Complaints about Wind Turbine Noise

After making the last post, I got a response from atomcat who included a link to the following site and video:

Wind Turbine Noise Video – Suncor Wind Farm Ripley Ont.

I understand the point he’s trying to make … sort of. Maybe I didn’t have my sound turned up high enough, but … somehow … I wasn’t impressed.

Okay, I understand these people live in the country. I grew up in a small town. Now I live in a city of about 250,000. They don’t like the noise which could be constant if the wind is constant.

Okay, just to do a reality check, I went out into my backyard. It’s nearly 1 a.m. and I could barely hear an industrial type of hum above the constant din of crickets chirping. After thinking about it for a while, I finally realized the hum was the sound of several hundred air conditioning units running in my neighborhood .. both the crickets and a/c units something I normally wouldn’t notice if I weren’t particularly atuned to listening to them.

Fortunately, it’s after midnight and the six or so hours of daily rush hour traffic that is generated on the four lane highway several blocks from my house isn’t currently adding to the noise pollution. People are generally patient and polite both in the morning and evening so it’s not a lot of horns blowing like I used to remember from childhood visits to downtown Atlanta. But … the hum of several thousand engines patiently waiting for a light to change or accelerating when it does, not to mention the friction noise of those engines multiplied by four where the tires meet the pavement do provide a relatively constant although varying background noise.

Now, this doesn’t take into account the mariachi band that also cranks up on the weekends at a Mexican restaurant about five blocks from my home. Yep, I can hear it … or the cannons firings when a local military college makes a touchdown on Saturdays in the fall. It’s several miles from my house. Or the fireworks being lit during the Fourth of July celebration at a city park across a river from my home … again several miles away. I live about five miles from a municipal airport and can occasionally hear jets revving their engines to take off. At least it isn’t the end of the runway at Atlanta International.

And yes, I grew up in a small town, population 1200. My parents had a farm and I spent a lot of time there working, playing and have even carried my daughters camping there. Again, the tree frogs and crickets seemed to make a lot more noise than the wind turbines on the video. The last time I camped there, at the farm … above the noise of the crickets and frogs … at night, I could hear the constant drone of a generator running on an adjacent farm across the creek about a half mile away. It didn’t bother me. Occasionally, I could hear a car run up the highway about a quarter mile to the west. If the wind was right, I could hear the neighbors talking at their homes in the river bottom anywhere from a quarter to half mile away.

One of the most restful nights of sleep I ever spent was falling asleep listening to the roar of waves crashing onto a beach. I can guarantee you it was a lot louder than those wind turbines but hardly objectionable.

Don’t these people have children playing and yelling, dogs barking, cattle lowing, pigs squealing? One thing that impressed me about the noise of the video was that the turbine sound, if that’s what it was … was the only sound. Do any people actually live nearby?

Wind makes noise … rustling through the grass or in the trees … howling in a storm. Running water … can’t you hear it? I could sit for hours listening to the creek on the farm flow by.

If this noise is supposed to make people sick, then I should be dead. But, fortunately for me, I live in a living world that is full of noises made by men, man-made machines, animals, insects and Mother Nature herself. If people weren’t so anal compulsive, they would just get used to the noise and ignore it like any sane person with something to do other than complain.

I’m sorry. I could sympathize … but I don’t. The only sound I hear in the video of the wind turbines is the noise made by the turbines … supposedly. Frankly, if that’s all the noise that the people have there, they need it to keep the place from sounding … and being … dead.

And, as far as me being careful of what I wish for … it wouldn’t be the dead silence of that video without the turbines.


8 Responses

  1. there’s a difference between the ambient noise, and even ‘waking’ situations, like the hospital E/R you mentioned(or war zone), and a constant set of sound waves like these people contend with.
    granted, I was raised in suburban and live in urban noise situations, so “quiet” of rural can be something challenging to ‘relax’/get acclimated to, as the author mentions. In fact, I’d -like- to get used to that instead of the urban noise level.
    But there’s a difference in the types of noise and the difference in the range/frequency of sound waves emitted.
    There is proof that ultrasonic and subsonic (esp. subsonic) can alter moods of people. Add on sleep disturbances, which can cause another range of physical disease as well as depression and emotional disturbances- there’s validity to some of these claims.
    For years, I thought that wind was the best accompaniment to solar; now, I’m putting my “pro” opinion in -neutral- on this until more is reviewed.
    Personally, I’ve suffered from almost 3 years of disrupted sleep: there’s a reason it’s used as a form of torture. Perhaps they’re just the first canaries in this new cave of energy exploration, but suffice to say, their ‘chirps’ (or a few dead birds) should not be invalidated.

    • I appreciate what you’re saying. Interesting.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but what you’re suggesting should be relatively easy to test; and, also, should have and may have already been tested. But, I haven’t seen anything to indicate that it has been tested. Have you?


      • To coin one of my favorite phrases … and not necessarily directed at you, A.C., “Where’s the data???”

  2. Wow! You think that is NOT annoying?

    That would drive me crazy! Thank goodness I live in the city! ha!

    • Thanks for the comment … but let’s be really honest here.

      We, as humans, adapt to all sorts of noises … and it depends primarily upon how we perceive them.

      Remember the movie,”The Bridges At Toko-Ri” based on Michener’s short story. Brubaker (William Holden) is lying in his bunk and the steam catapults on the aircraft carrier are going off about every 15 seconds. The noise is about to drive him crazy because he knows those catapults are the sound of someone possibly being sent to their death … which could include him, while probably most of the rest of the crew on the carrier may even be sleeping or going about their business … oblivious to the noise.

      Point being, it’s all relative.

      I’ve lived and worked in the country … where a solitary car driving down a paved highway a half mile away can cause heads to turn. And, I’ve worked in a high risk newborn nursery where the din and cacophony of background noises are simply a comfort that all is going well and nothing is wrong.

      It’s all relative and a matter of perception.


  3. Some very intresting ideas and comments. I came across this page whilst looking for cheaper energy prices My bills haven risen by 35% this year and am now facing yet another increase by these greedy energy companies. (Thankfully I only rent so don’t have to worry about a mortgage as well.) Has anyone tried this green and cheap renewable energy? If so, be intrested to know how it worked for you.

  4. Great post thanks
    Good to see a source for noise pollution info. We are trying to spread some information about our own from of noise pollution in clean green New Zealand (frost fans to protect vineyards).
    From my research the noise is very similar.
    Keep up the good work.

  5. Hi
    Quick update.

    Since my last post, three families moved out of their homes because of the noise. Maybe you need to turn your volume up, or maybe the wind company could turn the volume down.
    A councilor who voted for the wind farm in the video and has a wind turbine on the property has moved off the farm.
    The councilor suffers from nose bleeds and sevee headaches when at the farm. Cause-stray voltage.

    Have a good day.

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