Engineer discusses noise generated by wind turbines

Springfield News-Sun (Ohio): Champaign County residents and leaders learned Wednesday that noise could be caused by wind turbines proposed to be built for wind energy development in the county. The county’s Wind Turbine Study Group, which usually meets at 7 a.m. Tuesdays, had an evening meeting to accommodate the speaker and residents who can’t attend morning meetings.

The group’s mission is to research wind energy development and inform local decision-makers of the findings. More than 50 people attended the meeting, but no public participation was allowed, and Champaign County Prosecutor and group moderator Nick Selvaggio said questions could be sent to the group. Selvaggio also reminded the audience that the presentation was only one part of a more than three-week noise discussion and urged listeners not to generalize opinions based on the information presented.

Speaker Richard James, a noise control engineer from E-Coustic Solutions, was brought by group member Diane McConnell of Union Neighbors United — a group of Union Twp. residents concerned about local zoning decisions regarding wind energy development. James presented information he had found in studies done by other sources.

Most of the noise turbines make is at a low frequency and is most audible in the evening and night when there are fewer background noises, he said. Noises vibrations from the turbines could be different for two people standing side by side, he said. “The way people respond to noise is entirely variable,” James said.

Some people have adverse physical effects to the low frequencies, such as breathing problems and head symptoms, according to studies James showed. Also at the meeting, Everpower Renewables offered reading materials presented during previous morning group discussions, including studies that find utility-scale wind turbines to be quiet and state that low frequency noise is not a hazard.

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