Recently released research investigating wind turbine sound complaints in the province of Alberta Canada and infrasound and low-frequency sound levels near Australian wind farms provides a compelling argument for wind energy. Chris Long’s article below highlights this research, showing that wind turbine sound complaints are uncommon unless instigated by anti-wind groups and that infrasound and low-frequency sound levels are not impacted by nearby wind farms.

By Chris Long

The last few weeks have been busy ones on wind turbine sound, with new
developments continuing to cast doubt on anti-wind groups’
claims.Perhaps the most telling is a new study from Canada’s Pembina Institute, looking at wind farm complaints (or rather, the lack of wind farm complaints) in the province of Alberta, where some of the earliest wind farms in Canada were installed.

In a blog post about the study, Pembina’s Benjamin Thibault explains,
“[U]nlike some parts of the country, we don’t tend to hear much about
[wind power in Alberta], so my colleagues and I wondered whether, in
fact, we were just missing something.”

In fact, it turned out, while the Alberta Utilities Commission, which
regulates electricity in the province, has a 13-year-old database with
the records of 31,000 contacts from members of the public, not one of
those 31,000 contacts has been about the sound of operating wind
turbines. That’s a very striking finding, but it lends credence to the
work of Australian Prof. Simon Chapman of the University of Sydney, who has a pending study
finding that complaints about turbine sound in Australia are heavily
focused on areas where anti-wind groups have been conducting public

Pembina researchers went further to unearth evidence of complaints, Mr. Thibault says, contacting:

“- Operators of existing wind energy projects;
– Municipalities (municipal districts and counties) where operating wind energy projects are located;
– Local and provincial health authorities; and
– Municipal agricultural fieldmen.”

The results?

“The operators of the wind farms did report some complaints during
operations, noting eight unique complaints, most of which were resolved
noise complaints (five), along with a few generalized complaints about
wind energy broadly.

“Only three complaints about operating wind farms came to the seven
Alberta municipalities with wind energy projects: one about ice throw
that was investigated and dismissed, one about the density of wind
turbines offering a terrorism opportunity, and one about noise, which
was referred to the operator.

“No more complaints were found with the health contacts surveyed (two
regional health inspectors covering municipal districts with over half
of Alberta’s wind energy) or the livestock contacts (five agricultural
fieldmen also covering the majority of the experience).”