Wind Noise Characteristics Unique, Lack Regulation
|Update: Ambrose letter compliments journalistic integrity
Letter: Turbine reporting sets high standard
December 23, 2012 12:00 AM
I want to congratulate Ariel Wittenberg for her well-written article about the Dec. 6 Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers dinner meeting in Westport (“Turbine noise regulations debated,” Dec. 7). I was there as a guest. The article was a concise, accurate and unbiased account of events. SouthCoastToday.com has a very good reporter who maintains a neutral position for the paper.
Stephen Ambrose, Windham, Maine
Wind turbine noise is not like other sounds and is not specifically regulated, according to the presentation of Michael Bahtiarian, vice president of Billericia-based Noise Control Engineering, to an audience of 30. The December 6th program was hosted by the the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.
Reporter Ariel Wittenberg, writing in South Coast Today, described Bahtiarian’s remarks in Turbine regulations debated at engineer conference.
There are no federal or state regulations relating to wind turbine noise, Bahtiarian said. In Massachusetts, any noise source is considered in violation of noise regulations if it is more than 10 decibels louder than ambient noise, but Bahtiarian said these regulations do not take into account the complex nature of turbine noise.
“Wind turbine sound is what we call aerodynamic amplitude modulation, which means there is a fluctuation of sound that changes as the blades pass through the air,” Bahtiarian said, describing the technical term for what some people call the “wooshing” nature of turbine sound.
Wind turbine noise expert Steve Ambrose interacted with the presenter. In the audience were people from Windwise Falmouth and Fairhaven.
Bahtiarian also brought up an alternative set of sound regulations put together by some Massachusetts electrical engineers that would regulate infrasound, broadband (or typical audible sound) and aerodynamic amplitude modulation. That regulation would put a sound source in violation if it creates either broadband or infrasound more than 6 decibels above ambient sound. Bahtiarian said the alternate regulations have been proposed both to the Falmouth Board of Health and the Cape Cod Commission.