54 pm

OK, so dBZ.

Reply to  icisil
August 1, 2021 11:21 pm

My impression of the changes is that they occur at the cellular level. They are all in a supporting tissue type that is used many places in the body. Did you get a different picture?

Reply to  AndyHce
August 2, 2021 5:06 am

Yeah cellular level. My guess is the inanimate mechanical force pulses activate toll-like receptors on cellular membranes that start inflammatory cascades that produce collagen buildup and thickening.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 1, 2021 11:13 pm

But how many studies look at the repeatable tissue changes?

Dennis G Field
Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 2, 2021 2:11 am

You may find this video interesting…

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Dennis G Field
August 2, 2021 9:12 am

Yes. Interesting.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 1, 2021 10:48 am

There is a lot of research on health effects of infrasound, a great deal of it by military of various countries. The bottom line is that it produces proliferation of collagen in tissues with disasterous cumulative effects.

This starts with a discussion of how relevant noise needs to be measured, gives a history of the early observations of pathology in some industrial settings, and summarizes the recent research which defines the pathology and methods to measure pathological effects.

Eric Harpham
Reply to  Gary Pearse
August 2, 2021 11:56 am

Google Mariana Alves-Pereira. She has been researching infrasound since the late 1980s and has given many lectures about the health problems caused.

Try to find her lecture in May 2019 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. It lasts an hour but it is well worth listening to.

Walter Horsting
August 1, 2021 6:42 am

What is the source level at 3 or 6 meters to start the calculations with? Coming out of the large concert sound industry, the scale of a wind farm becomes in itself a large source that increased the distance to where you start the 6db per doubling. A variant of a modified phased array if you will.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Walter Horsting
August 1, 2021 7:13 am

Depending on make and model the initial noise level at the hub is considered to be in the range of 105dBA at a source diameter of 2m with wind at 9m/s. This is from Vestas for their 150-4.2MW unit, other makes and models may vary.

John Dawson
Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 1, 2021 9:46 am

The trouble with dBA is the huge roll offs at low frequencies. The human ear/brain system is insensitive to low frequencies at low levels but much less so at high levels (see Fletcher Munsen equal loudness contours and later refinements). The dBA weighting does not change with level and so does not take account of this, so 105dBA at the hub could be 135dB at 50 Hz, 145dB at 30Hz and so on.

Such levels are likely to be injurious to health even when attenuated by some distance.

As the author suggests, current measurements and standards arguably haven’t kept up with what large wind turbine arrays might produce sonically.

(I am an experienced audio design engineer by the way with an interest in hearing loss).

Kevin kilty
Reply to  John Dawson
August 1, 2021 10:51 am

These are good points, John. Thus the C and G scales do more to weight low frequencies appropriately. Most of what I have read regarding wind turbines does not find levels at 145dBG for instance, but as turbines become larger they tend to produce more disturbances below 60Hz. One of the devilish things about low frequency is its propagation is far more connected to meteorology (tendency to switch from spherical attenuation to cylindrical during inversions) and its much less attenuation through absorption.

John Dawson
Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 1, 2021 11:08 am

Indeed. I think the starting point should be to publish the unweighted spectra of the sound output from the turbine(s) at some standard distance and with varying wind speeds. This distance should be fairly small compared with the turbine’s dimensions. I guess it would also need to be polar, at least in the horizontal plane. For comparison most speakers are measured at 1m, comparable with the speaker’s dimensions and before room resonances get in the way. It’s called the near field measurement, as opposed to far field.

When you have that you can apply weightings and other modelling with more confidence.

There’s a lot of work been done in this space with loudspeakers both in the domestic and outdoor environments (e.g. live sound reinforcement). Sadly very little if any will have been at infrasonic frequencies but I imagine the rules will still broadly apply.

General readers might also wish to note that the air attenuates high frequencies much more than low ones. That’s why the sound of a thunderstorm at distance is a rumble, whereas close up it is a loud crack!

Reply to  John Dawson
August 1, 2021 12:26 pm

I would like to see receptors installed in the wind farm region which are designed from the get-go to detect infrasound. I’m thinking cast concrete horn loaded large diameter speakers used as a microphone. These are very efficient. I’m not so concerned about A-curves, or any other non-infrasound designed detectability curves. I just want to know and capture the data.

I suspect this would be a useful task for a group from this website. There is certainly a reasonable cross section of the scientific and engineering knowledge available here. In a sense it would be the complement to setting up a vast network of meteorological stations. Idle thought, while designing the sound detectors, why not incorporate the MSs? They would be relative detectors for weather, but might be calibrated if desired.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  wsbriggs
August 1, 2021 1:25 pm

This is a good suggestion, W.S. It would be very worthwhile to go to some pains to collect good quality data, and compare to the original EIS. I have a couple of Hall-Sears seismometers that I am hoping to use to record ground vibrations, ’cause practically no one pays attention to this.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 2, 2021 12:22 am

The German study I mentioned above pointed out that the German Government rejected complaints abut wind turbine infrasound because they have a large network of in the ground instruments to detect nuclear bomb tests. It should (they believed) detect an significant wind turbine infrasound but did not. The study that detected and identified the sound used some instrument that they identified in the video. The levels were quite high as produced and still measurable at 20 kilometers.

Reply to  wsbriggs
August 2, 2021 11:30 am

You are welcome to come to my place to do this.
I have an entire equipped studio available and a speaker system which measurably goes down to around 10hz

If you want to record our local massive wind farm, then present the evidence to the government that is’s illegal, that’s fine by me!

