On July 13, I was honored to be one of three presenters in a webinar sponsored by the New England Wind Energy Education Project (NEWEEP), a DOE-funded project of Wind Powering America. Complementing the technical and regulatory information presented by Mark Bastasch and Ken Kalinsky, my presentation focused on the “qualitatitive” data that we are receiving from people living near wind farms, which can be as useful as the quantitative data coming from engineers and scientists. The main point of the presentation was that reports in wind farm communities, as well as our best research indications, suggest that a significant minority of nearby residents—25 to 45%—are quite seriously impacted by noise issues when sound is 40dB or more (roughly within a half mile); I also included a look at interesting research into rural place identity and noise sensitivity, both of which provide some clues as to why many people find wind turbine sounds very annoying, while other neighbors are not much bothered by them.
UPDATE, 8/4: All three presentations, along with the audio of the webinar and a transcript, can now be downloaded at the Wind Powering America website: http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/calendar_past_events.asp Scroll down to “Understanding the Impacts of Wind Turbine Sound.” Mark’s presentation is largely about measuring sound; Ken’s focuses more on regulatory approaches.
A pdf version of the presentation can be downloaded here, or you can view or download the Powerpoint version via Slideshare: