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WV wind farm: 55dB limit is being met in long-term average levels, while peaks continue to trouble neighbors

Human impacts, News, Wind turbines Add comments

Two recent articles have shed interesting light on the ongoing controversy in Keyser, WV, home of the Pinnacle Wind Farm, where many neighbors have been complaining about noise since the turbines began operating late last year. The first clarifies that most or all nearby residents signed agreements with the wind company, including the residence where the noise was expected to be the loudest, 56 dB.

This article notes that the regulations use a full 24-hour average, or day-night level (Ldn), which helps to explain why some residents’ reports of measuring higher levels can coincide with the company affirming that it is operating within its prescribed limits.  It would be likely that peak  sound levels could be well above the average, which is lowered by times when the turbines are turning slowly or not at all.

Much of problem here appears to be that residents, including those who signed agreements, did not appreciate just how loud 55 dB would seem, nor understand that the average may lead to peak sound  levels above that limit. As covered earlier by AEInews, some residents say they were led to believe they would rarely, if ever, hear the turbines.  It appears likely that company representatives assumed wind noise would down out the turbine sounds.

The second article addresses the addition of  noise reducing mufflers to the turbines there, which is expected to reduce some troublesome high pitched sounds from the turbine’s fans, though neighbors say that lower-frequency blade sounds are also bothersome. Charley Parnell, vice president of Public Affairs for Edison Mission Group, owners of the wind farm, said, “We believe Pinnacle is operating in a manner that meets the requirements of our permits, but taking additional steps to mitigate noise is an important part of our commitment to be a responsible corporate citizen of the communities in which we operate.  We look forward to many years of providing clean energy generated by Pinnacle, and we intend to work in good faith to address local concerns.”

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