“A true noise hell”: Wind turbines in Denmark

Jan 15, 2013

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Editor’s note:  The following is a translation of a recent article on wind energy in a prominent Danish news magazine.  There are several parts to the article, including an interesting exposé of Vestas (one of the world’s leading manufacturers of wind turbines) complaining to the Danish government that recently proposed noise standards will severely damage Vestas’s business ventures, both in Denmark and abroad.

The translation was done by a Danish friend of this website.  Click here for the original article.
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“A true noise hell:  Erik Nielsen had looked forward to a peaceful retired life, but the idyll and nocturnal sleep are destroyed by giant wind turbines”

“As a consequence of the noise & sleepless nights, Erik & Rigmor Nielsen are looking for a small cottage, where they can get peace.”

While thousands of people have to live in a noise hell from the giant wind turbines, which both [neighbor] associations and acoustic experts are raging over, the politicians have done nothing to investigate the matter properly.

The fact is, according to the Chairman of the Danish Society for Labor- and Environmental Medicine [DASAM], Vivi Schlünssen, it has not been properly investigated whether the many Danes who are daily exposed to tremendous noise from wind turbines are harmed by it.

“We are very concerned that the new regulations [of Jan. 1, 2012] on noise from wind turbines, have been conceived completely without investigating if people are harmed by living in constant noise.”

Doctors not asked

“The noise limits have been determined by engineers. There has not been a single medical doctor involved,” she says.

Vivi Schlünssen emphasizes that wind noise is very different from, for example, noise from a highway.

“Although the noise from the turbine is often lower [in amplitude], it is continuous, especially [a problem] at night, when the annoyance is increased.”

– The new rules [statutory order 1284 of Jan, 1, 2012, including low frequency noise] were conceived far too quickly.

“Our primary criticism is that it is not right that people should have to live with great noise nuisance, especially at night when it can interfere with their sleep,” says Vivi Schlünssen, who emphasizes that the problem of noise from wind turbines should be fully investigated.

 

  1. Comment by Henrik Svanholm (Denmark) on 01/15/2013 at 9:10 pm

    Editor’s note: The following is an email sent to a group in Wisconsin, fighting wind turbines. We were included in this email recipient list, and we take the liberty of reproducing it here, since it refers to the above article.

    Here from my place in Denmark I can inform you, that we are still fighting against the Danish politicians who allow wrongly-placed wind turbines near our Danish homes.

    Yesterday (January 10, 2013) one of Denmarks biggest newspapers, named Ekstrabladet, had a 4-page story about how Vestas director, Ditlev Engel, twisted the arm of former Danish Minister Karen Ellemanns to protect the right for Vestas to raise more wind turbines onshore in Denmark.

    Enclosed you will find documentation for this.

    Hopefully you know some people from Denmark or from Scandinavia who can translate these articles for you?

    I have, together with two other good friends, just written a feature article to the Danish newspapers confirming that the Danish government is acting against good governance in every matter regarding wind turbines.

    And we have very strong evidence and a strong case.

    Therefore, fight all you can in your area. And look after what´s going on in Denmark, because we are a lot of Danish citizens who don’t like onshore wind turbines. And we don’t trust the government, because we find that there is a lot of manipulation because of the politics and money involved.

    Hope this can give you all a little hope. Fight the same fight, as we fight! And you and we all will win!

    Best regards here from Denmark !

    Henrik Svanholm
    henrik.svanholm@mail.dk

  2. Comment by Simon on 01/16/2013 at 2:33 pm

    The same thing is happening in Germany – right now the Wind Industry, as well as heat pump manufacturers are putting pressure on the DIN (German National Standards Organization) committee, to allow much higher levels of infrasound and LFN in their updated DIN 45680.

    What may look to the layman as an improvement is actually a severely watered-down standard which, by ignoring about everything we know about long-term ILFN exposure today, is making the situation worse for many people affected by infrasound and low-frequency noise from wind turbines, heating systems, ventilation, A/C and heat pumps etc.

    On top of that, the criterion of „tonality“ (or narrow-banded peaks), which is responsible for causing our problems on a neurological level – has simply disappeared from the draft of the new DIN (whilst it was an important part of the old DIN45680). No explanations as to why we are going back to the “stone-age of noise measurement” have been given.

    This is not only a highly unscientific approach but also a very obvious move: most man-made LFN is showing such tonality – this is exactly WHY nobody has ever become seasick from wind or the sound of ocean waves (stochastic noise with a balanced spectrum), whilst there is an abundance of literature documenting cases from Australia, South Africa, Israel, Germany, Poland, Sweden and the US where anthropogenic (man-made) sources of ILFN have resulted in sometimes large numbers of people showing the tell-tale symptoms of “sound-induced kinetosis” or WTS – without any wind turbines around.

    Also, by sticking to the scientifically outdated method of looking at 1/3-octave-bands only (instead of looking at a TTF spectrum plot), the new DIN45680 makes sure that any peaks in the noise spectrum get eliminated right from the start. Therefore, very much like the British ETSU-R-97, the new DIN45680 will be completely useless in doing what it is supposed to do: defining a standard that is up to date with technology and science (one might discuss if DIN45680 and ETSU-R-97 aren’t in fact tools to protect the INDUSTRY and ADMINISTRATIONS from justified demands from those citizens who became victims of a ignorant and cynical game called “make-a-huge-profit-at-the-expense-of-people’s-health-&-then-blame-the-victims”…)

    As far as I am informed, no acoustician who knows about modern psychoacoustics, no neurologist, no neuro-otologist, epidemiologist or just any medical expert who knows about the effects of long-term ILFN / vibration is present in the DIN committee. They have ONE (retired) audiologist on board who is – and that was confirmed to me – unable to read documents in English. Therefore, I’d be very surprised if he was familiar with the current international literature on the effects of ILFN on people, most of which comes from Sweden, Denmark, Poland, US, UK and Portugal.

    This approach of willful ignorance comes to no surprise of course, as even the Robert-Koch Institute, Germany’s federal institution responsible for disease control and prevention has been publically calling for proper research on the long-term effects of ILFN on man for years – without any success. But the last thing the government in Berlin wants is a confirmation of what they have known for a long time: the whole “wind energy will save the climate AND boost the economy” is a scam, especially as they forgot to take into account that there are actually PEOPLE living in those areas where these gazillions of wind turbines will need to be placed.

    And wind turbines and people cannot share the same place… that has been known for over a decade. So they need people to leave. In order for this exodus to be “cost-neutral” for the local governments, zoning authorities and the developers, they need laws and administrative rules that declare ILFN from wind turbines and other sources a non-issue, even though this is contradicting all current research in that field.

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