This is the tiniest of most preliminary studies on the health effects of wind turbines, but it made it to the front page of a major newspaper. It is really just laying the groundwork for setting up a proper study. But at the end of 2012, according to the Global Wind Energy Council, there were 225,000 wind turbines operating around the world. So the real question is why has it taken so long to do an eight week study on six people in three houses looking at the effects of very low frequency ultrasound?
The Greens and Labor Party are supposed to be concerned about the effect of industry on people and cuddly animals, so where was their angst? If wind turbines ran on uranium, or the turbines were erected in inner-city areas, would the Greens have been so quiet?
Pacific Hydro deserves credit for funding and cooperating with the study which took place at Cape Bridgewater in Victoria.
Graham Lloyd, The Australian
PEOPLE living near wind farms face a greater risk of suffering health complaints caused by the low-frequency noise generated by turbines, a groundbreaking study has found.
The study by acoustics expert Steven Cooper is the first in the world in which a wind turbine operator had fully co-operated and turned wind turbines off completely during the testing.
As part of the study, residents living between 650m and 1.6km of the wind turbines were asked to diarise what they were experiencing, including headaches, pressure in the head, ears or chest, ringing in the ears, heart racing or a sensation of heaviness.
The effect that impacts the most on residents is not noise or vibration, but the sensation of infrasound. The threshold of sensations at four to five hertz was felt at 50 db and above.
Survey participant Sonja Crisp, 75, said the first time she experience discomfort from the wind turbines, “it was like a thump in the middle of the chest.
“It is an absolute relief, like an epiphany to have him (Mr Cooper) say I was not crazy (that) when I am doing the dishes I feel nausea and have to get out of the house.”
One hearing-impaired participant had been able to identify with 100 per cent accuracy the performance of wind turbines despite not being able to see them.
Earlier this month the Warnambool Standard reported the residents of the area were looking forward to hearing the results:
Another resident on Blowholes Road, who did not want to be identified, said residents had been pro-wind energy before the project was constructed, but now realised there were alarming side effects.
He said as well as health concerns, property values had plummeted to the point where some were almost unsaleable.
Acoustics expert Steven Cooper is expected to present his final report on February 9 in Portland, with Senator John Madigan also likely to attend.
There is a full list of preliminary findings on the Waubra Foundation August 31, 2014. The study measured noise levels both inside and outside homes, and during times the wind farms were both on and off.
Some of the many points that caught my eye:
- There is a direct correlation with the external dB(A) level and the power output of the wind farm.
- Where the dB(A)LF exceeds 20 dB there is a corresponding identification of noise in the diary observations.
- At none of the house has the dB(G) been above 85 and therefore if that level has taken as the hearing threshold of infrasound then there is no audible infrasound in any of the houses
- The use of 1/3 octave band information to compare infrasound generated by turbines and the infrasound in the natural environment does not contain the required information to identify any difference. When supplemented by narrow band analysis of the infrasound region the results clearly show that the natural environment of infrasound has no such periodic patterns.