Noise is highly regulated in the wind energy industry. Noise modelling and monitoring are well-established sciences, and with well-defined compliance limits set in Victorian regulations. OSMI aims to perform better than compliance requirements by designing a project that achieves noise levels below compliance limits at all residences and undertakes noise measurements using best practice equipment and analysis. It is our objective to design a project that complies with ‘high amenity’ noise criteria where possible for near neighbours.
OSMI is committed to designing a project that does not impact negatively on the everyday lives and comfort of the neighbouring communities. We aim to do this using the most suitable, high-quality turbine models and sensitive project design. While noise is a common concern for residents near wind farm proposals, wind farms are a well-established industry and the technology and design processes have improved greatly over the last 20 years.
Minimising Noise Outputs
Extensive modelling has been completed of the noise output from the proposed turbine layout taking into account the local topography, ground conditions and using a number of potential wind turbines. These noise propagation models have been extensively tested and are industry approved, and they take into account detailed contour data (including adjustments required for hills and valley effects), wind speed and direction, and noise output at all residences out to approximately the 25 dB noise emission level. Click here to view the full Preliminary Noise Assessment, and here for the summary.
OSMI is designing a project that complies not just with the minimum requirements, but aims to meet high amenity standards, in recognition of the high-quality lifestyle values of the area.
Assessing Existing Background Noise
As part of our project design we are currently undertaking background noise monitoring at a range of locations around the project area. This monitoring is used to provide a baseline of background noise levels before the project is constructed. It also allows us to ensure that the modelled noise output do not exceed background levels so much that it will be excessively audible. It also provides residents and the operator with a baseline to compare with should disputes arise in the future, if residents believe their amenity has been compromised by noise levels from the wind farm in the operational phase.
Background noise level information is used to assist in setting operational noise limits for a wind farm. Background noise monitoring consists of a monitoring station, such as the one pictured to the here, being placed within 20 m of a residence for a period of 4-6 weeks. The time frame is to allow enough time to capture changes in wind speed and direction. Sounds that are above and beyond general background noise, such as chainsaws, motor bikes or seasonal animal calls, can be filtered out.