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New Study Backs Wind Turbine Noise Complaints

22, June 2011

A newly published peer-reviewed study from Danish University researchers into wind turbine noise confirms that newer larger turbines are emitting lower frequency noise than older turbines. Low frequency noise is the basis of many claims of adverse health effects from rural residents.

The researchers, Henrik Moller and Christian Pedersen, who have written a number of papers on wind turbines, published the paper in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

“This study is important confirmation of the anecdotal accounts of the effects of hundreds of 150 metre tall wind turbines on rural communities and the health of residents” said Max Rheese, executive director of the Australian Environment Foundation.

“The study concludes that not only do large turbines produce more noise, have a larger noise footprint on the surrounding landscape, but they alter the spectrum of that noise for the worse.

“These conclusions are entirely consistent with what many people living near wind farms have been telling us for several years. As turbine size increased from around 50m to over 150m and the number of turbines increased, so have the complaints about the noise. What we did not realise is that the nature of turbine noise was changing with the size of the turbines.”

The paper makes no attempt to address health issues and confines discussion to the technical aspects of noise production from wind turbines. The paper describes the changes as “statistically significant”. No previous studies have systematically investigated the development of low frequency and infrasonic noise with turbine size.

“The AEF submission to the senate inquiry into the impacts of wind farms which is due to report today, argued there was no economic or environmental rationale for the expansion of wind energy and we certainly support the call for a moratorium on wind farm development until the health issue is independently investigated” concluded Mr Rheese.

- ENDS -

Media Contact: Max Rheese 0428 621320

The study paper can be found here.  AEF submission to the senate inquiry.

The Australian Environment Foundation is a not-for-profit, membership-based environment organisation having no political affiliation and caring for both Australia & Australians. Many of our members are practical environmentalists – people who actively use and also care for the environment. We accept that environmental protection and sustainable resource use are generally compatible. For more information about the AEF visit www.aefweb.info

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