German research examines noise concerns

GERMANY: Local people are concerned about the type of noise wind turbines make rather than just the decibel level, according to a report by German wind energy institute DEWI.

Fluctuating noise occurring in the rhythm of the rotating blades, described as amplitude modulation, is the main problem, a joint scientific study with the Martin Luther University Halle–Wittenberg's environmental psychology department has found.

Around 200 people living close to a wind farm near Wilstedt in Lower Saxony, comprising nine 2MW turbines operated by wind developer WPD, were quizzed on turbine noise, including when and how this negatively affected their everyday life, sleep and physical and mental well-being.

DEWI engineers performed noise measurements and data evaluation and provided sound recorders for the local people to record noise they found especially disturbing to allow the noise sensitivity of those affected to be taken into account.

Further work will focus on avoiding critical amplitude-modulation situations and reducing noise disturbance, DEWI said.

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