Wind Energy FAQs
Are turbines noisy?
Wind turbines are one of the quietest forms of energy generation currently available. Current turbines are considerably quieter than early models and the technology is improving all the time. The Taralga Wind Farm turbines will generate less than 35dba at all neighbouring residences - this is similar to that of a modern fridge in the dead of night. It is unlikely that any sound will be audible in the Taralga township.
The noise levels from wind turbines increases as the wind speed at the site increases. However, background noise also generally increases under these conditions and masks the noise from the turbine.
The construction of the Taralga Wind Farm may generate noise that may be discernible for short periods of time in some nearby residences. Throughout the wind farm construction, we will keep the local residents well informed for increased traffic periods and increased construction activity.
In addition, we will work with the local community to ameliorate noise impacts as much as possible. Unless pre-approved from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, no works will take place on Sunday or after hours and no work will occur on public holidays.
Do wind turbines emit low frequency noise?
Turbines emit most noise in the mid-frequency range (between 200 and 1000Hz). Due to factors including their height and the impact of wind, the sound we actually hear is low-frequency.
What is infrasound?
Sound with a frequency of less than 20Hz is known as infrasound. Humans can't hear infrasound but just like audible sound it produces very low vibrations of the air. This type of sound is very common in natural and man-made environments. For instance, cars and buildings both produce low frequency noise and infrasound.
While there are claims that non-audible infrasound can be felt as vibrations in the body that can make people ill, it is not possible to physically experience infrasound below the established level of hearing.
There is no evidence of adverse health effects from infrasound or low frequency noise generated by wind turbines, according to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australia's peak health and research advisory group.
Does infrasound have an impact on
Scientific studies have found that the low level of infrasound emitted by wind turbines poses no health risks. Infrasound - low frequency vibration - is not audible to humans.
Infrasound generated by wind turbines is no different to infrasound emitted from natural sources such as wind and rivers, and is lower than artificial sources such as traffic and air conditioning.
Tens of thousands of people around the world live near wind farms without any ill effects and have done so for decades. In fact, there is no peer reviewed scientific evidence that wind turbines have a negative impact on health. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australia's peak health and research advisory group, stated after reviewing current scientific literature: "There is currently no published scientific evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects".
The NHMRC suggests that people who experience adverse health effects may be suffering from stress brought on by misinformation about wind turbines.
There are many health benefits associated with using wind power, rather than coal or gas, particularly the improvement in overall air quality by reducing the amount of greenhouse emissions. The World Health Organisation says that wind power represents one of the most benign forms of electricity generation in terms of direct and indirect health effects.
Do wind turbines produce more energy
than they use?
It is a myth that building a wind farm takes more energy than it ever makes. The comparison of energy used in manufacture with the energy produced by a power station is known as the 'energy balance'. It can be expressed in terms of energy 'pay-back' time, ie the time needed to generate the equivalent amount of energy used in manufacturing the wind turbine or power station.
The average wind farm will pay back the energy used in its manufacture within six to eight months.