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Noise? What Noise? Tests Designed to Miss the Mark

From University of Twente, Netherlands, PhD research by Stefan Oerlemans (2009): A wind turbine showing the noise sources. The red area has the loudest sound.

The state constitution says noise is air pollution. The Mass. DEP’s job is to regulate air pollution. Residents who live near wind turbines say they can’t sleep, can’t think, can’t live a normal life because of wind turbine noise. But somehow the tests the DEP allows consultants to use never show excessive noise.

This failure of testing relies on 2 factors, according to Chris Kapsambelis:

  • They don’t compare the turbines’ noise levels with pre-construction minimums.
  • They don’t combine noise from all sources as the regulation states.

Once the turbines are standing, the L90 or minimum noise level, has already changed. Any readings, even quiet night time levels, are already skewed by the sound wind makes against the mast or at the blade tips–whether or not they are rotating.

Add to this baseline error the DEP’s willingness to allow wind turbine noise to be subtracted from other sources (air and ground traffic, machinery) and the turbines never fail the test.

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