I have already recorded the damn things, and it’s fairly frightening the sound levels involved.

Reply to  John Dawson
August 1, 2021 1:25 pm
Walter Horsting
Reply to  John Dawson
August 3, 2021 5:40 pm

I CAN’T HEAR YOU! Joking after 3,000 shows over 10-years.

Yes low frequency has been tested as a weapon, I’d like to see the acoustic 0-20K frequency distribution over low; mid, and high wind conditions.

August 1, 2021 6:43 am

Funny, I know several environistas personally and they endlessly without end complain about the noise of vehicles, farm animals and equipment, recreational vehicles of all types, airplanes, even children playing. When you mention the noise from wind turbines they all say the same thing,”Just deal with it!”. I have repeatedly suggested they relocate to a home next to a wind turbine and their lists of excuses not to is as endless as their complaining about other people’s noise.

Reply to  2hotel9
August 1, 2021 6:47 am

Well I don’t know how it is in the USA but in the UK and Europe they don’t build them next to peoples homes…

Kevin kilty
Reply to  griff
August 1, 2021 7:16 am

It is true that in Europe the set back requirement is generally greater than many wind turbine developers try to push in the U.S. But the number of turbines “needed” is so great that close development can’t help but occur at some point. I have seen setback specs in the US around 1200 feet. Probably way too close.

bill Johnston
Reply to  griff
August 1, 2021 7:42 am

Only if the property owner signs a waiver and/or release.

Richard Page
Reply to  griff
August 1, 2021 9:12 am

Don’t they now, Griffy? The government here in the UK have rejected all regulation on minimum required distance of wind farms from residential areas, whilst industry regulators use their own minimum distance of just 350m in England, 500m in Wales and 2km in Scotland. Elsewhere in the world, the minimum distance based on noise prevention has been set at around 1.2-1.5km (Australia), 550m/1.5km (Canada) and 10 times the height of the turbine plus blade in m (Northern Ireland). To put this all into perspective, the furthest distance that wind turbine noise has been proven to cause annoyance is 14km. In the UK it is entirely possible to put a single wind turbine next to or directly on top of a house.

Reply to  griff
August 1, 2021 9:28 am

Rubbish. There are many turbines near homes in the UK.

Climate believer
Reply to  Mardler
August 1, 2021 10:22 am

In Europe too, Grifter is just making sh@t up again as usual.

There is anger and a massive backlash in France against these ineffective eyesores that clutter the landscape and create misery for humans and wildlife wherever they are erected.

France is a nuclear powered state, we have no need for 13th century technology.

Climate believer
Reply to  Climate believer
August 1, 2021 11:33 am

Absolute abomination…

Richard Page
Reply to  Climate believer
August 1, 2021 12:17 pm

Yup – where is the modern Don Quixote when you need him!

Rich Davis
Reply to  Climate believer
August 2, 2021 3:43 am

Good image of the old and new religion side by side.

Reply to  Climate believer
August 2, 2021 11:53 am

This is the monsters we have.

comment image

comment image

The sea in the horizon.

FYI,- frequency of the shadowflicker created by modern windturbines is in the range of 0.6 to 1.0 Hz, the shadowflicker effects created by windturbines do not have the potential to trigger epileptic seizures (Epilepsy Foundation, 2008).

In Germany, the windturbine nighttime noise limit is not to exceed 35 dBA.

POLAND is considering a proposed a law with a 2.0 km (1.24 mile) buffer zone between a wind turbine and any building.

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  griff
August 1, 2021 10:13 am

IIRC, Europe’s tallest wind turbine at Jct 11 of the M4 at Reading is only about 1/2 mile from the nearest housing. Mind you, it’s been a while since I passed that way so it may no longer be the tallest or nearest any more.

Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
August 1, 2021 11:24 pm

There are some interesting comments made in this report about a proposed windmill project near Bristol.

Ambition Lawrence Weston development manager Mark Pepper said the Health & Safety Executive agreed that safety was not a concern.

He said: “To reduce the size of the turbine will not enable enough revenue generated to pay back the build costs, let alone see a return come back to the community”.
“Reducing or moving is not financially or ecologically viable.”

I was particularly interested in the developer’s comment about the viability of the project.
There seems to be no comment on the noise implications of the project and the residents support for the project are fixated on getting cheap electricity.
I think they may be in for two unpleasant surprises, noise and electricity cost.

Reply to  griff
August 1, 2021 4:08 pm

Germany surely isn’t big enough to build a substantial number of ANYTHING “not next to people’s homes”, and AFAIK other Western European countries are not much different. It has become difficult to find a place in Northern Germany where no wind turbines are visible from some areas where people live. And given that one can still hear the rumble of a large aircraft high enough in the sky to be no longer visible to the naked eye, I am positive one will hear (or rather feel, in the IS range) the noise from a wind farm close enough to see.

Reply to  griff
August 2, 2021 11:32 am

How does less than mile sound GRIFF??!!
That’s an intolerably close distance in my book NEXT TO MY HOME!

How about laying off the lies and other crap Griff?

Reply to  griff
August 2, 2021 2:29 pm

And yet another lie spewed by the lie spewing liar. You have boasted in the past about how they are built around residential areas, called it a “plus” for sustainability. You lie spewing scumbag.

Ron Long
August 1, 2021 6:51 am

Good report, Kevin. I managed an insitu-leach uranium exploration project, located just NE of Casper, Wyoming (Sage Creek) and had experience with the N-S line of wind turbines that crossed our project. Standing underneath these monster turbines you hear the whoosh of the turbine blades, but you also feel a strong vibration. I saw many dead birds, including protected raptors, and watched, early one Monday morning as a crew arrived and threw the dead birds into the back of a pickup truck. Anyone, on either side of the wind turbine issue, should go stand underneath these noisy bird choppers and then make a decision one way or the other.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Ron Long
August 1, 2021 7:21 am

Interesting. You must have been working there in the mid 2000s or so? Many of the older projects locally involved turbines of 500kW to 650kW and so were very small. Even they would make substantial noise at distance on cold mornings in autumn and winter (inversion), now those are being repowered to 3 and 4 MW. Curiously, in a couple of instances after decommissioning, no new turbines have been put up, and I am wondering why, but suspect interference with sensitive installations, as in missile silos, which as you know have seismic site alarms.

Reply to  Ron Long
August 1, 2021 7:25 am

I grew up on military posts, and often experienced armadas of helicopters flying over the house. I felt as if the noise was almost minor in comparison to the vibrations I could feel through my body. The whole house also shook and one wondered when the glasses were going to fall off the shelves. A content diet of something like that cannot be good for anybody.

Reply to  starzmom
August 1, 2021 8:54 am

That should be a constant diet of something like that. sorry.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  starzmom
August 2, 2021 7:17 am

Yes, some helicopters, like the Huey, you can “feel” long before you can see or hear them.

Coach Springer
August 1, 2021 7:08 am

Just spent the evening on a patio within shouting distance of a wind turbine field. No noise what so ever. Then again, the blades hadn’t turned all day.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Coach Springer
August 1, 2021 1:37 pm

If you watch closely, they will often be turning really slowly. This is to prevent the bearings becoming malformed.

It also consumes electricity instead of generating it.

August 1, 2021 7:21 am

Different enviro groups are now insisting that wind turbines at some locations be shut down during bird migration periods….

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 1, 2021 5:30 pm

Which won’t stop the killings at other times – SMH.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  DMacKenzie
August 2, 2021 7:48 am

They not only kill birds but insects. In Apocalypse Never, Michael Shellenberger quotes a German researcher saying

“Wind-rich migration trails used by insects for millions of years are increasingly seamed by wind farms” and a “rough but conservative estimate of wind farms on flying insects in Germany” is a “loss of about 1.2 trillion insects of different species per year. ( p195)

Insects are an important part of the ecosystem and play a central role in various processes such as pollination.

August 1, 2021 7:53 am

Kevin Kilty: That was really good.

I’m familiar with noise levels from my career in manufacturing. In the US, OSHA puts a lot of emphasis on sound levels in the workplace.

Measuring sound levels in a facility is complex. There are easy cases where a noisy process is involved and the question is then just how long employees are exposed to the noise. But above a certain threshold for noise exposure, OSHA requires annual hearing tests at the facilities.

What I would add is that wind farms should take into account not just the sound levels, but the effects on nearby residents, much the same as OSHA requires annual hearing tests in certain facilities.

I’m guessing here, but I don’t think the sound levels from the turbines require nearby residents to shout to be heard above the noise. However, the sounds nearby residents do receive may have negative effects.

And we are back to a sticky, uncertain situation. People are different and some frequencies are really detrimental to certain people while other people are unaffected by the same frequencies.

Perhaps a bond should be posted by the wind farm owners to cover the cost of remediation for affected residents. Ill effects on certain people can’t be predicted in advance, but as I understand it, some ill effects are certain to occur.

Perhaps that’s easier to figure out – how many people might be expected to have negative effects and the cost of remediation – now that there are enough wind farms to get actual results.

Sure, a large bond will just add cost to the wind farm project, but wind projects are already expensive. What’s a little more necessary cost added to the totally unnecessary base cost of the project?

Kevin kilty
Reply to  H.R.
August 1, 2021 8:09 am

Yes! A lot of attention is paid to limiting sound in industrial faclities. I imagine that a fair portion of budget in industrial development is devoted to sound mitigation, especially for nearby residents. In the case of wind turbines the issue is sound at night when the temperature structure of the atmosphere is more conducive to concentration of sound and its propagation. At some level sound disturbs peoples’ sleep and the only means of sound mitigation is more setback distance. And the variability from person to person is probably as great as variations to viruses and vaccines.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 1, 2021 8:59 am

I am curious as the whether the vibrations are in any way similar to visual flashes in how they affect some people. The Detroit airport, which I travel through regularly, has a “light and sound show” in the tunnel between the terminals. A prominent sign states that the visual stimulation may cause seizures and other effects in some people, and there is a button to turn off the display. Vibrations would just be a different stimulus, but nonetheless, a stimulus.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  starzmom
August 1, 2021 9:42 am

I was surprised to find the academic research on these issues to be scant, spotty, and sometimes downright deficient. For example, in all the reports I have read about seismic vibrations only one had any information about local geology, which is fundamental to ground vibration and its propagation.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 1, 2021 11:00 am

That also surprises me. Although it may be one of those things that is so hard to isolate from other stimuli, for want of a better term, as well as hard to measure, that studies are simply inconclusive.

Ken Irwin
Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 2, 2021 12:38 am

Kevin, you get low frequency harmonics in tall building structures – I know I can feel them and I know they make some people quite queasy.
You might find more research into that.

Reply to  H.R.
August 1, 2021 11:43 pm

The percentages may be quite low but some people are sensitive and are damaged by many types of vaccines. The vaccine producers and injectors have zero liability and getting any compensation is quite difficult.

Peta of Newark
August 1, 2021 7:54 am

Human ears are funny things and and an especially unfunny thing about them is that ‘silence‘ is actually deafening

As external sounds diminish to zero watts per sqm, our ears still expect to hear something and the ‘turn up the gain‘ – expecting to hear something.

To all intents what happens is that they ‘make their own noise‘ if they can’t detect any.

Ears really are incredible things with the dynamic range that they have and as we read in the essay here, even the author gets a bit confused.

I always took 3bB to mean a doubling of the actual power within whatever system you’re looking at or listening to.

But perceived loudness, as stated, follows a roughly logarithmic path.
Thus my Rule of Thumb was/is for something to sound twice as loud as before, its actual power is ten times greater.
Hence the huuuuge dynamic range.

The noise windmills make, incredibly this impinges upon a wonderation I posted into here very recently, depends on their aerodynamics – especially obviously of the blades themselves.
My recent post was about exactly that and why the power output of wind turbines always seems to drop to 50% after 15 years of operation.
Basically, the blades lose their initial shine/gloss/polish close the the tips and this reduces their aerodynamics.
It would also make them increasingly noisy as they age. Makes perfect sense – if the wind energy is not going into elecktrikery then it must go somewhere = noise.

That came from a very small one-metre diameter diameter windmill I experimented with.
It had hard plastic moulded blades and the edges of which were insanely sharp.
Now most folks would think that would make them ‘aerodynamic’ but no – it actually made them incredibly noisy.
Maybe think of it as the sharp edges working like a whistle
The (now disappeared) renewable energy forum I watched were great fans of windmills and knew the problem well – they always said to take sandpaper, grit or a grinder to the sharp edges on new turbines blades – seemingly trashing the aerodynamics but actually improving them.
Funny old world innit.

As big turbines as they age, hairline cracks in the plastic resin, tiny indents from grit, hail whatever etc etc will all behave as myriad tiny whistles that will combine into a wall of whooshing and noise, drive everyone nuts.
Because that is the sound that human ears make when there isn’t anything to hear and it is maddening.

But, you see the problem now, when the turbines are new and being tested, they wll be as ultra aerodynamic as possible and thus = ‘quiet’

Another aspect and a discussion i found myself getting into, was from some Dutch folks, situated a reasonable distance from a wind farm.
Their problem was, and nobody Had A Frigging Clue what I was on about (same old same old eh) – the problem was ‘resonance’

There was very little measurable noise coming from them but people’s rooms, furniture, mattresses were fizzing and jumping about like nobody’s business

And that IS resonance, a very tiny signal can set off a huge response – especially when folks build nice square houses with perfectly parallel walls and minimal interior ‘soft stuff’
Those structures will ‘ring like a bell’ with a very low-level signal otherwise buried and invisible in the gentle whoosh of a passing breeze, or a flock of standing turbines.

Lots to think about innit

A very good place to learn about ears is actually in (not directly please) front of the bass-bins at an electronic dance festival.
Especially modern day festivals where they have 10kWatts systems that would rival, sound quality-wise, THE most expensive home systems you could buy.

Seriously, those rigs really impressive technically.
it comes from a trick cheap car-radios used. What they did was set the amplifier in them to be overdriven at about setting 5 or 6 on the volume control.
The sound thus became clipped and distorted.
What that does is to actually ‘hurt’ our ears, distorted sound is genuinely painful.
Innocent young (usually) men mistook that for the sound ‘being so loud it hurt’

Hence the rigs at EDM events – they create immense sound powers without distortion – you just have GOT TO BE THERE to understand……….

Last edited 1 year ago by Peta of Newark
Gary Pearse
Reply to  Peta of Newark
August 1, 2021 9:55 am

“And that IS resonance, a very tiny signal can set off a huge response – especially when folks build nice square houses with perfectly parallel walls and minimal interior ‘soft stuff’”

Interesting, Peta. Many years ago, while investigating possibilities for early detection of earthquakes I was
studying “eye witness” accounts of earth quake experiences and was struck by the common occurrence of animals, dogs and horses, in particular, responding.

Ahead of the physical shock is the sound because sound travels through water at 4 times sound speed in air and up to 20 times speed in air for granites. However, witnesses reported animals responding nervously before the sound arrived!

If true, this had to be electromagnetic transmission. I reasoned a home with all its electrical and electronic appliances and a thoroughly wired house, may be acting as a receiver/amplifier.

But, what is the transmitter? Quartz (SiO2) is second in mineral abundance in the earth’s crust to feldspars (alkali-aluminum- silicates) and it is a piezoelectric material, i.e. it becomes electrically charged when mechanically stressed. The compressional and shear forces along and adjacent to the fault zone would create this charged field. Would it create current flow, sparking in the fractures, transmit radio waves? Well, I never got the funds or opportunity to test this hypothesis. Anyone reading this is welcome to give it a try, build a suitable radio receiver.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
August 2, 2021 12:03 pm

Yeah, as the ambient noise level gets lower, the ringing in my old ears gets equally louder.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
August 2, 2021 12:42 pm

And mentioning resonance, a 20 Hz infrasound’s wavelength would be about 55′, which is similar to at least one of typical house’s outer dimension, which might cause a resonance in the entire house.

Last edited 1 year ago by beng135
Pat from kerbob
August 1, 2021 8:24 am

Here in windy alberta, same sort of zone as Wyoming, our wind assets are again over performing at 11% of nameplate

Reply to  Pat from kerbob
August 1, 2021 9:05 am

It is Sunday morning in Kansas, and the Southwest Power Pool is getting almost 53% of its power from coal, 12% from wind which is about 12% of nameplate. I do hope they don’t shut down the rest of the coal.

August 1, 2021 8:27 am

In Ontario, Canada the liberal government rammed wind machines down the throats of several communities. People started having health problems they never had before the turbines came. They are very close to the houses. Here is the video, kind of cringe in a lot of ways, but the sound they make would drive most people nuts.

Richard Page
Reply to  Michael
August 1, 2021 10:32 am

I was looking up the distances for other areas and came across the minimum distances for Ontario – it’s 500m for shorter turbines and 1500m for the tall ones. I didn’t see what the actual heights of the ‘short’ and ‘tall’ height categories were though.

Reply to  Michael
August 1, 2021 1:19 pm

Anyone who finds themselves in this unfortunate situation needs to hire someone to measure and document dB(lin) around their property and in every room of their house before and after wind turbines are operational.

Last edited 1 year ago by icisil
August 1, 2021 8:49 am

With most situations there are usually both ‘positives’ and ‘negatives’. My major objections to windmills are the damage they cause to the environment, their killing of birds, their unsightly appearance which can spoil one’s appreciation of the beauty of nature, and the cost of responsibly recycling them when they need replacing.

I suspect the noise they produce is not as significant as the noise from traffic on highways that many people have to tolerate. For example, I live on an acreage property which is about 500 metres, as the crow flies, from a major highway. Unfortunately, the bedroom window faces the highway. If I open the bedroom windows at night, which I’d like to do to get plenty of fresh air, my sleep is sometimes disturbed by the noise from large trucks, so I open the windows on the opposite side of the house, and keep the bedroom door open.

There are many homes much closer than 500 metres from that highway. I hope the occupants don’t close all windows at night. We breathe out about 100 times as much CO2 as we breathe in.

Reply to  Vincent
August 1, 2021 11:51 pm

You have a couple of links in this thread that should make you reconsider your view of
“not as significant as the noise from traffic on highways that many people have to tolerate”.

August 1, 2021 8:59 am

It is interesting how people who wish to avoid the nuisances presented by wind projects are now called NIMBYs by environmentalists.”

I would bet most, if not all, live in downtown somewhere or other where turbines cannot be located.

Thomas Gasloli
August 1, 2021 9:09 am

And of course, all of these noise issues are for a completely useless, government mandated, tax payer subsidized boondoggle for politically connected billionaires. What a good idea.

Steve Case
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
August 1, 2021 9:42 am

 “…government mandated, tax payer subsidized boondoggle…”

When George Orwell wrote “Animal Farm” he chose the windmill to represent the boondoggles that oppressive governments use to make it look like they are making progress.

August 1, 2021 9:13 am

Now do bird deaths from the stupid things. Glad they won’t be putting any of them around here.

August 1, 2021 9:18 am

Totally off topic question but still pertinent to why we even have wind turbines .
What correlation has there been with CO2 in regards to ice ages over thousands of years verses CO2 atmospheric in last few hundred years .
Maybe I should ask a politician or the IPCC for answer .

August 1, 2021 9:29 am

Wind turbine (actually wind energy convertors WECs) are magical beasts! They can cause any known disease with there whooshing blades. The diseases claimed in this document are obviously true:
Wind_Disease_List.pdf;jsessionid=9325E674E04BC79AAA25C7CD9991F9F9 (

Who couldn’t believe
“Unusual malignant tumours were seen in the lungs, colon and brain… [and were caused by] low frequency vibrations.”
“Unexplained mass die-offs of livestock have occurred near some wind farms. In New Zealand, 400 goats dropped dead”
“lack of sex drive”

Kevin kilty
Reply to  ghalfrunt
August 1, 2021 10:24 am

It is true that people make lots of nutty claims about their health problems. I listened to lots of emotional and even unhinged testimony in one of these hearings from people who live inside the perimeter of the wind farm. On the other hand, I also had to listen to lots of sparkle-headed testimony from supporters of the project, most of who live well away from the project. However, a number of home owners in the project claim it is the last, best hope to prevent full subdivision of the entire area — that argument is a “we had to destroy the village in order to save it” argument if ever I heard one. And of course a number of officials expressed support for the project because climate change. That is “magical thinking” on an industrial scale.

But if you are trying to say that noise should be regulated in the workplace, residential neighborhoods, and so forth, but not be regulated in this instance. Well, there is an unpleasant label fitting you. And did you bother to read why calculations of noise are being made with a standard that has many limitations and seems inappropriate, or just looked at the title and typed away?

Richard Page
Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 1, 2021 10:38 am

I was looking at the minimum distances between residential homes and wind farms for another post and came away with the distinct impression that the distances used are bugger all to do with noise pollution and more to do with having enough room for the turbine to self-destruct without physically hitting people in their houses.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Richard Page
August 1, 2021 11:20 am

Very interesting you should mention this. If a person researches carefully that person will find projects in which the requested setback from the developer is less than the developer’s setback requirements for their own assets like maintenance shops.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 1, 2021 11:58 am

There is a reason why heath complaints are all over the map. Infrasound affects the whole body, and depending on what is the weakest link, that will be the source of symptoms.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Fran
August 1, 2021 6:48 pm

Interesting, but very long video. I had some issues with the audio…

Reply to  Kevin kilty
August 1, 2021 11:58 pm

I remember this as having good enough audio. It is shorter too but has considerable information.

Reply to  ghalfrunt
August 1, 2021 1:27 pm

It’s called mechanotransduction, i.e., conversion of mechanical energy to biochemical energy. The repeated mechanical force of wind turbine infrasound stimulates fleshly bodies to release inflammatory molecules that reek havoc after extended periods. Much like the mechnotransduction caused by the repeated pressure pulses of mechanical ventilators that activate pulmonary and systemic inflammatory pathways that lead to multiple organ failure and death.

Last edited 1 year ago by icisil
Reply to  ghalfrunt
August 1, 2021 11:54 pm

Listen to one of the Mariana Alves Pereira – Ljubljana lectures before you finalize that belief.

Reply to  ghalfrunt
August 2, 2021 11:58 am

ghalfruit, yes, it’s all a conspiracy theory by those right-wingers!

(Do you sense any irony here?)

Last edited 1 year ago by beng135
August 1, 2021 9:41 am

For the non-scientific readers here, you may want to read Broken Wing: Birds, Blades and Broken Promises. Therein lies an extensive list of global infrasound research studies, beginning with the physician in NZ who began the community protest response to wind turbine farms several years ago.

August 1, 2021 9:50 am

“No negative health effects” is propaganda. Many years ago I wrote a paper for an engineering course on noise and its’ effects on health. The obvious is hearing loss and both cause and effect can be easily measured. Loss of sleep, attention, and environment are not easily measured, rarely taken into account, and what’s acceptable is not universally agreed on. “Nuisance” to one person can be devastating to another. Sound walls between freeways and residences are common for a reason. “Getting acclimated” to background noise means losing hearing acuity and reducing sense of feel.

Reply to  markl
August 2, 2021 12:14 am

Also, I concluded (could be my imagination, no?) that frequent exposure to noise levels (including music) significantly below OSHA regulations is damaging to hearing (not to mention peace of mind). My queries to a few acoustical scientists elicited general agreement that the standards were most likely merely a compromise between the health of the worker bees and the requirements of (and expenses to) industry, not a shield against hearing loss.

Furthermore, there was a study published not long ago wherein it was reported that testing of people in a number of locations generally isolated from industrial civilizations, and not yet accosted by industrial noise, found that there was no reduction of hearing acuteness nor reduction of frequency range (no high frequency hearing attenuation) at any age. I guess someone should try to replicate the tests soon or it will become akin to “there is no planet B (any more)”

Bruce Cobb
August 1, 2021 9:51 am

Noise pollution. One person’s noise is another’s freedom. But freedom has both responsibilities and limits. Where to draw the line. It’s a sticky wicket.

Smart Rock
August 1, 2021 9:52 am

Remember the health effects reported from the US embassy in Havana? I don’t think the questions were ever answered to anyone’s satisfaction, but IIRC infrasound was the main suspect.

Anyone follow that more closely and know if they did get beyond idle speculation?

Reply to  Smart Rock
August 2, 2021 11:52 am

I thought it was/is directed microwave beams? Soviets do that to the American embassy in Moscow.

Stephen E. Ambrose
August 1, 2021 10:00 am

Wind turbine noise is very easy to understand for the listener, I have and they sound awful and made sleep impossible. Acoustic experts fail to report hearing wind turbines with their precision instruments left unattended. Noise control engineering goals were once used to protect public health, safety and wellbeing. Now it is used to protect wind turbine operation from neighbor complaints.

Reply to  Stephen E. Ambrose
August 1, 2021 12:00 pm

Of course they can’t “hear” them with their instruments: the instruments are not sensitive to sound waves outside the range of human hearing.

Stephen E. Ambrose
Reply to  Fran
August 1, 2021 1:59 pm

Fran, I was talking about audible noise. Infrasound is discussed in the Bruce McPherson Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise Study. An experience I never want to have again.

Reply to  Stephen E. Ambrose
August 1, 2021 4:43 pm

I am hesitant to add to this discussion, but here goes: Away from large cities like Chicago, the observed metronomic sound of a working wind turbine at the low frequency end of human hearing becomes clearly audible at night when most other noise distractions aren’t present. Among the first persons (and dairy cattle) in the US to be affected by this type of sound were the occupants of a farm on the Tughill Plateau just east of lake Ontario. The people affected reported difficulty sleeping and dry dairy cattle. The farmers’ father had thought he was doing a good thing, leasing his land for wind energy, and his town went along with it. If I remember correctly, one of 19 windmills fell during a storm, disabling power output from the other 18 windmills. Unfortunately, maintenance of the wind mills wasn’t included; however, I do not know how this situation was handled.

As to metronomic sound of any frequency, at any level from base frequency through at least the second harmonic, it interferes with the physical nature of our being as described here by others. Given the nature of sound produced by windmills, the power output expressed in decibels as a sound pressure level should follow the inverse square law and enable one to determine the distance from the windmill at which sound is not detected. That calculation should help in setting safe distances, discussed above.

But, hey, what do I know…yes, only what I can observe.

Reply to  Walter Keane
August 2, 2021 12:18 am

Do you recall that whale song (very low frequencies) can reportedly thousands of miles through the ocean with little attenuation. Infrasound travel through air (and any solid objects smaller than mountains) may not be quite a good but it can be measured much further afield that audible frequencies.

Reply to  AndyHce
August 2, 2021 7:00 pm

Yes, in isothermal water such as found in deep water in the gi-uk gap. As far as sound affecting humans, the major issue in my experience is a metronomic sound pattern, whether related to windmill-generated LF or when used as inaudible directed energy, as suspected in the afflictions of the US Embassy staff in
Cuba (and elsewhere).

Gordon A. Dressler
August 1, 2021 11:09 am

This doesn’t sound good at all.

August 1, 2021 12:36 pm

To capture infrasound you have to measure dB(lin). It’s too low frequency for dBA meters to pick up. See Alves-Pereira’s presentations. She measured 3 infrasound pulses per wind turbine revolution; one for each time a blade passed the pylon. Those repeated energy pulses over long term are what cause remodeling of soft tissues, e.g., thickened blood vessel walls (cardiac disease), thickened lung tissue (pulmonary diseases), neurological damage (epilepsy).

Last edited 1 year ago by icisil
Stephen E. Ambrose
Reply to  icisil
August 1, 2021 2:03 pm

A microbarograph is a very good low cost instrument for measuring 0.1 Hz to 20 Hz Hz.

Stephen E. Ambrose
Reply to  icisil
August 1, 2021 4:21 pm

That is the one I used.

Mark Kaiser
August 1, 2021 12:47 pm

Hate to be a party pooper but super-scientist and former Premier Dalton McGinty thinks otherwise. From the 2011 Ontario election campaign:

“The science in fact is there,” McGuinty said Thursday during a campaign stop at a Toronto hospital. 😲

Fascinating article, although I’ll admit a bit beyond my math skills but only a bit because of your detailed explanations. Thanks Kevin.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mark Kaiser
August 1, 2021 6:23 pm


Very interesting post. You obviously spent a lot of time in researching and preparation. Thank you!

Jon R
August 1, 2021 7:48 pm

That’s why I live downtown, I won’t ever have to be near one.

Driving through Kansas to Denver about makes me puke, just the sight of them causes nausea.

August 1, 2021 9:22 pm

Biden , reading from script
: i can’t see or hear any problem :
Off script , what did i just say ? did i say it right , is this important like covid is to voters ?

Reply to  george1st:)
August 2, 2021 11:46 am

Off script: Where’s that sumptuous little girl I pointed out earlier?

Last edited 1 year ago by beng135
August 1, 2021 9:38 pm

The moral case for fossil fuels

A sure-to-be-controversial defense of the fossil fuel industry Conventional wisdom says fossil fuels are an unsustainable form of energy that is destroying our planet. But Alex Epstein shows that if we look at the big picture, the much-hated fossil fuel industry is dramatically improving our planet by making it a far safer and richer place.

August 1, 2021 10:50 pm

While I personally don’t know the truth of the claims, there are studies going back decades that document physical tissue changes in many parts of the body, leading to poor functioning, animal stillbirths, and sometimes death, from infrasound damage, including infrasound from wind turbines. These tissue changes have, reportedly, been found in the field and can be consistently produced in the lab. There are explicit reasons the changes will not be noticed in autopsies unless examined properly in ways apparently not part of normal procedures, but can be observed readily enough with the proper tissue microscopic treatment. Various physical health consequence have been identified relating to specific physical tissue changes.

In spite of this, all the health effect wind turbine studies that seem to get any attention at all focus on touch-feely aspects of exposure: I feel dizzy, I feel depressed, I feel disoriented, I get headaches, I don’t sleep well, etc. etc. These are all subjective claims. They may be true, they may be imaginary, they can not be objectively verified. Some physical symptoms such as increased blood pressure can be measured but could be from a universe of other causes and are not consistent across populations. Any mentions of the changes and the functional changes thereof are mostly ignored and otherwise poo-pooed without reference to any evidence.

It seem to me that the reason for this apparently studious ignoring is the most interesting and disturbing aspects of it all: WHY? Studies are claiming damage from infrasound but do not or will not investigate aspects that could be readily subject to controlled testing. Journal papers have been published, the information is available, yet no researcher outside a very small group will even acknowledge its existence. Almost all only seem interested in complaining about aspects that someone else can readily suggest are subjective or unrelated to wind turbines.

It makes me think about a demonstration to show me how two large dogs are afraid of the family cat. A favorite dog snack was placed on the floor near the sleeping cat. One at a time the two dogs were brought in and pointed at the treat, then both dogs at the same time. Not only would the dogs not approach the treat but they studiously refused to even look at the cat. They went wide, keeping their heads pointed away from the cat, and sniffed everywhere else. Then the cat woke up and placed a paw over the treat (which it did not want). The two dogs immediately left the area.

Here is a lecture that explains much of this (infrasound damage).

The organization this lecturer works with produced a list of published research going back to the 1980s.

A fairly recent German study identified the acoustic energy, the generation thereof, and the reason previous German government studies had not identified these noise components. Unfortunately I don’t have a link. I listened to a youtube lecture about the research but that is as much as I can remember about the source.

