Huson, L. Macarthur Wind Farm Noise Compliance Assessment – Peer Review of AECOM Noise Compliance Assessment



 L Huson & Associates Pty Ltd has been commissioned by Piper Alderman to prepare an independent report that reviews a post commissioning compliance assessment report prepared by AECOM (reference 60279731 Rev 0, 26 April 2013) for the Macarthur Wind Farm and two peer reviews of this report by; ARUP (reference 236351/00/R01, 16 June 2014), and; SLR (reference 640.10804-R1, 10 April 2014).

 The AECOM noise compliance assessment report has been based on assumptions and measurement locations that are not compliant with the Permit. Advice from Vestas to AECOM regarding maximum sound power output from the wind turbines is contrary to the assessment procedures approved in the Permit and is non-compliant.

A fundamental error has been introduced in the use of a procedure to determine wind speeds, prepared by Garrad Hassan, for the determination of noise compliance and background noise charts. The charts prepared by AECOM are accordingly very optimistic, do not represent a true noise compliance assessment, and will incorrectly tend to favour the compliance monitoring results to the benefit of the developer.

The conclusion in the ARUP peer review did not meet the scope of work requirements for its review. With regard to dismissing the demonstrated non-compliant data at higher wind speeds it states: “We accept this analysis, and conclude that the wind farm is compliant with the intention of the permit conditions.” ARUP should not second guess the intent of the conditions; they should test compliance against them. We find the conclusions deficient in that a true assessment of the AECOM report against the Permit has not been completed satisfactorily. The Permit has an EMP that is integral to it and this has not been reviewed.

Overall, we consider the ARUP peer review to be superficial and it has not addressed many of the issues that we have identified in this report. We expect that ARUP would question the Garrad Hassan wind speed assessment method if they were privy to sample wind turbine power data that we have shown in this report.

The SLR review states that they do not support the findings of the AECOM compliance report and a number of deficiencies have been identified. The conclusion in the SRL peer review has an extract from the AECOM report that states compliance, but SLR did not accept this statement.

SLR has neglected to consider the approved EMP that forms an integral part of the Permit.

SLR have questioned some aspects of the Garrad Hassan wind speed calculation method but could not have investigated to the same extent that we have, since they may not have access to real turbine power output data recorded during the compliance survey. In view of the additional data we have been provided it is expected that SLR would also have queried the AECOM compliance curves more fully.

We cannot understand why SLR advised their satisfaction with the AECOM responses to the Moyne Shire Council, given that they express only ‘general satisfaction’ with the AECOM responses and that this was subject to a number of outstanding issues, the most significant of which is that SLR still disagree with the approach taken to disregard compliance above 10 m/s wind speed. We agree that this demonstrates non-compliance with the Permit and we question the compliance approval given by SLR in a Memorandum to the Moyne Shire Council.

A second noise compliance assessment report has been prepared by AECOM before the first had been approved. Similar problems relate to this second report and we find this report also deficient and non-compliant with the Permit.

We find that the AECOM noise report has not demonstrated compliance with Permit requirements. 

MEMBER FIRM, Association of Australian Acoustical Cocnsultants

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