You’re wondering what it’s like living next to wind turbines? (United Kingdom)

May 30, 2010

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The following was written by nurse-midwife Jane Davis (Lincolnshire, UK) to a woman in Australia inquiring about life next to a windplant—Editor.

How far should turbines be from one’s home?  How far away is a bit like a piece of string, but at least 1.5 miles (2km) , although I do know of some victims in valleys with a windfarm 10 miles away that have problems. As with many things, it’s all down to size and location.

Our rented house is 5 miles away and we are noise and symptom free at night anyway. For Julian, my husband, who still has to farm the arable land on our farm, there is still daily exposure, so some symptoms persist and there does seem to be a dose response mechanism at play, too. So 7 hours downwind is OK, and 10 hours not.

Is there any medication one can take for Wind Turbine Syndrome?  No medication available, other than, I suppose, a general anaesthetic for the duration of your stay, which seems a bit drastic.

The answer is distance. Our home (now completely abandoned ) is 1050m from the nearest turbine

What exactly causes the low frequency sound?  Is it the action of the turning blades?  Not just the action of the rotation, there is structural resonance as well. But the sound waves given off by the blades have large, complex frequency spectrums, so it’s not just audible noise, but feeling noise, like being in the back of a church when the deep organ notes are played. . . . And when you get one turbine running in the wake of another, that’s when the fun really starts!

We have had full spectral analysis done of the noise from the turbines here at home and there is a huge amount of loud that you can’t hear (if you see what I mean) in the frequencies below 20Hz [which by definition is the infrasound range—Editor].

How is this noise/vibration measured, i.e., with what equipment?  It’s largely ignored as “it doesn’t exist” (see the work of Geoff Leventhall).

Do you know how the power that is generated is conveyed to the grid?  Viia cables?  First, by power lines from the turibnes to a substation.  These lines may be buried or above ground.  The substation then connects to the grid, using larger power lines. The power generated cannot be stored, so if not needed it is “dumped” (I will pass on how that is done).  I have no idea how much (or how little) power is generated other than the fact ours run at 25% of their installed capacity.

Is there any info on how close or far away health effects are experienced?  See my first answer, above.

All the best,

Jane

  1. Comment by Sue Sinnamon on 11/26/2010 at 3:38 am

    Dear Jane,

    Do the people who receive financial reward from the turbines complain about the infrasound, or only the surrounding neighbours?

  2. Comment by Jane Davis on 11/28/2010 at 2:58 am

    Hi Sue,

    It seems to be a positional thing. Because of the particular layout of the turbines, it appears to be only us (who are isolated from other properties) that is so badly affected. But then we are the only property that in certain conditions has the benefit (!!) of all 8 turbines blowing at us. No amount of money would enable us to live, sleep, or rest in our home. But there are grapevine rumours that some other villagers around the wind farm have occasional similar issues. One landowner is non-resident, and the other lives on a busy main road.

    I hope that helps.

    Jane

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