Lawton, C. Noise Control Regulations Related to Wind Energy Facilities

March 2004

Catharine Lawton, of West Bend, Wisconsin, wrote an extensive commentary to the Oregon Department of Energy on proposed noise control regulations related to wind energy facilities in Oregon. (Oregon went on implement the revised rules in favour of the wind industry, throwing out the existing rules protecting rural quiet [which the industry called “difficult” and “burdensome”]).

Some of Lawton’s comments are summarized:

The maximum allowable noise level should be no higher than 35 or 40 dB(A), or 5dB(A) over the background ambient noise level. “This maximum represents the recognized international standard for wind energy facility noise based on wind energy noise regulations from around the world.

Wind turbine noise is a known and recognized source of adverse health effects due to audible as well as low-frequency noise. The reported effects include headaches, migraines, nausea, dizziness, palpitations, tinnitus, sleep disturbance, stress, anxiety, and depression.

Lawton quotes South Australia’s Environment Protection Authority (whose guidelines are included in this file): “Wind farms need specific guidelines because wind turbines have unique noise generating characteristics and the environments surrounding wind farm sites usually have low ambient noise.”

Several other documents are included, including a Swedish review, “Noise Annoyance from Wind Turbines.” The total file is 113 pages and 2.5 MB.

This summary is taken from the website of National Wind Watch.

Download Catharine Lawton’s commentary →