by Graham Findlay of 3G Energy
(left as a comment on BFP’s Wind Turbines at Lamberts, Barbados – How close is too close?)
I build wind farms in Canada, small community scale wind farms. We try to keep set-back distances above the provincial minimum of 550 meters. At 750 meters a resident nearby has to strain to hear the devices, no matter what the weather conditions. At 550 meters, only under certain weather conditions will the noise be heard and even then it’s at a very low decibel level. At 550 meters the noisiest turbines can achieve 40 db or less of sound pressure outside a residence.
Noise from gear-boxes? Ever heard of gearless turbines? Ultra-low sound pressure? The energy from these devices at that frequency cannot travel far. The main issue from low frequency sound is the extent to which a person is experiencing it in his/her normal surroundings. In an urban environment, it’s all around and nobody complains. It comes from traffic, restaurant ventilation, cooling fans, wind flow through and around building structures. It’s there and yet people don’t notice it. It seems disingenuous to attack wind turbines for this effect when the physics of the experience show it to be below known harmful thresholds.
The wind resource on Barbados is amazing. It’s too bad that community organizations are not yet organized to step forward and become energy activists, and therefore owners of power generation equipment. It’s very satisfying to members of an energy co-op when they see revenue flowing in every month. It’s a shame to leave energy generation to the monopolists. Wind and solar energy generation opportunities should be owned by anybody who is interested.