A recent commentary on NBC4’s “iReporter” discussed concerns about the sound of wind turbines at a wind farm in West Virginia.
Any time a debate regarding the intangible “cost” of wind power arises, it’s important to remember that wind energy emits no pollution, creates no hazardous waste, and uses virtually no water. All of these advantages are good for human health and wildlife, and they are not shared by any non-renewable energy source.
With respect to the sound levels generated by modern turbines, typically, two people can carry on a conversation at normal voice levels even while standing at the base of a turbine. As a non-polluting energy source, wind power is essential to reducing public health impacts from the energy sector. Further, independent studies conducted around the world have consistently found that sound from wind farms has no direct impact on physical health.
At distances of 1,000 feet or more, sounds from wind turbines fall well below existing standards previously established for other types of equipment (see "WINDPOWER report: New study finds minimal low-frequency and infrasound impact from wind turbines," May 25, 2011) and are lower than ambient sound in a typical home or office. While some people–particularly those who dislike the appearance of wind turbines–may find the sound of some turbines annoying up close, thousands of people around the world and across America live near or within wind farms without concern.
While there are a noisy few who oppose wind power, public support for it remains strong. Wind bolsters America's economy through a supply chain of hundreds of manufacturing plants and more than 2,500 companies investing in all stages of American wind power. As families across our country struggle with unemployment, and as businesses are cutting back just to survive, it’s past time for Congress to focus its ideas and efforts on proposals that will create jobs and get our economy moving again. Extending the Production Tax Credit for wind and other forms of renewable energy generation is one of the best ways to spur economic development and create the good jobs we need while at the same time benefiting public health.
Fact check: Bryce misleads again on land, sound, resource use, January 31, 2012
Despite science, wind turbine sound sparks discussion in Wisconsin, January 30, 2012
Massachusetts clears wind of health effects after independent experts review evidence, January 20, 2012
Opinion: Dr. W. David Colby: Turbines and health, December 2, 2011
Canadian researchers: No direct link between wind turbines and health, November 29, 2011
Wind power: A quiet solution to climate change, June 27, 2011
Sierra Club Canada 1.1: Time to confront anti-wind fear campaign, June 15, 2011
Environmental Defence (Canada): 'No basis' for health impact claims, June 6, 2011
Sierra Club Canada: Time to confront anti-wind disinformation campaign, June 3, 2011
WINDPOWER report: New study finds minimal low-frequency and infrasound impact from wind turbines, May 25, 2011
Does the sound of money soothe Wind Turbine Syndrome?, April 25, 2011
WHO guidelines on sound are … guidelines, March 28, 2011
Scientists, doctor weigh in on wind and health, November 30, 2010
Wind turbine sound: The neighbors speak, March 18, 2010
Expert panel concludes wind turbine sounds not harmful to human health, December 15, 2009