Thursday, 14 February 2013

Windfarm sound insignificant: study
4 Feb 2013

A REPORT by the Environment Protection Authority South Australia has found infrasound from wind farms is "no greater" than infrasound in other rural environments. Infrasound is sound not audible to the human ear. The EPA took measurements over a period of a week at seven urban and four rural locations including residences approximately 1.5 km from wind turbines.

The study found the level of infrasound at the residences near the wind turbines was "no greater than that experienced in other urban and rural environments, that the contribution of wind turbines to the measured infrasound levels is insignificant in comparison with the background level of infrasound in the environment".

The Clean Energy Council said the report "put to rest a common myth about wind farms-that they create dangerous levels of infrasound". In a media release Clean Energy Council Policy Director Russell Marsh said the report provided some much-needed clarity in a debate that has often been clouded by misinformation.

"South Australia's EPA is the most experienced regulatory authority in Australia when it comes to wind farm noise, and this new report provides hard evidence that wind turbines do not cause increased levels of infrasound in surrounding areas, neither inside people's homes nor outdoors", Mr Marsh said. "The study included houses in rural and urban areas, houses both adjacent to a wind farm and away from turbines, and measured the levels of infrasound with the wind farms operating and also switched off.

"There were no noticeable differences in the levels of infrasound under all these different conditions. In fact, the lowest levels of infrasound were recorded at one of the houses closest to a wind farm, whereas the highest levels were found in an urban office building".

The Australian reported last week land values could be cut by being near windfarms. South Gippsland shire council has amended the rates notice for a landowner near the Bald Hills wind farm project, which is yet to begin construction. Meanwhile, a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing over the Cherry Tree Range wind farm near Seymour continues.

It is believed to be the first to reach VCAT since planning rules were changed by the Coalition Government. The Coalition allowed the right of veto to homeowners whose house was within 2km of a turbine. The 16 turbine Cherry Tree Range wind farm, by Infigen Energy, was knocked back by Mitchell Shire last year. It is a $100 million project with a capacity of 50 MWs, south east of Seymour.