August 2, 2021 12:53 am

What is interesting about Griff’s comments is the following.

There are two propositions that are logically independent. The first is that we face a climate catastrophe due to CO2 emissions.

The second is that wind turbines are a viable and beneficial way to generate electricity.

It is quite consistent to argue that the first, the pending disaster, is true, but that wind powered electricity is not viable and not a remedy for it. And its also perfectly consistent to think that wind is wonderful, but that there is no climate emergency.

However despite there being no logical connexion, almost everyone who asserts the one also asserts the other. You’ll have to look very hard to find someone who believes one without believing the other. If you look at party political affiliations you will find that the left generally believes both in the climate emergency and in the merits of wind power, and the right is skeptical of both. Democrats and Republicans in the US, but the pattern repeats in Australia and the UK though not so clearly.

This is typical social clustering. What it tells us is that we are looking at a political movement, where belief is a marker of belonging. Its no longer about science and still less about engineering. Its about signing up to the whole credo so as to keep one’s place in one’s social circle.

Something similar is operating in the context of sex and gender, where the key question would be whether one believes that trans women are women. Beliefs on that seem to cluster with climate beliefs. And with such apparently unrelated choices as what consumer goods one buys – Windows and Android versus OSX for instance.

Its a big topic, but the point is this. One is not going to persuade Griff and others differently by citing the science or the engineering. Its a religion, and they are going to accept all of its tenets as a bundle. Because the choice is between that and social expulsion. Its like you cannot pick and choose among the propositions in the Athanasian Creed. You are in or you are out.

Griff is in. Its a matter of identity, not science or engineering.

Dennis G Field
August 2, 2021 2:08 am

I found this video informative. Some studies mostly from Germany.

Mark Twichell
August 2, 2021 6:11 am

The wind turbine noise complaints in my densly populated rural town became very frequent following turbine installations 3 years ago. The Town Board appointed me as wind turbine noise complaint monitor and provided me with a simple decibel meter/sound recorder. The regulated noise level is defined by the wind company using metrics that are eight times louder than the pre-turbine ambient nighttime level. Thus 50 dBA can be exceeded 10% of the time over an 8 hour period. The turbines are as close as 1500 ft to homes.

There is no possible way for me to show that the noise is not in compliance. But I measure and record the noise in situations which are officially prohibited from testing. That is on peoples’ front porch, between their house and barn, when there is frozen precipitation on the turbine blades. My goal is to describe the noise as people experience it, and not as the wind company defines it to them. The machines are simply too loud and too close to people. The simplest way to describe the noise’s effects is that it is life changing. Some turbine neighbors experience adverse health effects, and some don’t, but the noise is a constant yet ever-changing factor in daily experience.

This is an excellent post and the quality of the comments is very high. There is much about wind turbine noise that was understood by acoustic engineers long before wind turbines were proposed as a solution to the international oil embargo of the late 1970’s, and before they eventually became the saviors of our grandchildren. I’m excited to see that so many recognize the importance of acoustic energy and are willing to learn more about its impact on the environment.

Tom Abbott
August 2, 2021 6:19 am

From the article: “Beyond health concerns, however, industrial wind turbines are considered a nuisance if placed too close to residences or noise sensitive facilities. They interfere with a person’s quiet enjoyment of their property.”

Trump says if they put up a windmill that is visible from your house, then your property value drops by 50 percent.

Trump is a real estate guy.

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Tom Abbott
August 2, 2021 8:05 am

London School of Economics produced a study that indicated a loss of property value of about 10% if the wind turbines were within 1.2 miles. It seems to me that they treated the wind turbine setback as a fixed effect in the model, and it may have been more informative to have treated it as a random effect, but nevertheless people who claim visible wind turbines do not effect property values can’t be correct.

August 2, 2021 7:23 am

The State of Oregon maintains a noise regulation limiting the amount of degradation of ambient noise levels due to new development. The rule is in addition to limits on overall maximum levels. As I recall, the impacts of a project could not exceed 10 dBA over the existing ambient level (L10 & L50) at a receptor, typically a residence. This required pre-construction monitoring of the proposed project site. The rule could be very impactful at rural locations such as Kevin addressed. I once measured an ambient level of 19 dBA on an overcast, snow-covered high desert under dead calm conditions. Though this condition was very rare, such a low ambient level would make it virtually impossible for any project, that actually has moving parts, to comply with the rule.

Reply to  scottafreeburn
August 2, 2021 2:24 pm

Massachusetts also has a noise regulation which is supposed to limit the amount of degradation of ambient noise levels which existed prior to the permitting of wind facilties BUT the enforcement agency (The Mass Dept of Environmental Protection) has allowed regulatory capture. Devils (known as wind industry consultants) have been allowed to degrade the regulatory framework in many ways and the political winds in our state have captured state agencies which look the other way and allow obvious and documented non-compliance and associated harm to wind neighbors to continue…a disgrace in need of a RICO suit – the collusion between state and local agencies, developers, complicit consultants is patently obvious to those paying attention.

August 2, 2021 11:26 am

ISO9613-2 is a quarter of a century old.

For the greenie-regulators, if it ain’t broke (pretty much any windfarm gets “approval” unless a powerful politician complains), then don’t fix it. Just like the greenhouse sensitivity value hasn’t changed in, what, 50 yrs.

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