Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Noise from wind turbines

Acoustic aspects of wind turbine design were addressed through a programme of empirical measurements and software modelling. Specific aspects investigated included variations in the acoustic characteristics of turbines of the same type due to manufacturing reproducibility and to age and location factors. Repeatability of acoustic measurements have been quantified and the verification and improvement of existing propagation models for higher wind speeds have been addressed. The results will help eliminate uncertainties in noise prediction in the planning stage of wind farms and provide a basis for establishing international standards. This, in turn, should contribute to a better acceptance of wind installations by the public.

In planning and licensing procedures for wind farms, authorities have to predict the acoustic noise levels on the local community. The prediction is normally done by using the acoustic characteristics, such as sound power and tonality, that have been measured at a turbine of the same type or batch as planned. The propagation of sound from the turbines to the locality is then calculated using general models. This procedure introduces two uncertainties. Firstly, individual differences are possible in the acoustic characteristics of turbines of the same type and the measurement data have an uncertainty. Secondly, the propagation models need to take account of location-specific factors, such as wind speed, wind shear and source elevation. This project tackled these problems by dealing specifically with: individual differences in acoustic characteristics of nominally identical turbines; repeatability of noise measurements; ageing effects of wind turbines; and verification and improvement of the existing propagation models for higher wind speeds.

Reported by

ECN Netherlands Energy Research Foundation
Westerduinweg 3 PO Box 1
1755 Petten
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