Vestas objects to wind turbine infrasound & low frequency noise requirements (Australia)
Mar 28, 2012
“[We] suggest the removal of the requirement to measure low frequency noise from the [New South Wales] Draft Guidelines” (Vestas letter, p. 13)
EPAW: European Platform Against Windfarms
NA-PAW: North American Platform Against Windpower
NSW: New South Wales
LFN: low frequency noise
ILFN: infrasound and low frequency noise
Click here for the Vestas letter
In a submission to the new Draft Guidelines for wind farms by the government of New South Wales (Australia), world-leading wind turbine manufacturer Vestas asked to drop the requirement for measuring emissions of low frequency noise (LFN), despite scientific studies indicating that they have adverse effects on the health of neighbors.
The following is a screenshot from Vestas’s letter:
Vestas’s request flies in the face of a new Danish policy, announced March 26th, aiming at improving the ethics of exporting companies, e.g., on human rights. Denmark’s Wind Turbine regulations recognise that LFN can be a health problem.
The draft windfarm guidelines proposed by concerned officials in NSW require that LFN emitted by wind turbines be measured. But in a letter to them dated March 14th, Vestas Australian Wind Technology Ltd, a subsidiary of Danish multinational Vestas, “suggests the removal of the requirement to measure low frequency noise from the Draft Guidelines” (p. 13).
Actually, they go so far as to urge the removal of the entire health section. “Ideally, the entirety of Section 1.3 (e) should be deleted” (p. 7).
The letter’s author, Mr McAlpine, admits that “existing and well validated industry standard models for acoustic propagation are NOT designed to deal with frequencies at the low end of the audible spectrum . . .” (p. 13).
For the Waubra Foundation, this is a smoking gun. “To date, infrasound and LFN (ILFN) have been ignored altogether, and Vestas obviously wants to keep the issue buried.”
Dr Sarah Laurie, the Foundation’s CEO, explains: “Why is Vestas suggesting to remove the requirement to measure low frequency noise, when there is evidence that wind turbines emit ILFN which correlate with people’s serious health problems,1,2 and that larger turbines emit even more at these frequencies?3 Why is this technology being imposed upon the global community while ignoring the health effects of long term exposure to ILFN emitted by these machines?”
Adding, “Vestas claim their turbines are safe, but where is the data that proves it? There is none! Yet, all the actual clinical data collected by physicians and reported by windfarm neighbours shows that there are very serious impacts on health, which worsen over time.”4
Dr Laurie further points out that, at a windfarm in Waterloo, South Australia, consisting of 37 x 3MW Vestas wind turbines, a study last year revealed 70% of the population living within 5km reported being “negatively affected” by the noise.5
The Waubra Foundation has been contacted by residents living up to 5km away from wind farms who have had to leave their homes because of growing health problems. “Residents at Waterloo living out to 10km report awakening in the middle of the night ‘in a panicked state,’ a symptom experienced by many windfarm neighbours worldwide, apparently linked to inaudible noise, ear pressure, and body vibrations related to wind turbine exposure.”
Vestas is trying to cover up other impacts as well, notes Mark Duchamp of EPAW. “Their letter proposes to eliminate the NSW 2 km setback, as well as compensation for losses in property values, and the entire section on blade throw.”
Public health and well-being are in serious danger when industrial lobbies impose their terms on elected officials, comments Sherri Lange, of NA-PAW. “Much the same is happening in North America, where the health issue has been pushed under the carpet. This will cost taxpayers dearly, for ultimately they will have to pay for all the damage done. Criminal charges may even be laid against policy-makers, for knowingly causing harm to health and life.”
1. Stephen Ambrose and Robert Rand “The Bruce McPherson Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise Study” Falmouth, Mass., December 2011.
2. Steven Cooper “Review of Draft NSW guidelines.”
3. Møller & Pedersen, internationally-ranked acousticians from the University of Aarlborg “Low Frequency Noise from Large Turbines” J Acoustical Society America 2011 129:3727-3744.
4. Physicians include Dr Amanda Harry (UK 2003), Dr David Iser (Australia 2004) , Dr Nina Pierpont (USA 2006 & 2009), Professor Robert McMurtry (Canada 2010), Dr Michael Nissenbaum (USA 2010), Dr Sarah Laurie (Australia 2011). Documents are available for download from the following websites: www.windturbinesyndrome.com, www.windvigilance.com, www.waubrafoundation.com.au, and www.wind-watch.org
5. Zhenhua Wang, “Evaluation of Wind Farm Noise Policies in South Australia: A Case Study of Waterloo Wind Farm,” MA thesis, Dept. of Geography, Environment and Population, University of Adelaide (Australia), 2011.