R is for Research, References and Readability:
A look into a well-constructed Large Wind Ordinance
This is the third part of our series on the content of the Town of Union Large Wind Ordinance adopted in November of 2008. Scroll down to read Part One: Recitals and Part Two: General findings
But first, some basics: What does wind turbine noise sound like?
Click on the image above to play video recorded by Larry Wunsch, who lives in the Forward Energy wind farm in Fond du Lac County. It was recorded from his home. The turbine in this video is 1100 feet away. You'll hear it by day, and by night.
The noise limit in this PSC approved wind farm is 50 decibels.
By far, the biggest complaint from those living near poorly-sited wind turbines is noise and loss of sleep. The problems caused by lack of sleep are well recognized by the medical community. Chronic sleep depravation is a known health hazard.
Those of us who have stood directly beneath a wind turbine on a warm afternoon and heard not much more than the blades swishing overhead, may wonder what people are complaining about.
The answer becomes clearer when we stand a 1000 feet to a quarter of a mile downwind from a turbine, especially at night. Think of the turbine as a loud speaker projecting sound. The area directly beneath the speaker will be quieter than further away.
Wind turbine noise changes throughout the day, tends to be louder at night, and varies greatly with terrain, atmosphere, wind direction and speed.
Click on the image below recorded by Gerry Meyer, who also lives in the Forward Energy wind farm. At times he can hear five turbines from inside of his home.
And a story in today's news from north of the border where people living in wind farms are having the same kind of trouble:
Norfolk wind turbines: Whirling controversy
Posted By Daniel Pearce, SIMCOE REFORMER [SOURCE] February 6, 2009
The ringing in his ears and the constant headaches started about a year ago.
Ross Moulton has been to his doctor many times and underwent a CAT scan, but so far there is no diagnosis, no reason for his illness.
The 65-year-old soybean and corn farmer has his own suspicions, however.
"I'd like to see a test done to see how much stray electricity is in the air," says Moulton, who lives on the eastern edge of Norfolk County's wind farm, a collection of about 50 giant turbines that generate power for Ontario's grid.
The towers went up close to the farm he has lived on all his life on the north shore of Lake Erie about two years ago and within months his problems started.
Touted as renewable sources of energy that will help cut pollution and global warming, wind farms are supposed to help improve the health of the planet.
But they are increasingly coming under question as anecdotal evidence mounts that the towers and their spinning blades may be harmful to people living close by.
Research by a New York State doctor and author, Nina Pierpont, suggests the culprit is the noise emitted as the blades cut through the air, producing a constant whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, or a low humming.
Constant exposure to these vibrations, some researchers say, can affect the inner ear, causing dizziness, nausea, headaches and sleep disturbances.
Dr. Robert McMurtry, the former dean of medicine at the University of Western Ontario, is calling for the province to study the health impact of wind turbines.
"At a minimum, they should be doing a survey of people around wind farms and getting a sense of how many people are complaining of problems," McMurtry says. "If there is enough evidence, they should mount a formal epidemiological study."
NOTE FROM THE BPWI RESEARCH NERD: Click here to read the same story from half way around the world.