Graph of the Day: Shout it out. Wind Turbines are Quiet as Advertised.

November 28, 2011

Mount Pleasant (WI) Patch:

Several staff members and officials from Mount Pleasant traveled to Fond du Lac County on Fri., Nov. 11, 2011 to put wind turbines to the test. Residents were also invited, but were unable to make the trip.

They were interested in measuring the noise levels of wind turbines similar to those proposed by SC Johnson for their Waxdale plant. The Brownsville, WI, location features 86 wind turbines over 12 square miles, at least one of which sits less than 500 feet from a landowner who leases his land for the turbines.

According to Planning Director Ron Meyer, measurements were taken at 800 and 1,200 feet away from a geared turbine. The SCJ turbines would be gearless and probably quieter.

“At 800 feet, measurements came in at 46 – 47 decibels, and at 1,200 feet it was less than 40 decibels, ” he said. By comparison, Meyer said a passing car on the paved road came in at 62 decibels. “The readings could be on the higher side as the corn stubble and hedge row created ambient noise.”

Since Waxdale is located in a mixed use neighborhood of residential, commercial and industrial development, it’s not unreasonable to think most of the surrounding area would muffle the noise from the turning blades.

SCJ is proposing two or three wind turbines of between 300 and 400 feet tall to generate some of the electricity needed to power the Waxdale plant. Predicted to produce about 15 percent of the total energy needed, the turbines are part of SCJ’s plan to generate 100 percent of Waxdale’s energy needs on-site with 60 percent coming from renewable energy sources.

At a public hearing on Oct. 18, Mount Pleasant residents listened to a presentation from SC Johnson officials. Tom Joy from Mount Pleasant and Paul Kocourek from Sturtevant both expressed concerns about the turbines on several levels: noise, sun flicker, aesthetics, property values and deaths of flying wildlife.

“I wish residents could have made the trip,” said Trustee Gary Feest. “I think a lot of their fears would have been put to rest.”

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10 Responses to “Graph of the Day: Shout it out. Wind Turbines are Quiet as Advertised.”

  1. otter17 Says:

    With proper siting practices and engineering know-how, many of the issues with early turbines are starting to disappear. If wind energy got a fair shake in funding and subsidies, who knows how much progress the industry could make.

  2. Donald Says:

    Place a turbine under load and just listen to that “hum”; it is almost negligible but it is guaranteed to drive mad any foolish farmer stupid enough to allow the turbine’s on his/her land.

    I wouldn’t want the things anywhere near me.

  3. mspelto Says:

    I have visited a dozen or so wind farms most on farmland all quiet and all with farmers who love them

  4. Well, I know some foolish farmers who’d be happy to have a wind turbine or 20 on their land. Compared to the everyday normal sounds on a working farm, the sound of a wind turbine or 20 won’t even be an issue. It’s the folks who MOVE into farm country expecting peace and quiet who are complaining about noise, smell, dust, debris and whatnot. Around here, they use the argument of noise, along with other things, to try to dissuade people from supporting clean, renewable wind energy. Donald talks about the “hum” of a wind turbine. What about the “hum” of the: refrigerator, ceiling fan, highway traffic, furnace, window fan, and how about that stupid constant hum of the cooling fan in the back of the satellite receiver box, or the one in the computer tower? Hmmmm???

  5. Donald Says:

    Who are you commenters? wind farm vendors or something? your excuses are hollow and clearly show you never Google anything :-)

    The hum from those devices has to to be heard to be understood, why don’t you pick up a sleeping bag and go spend a week or two under them, one night is not enough.

    Here are a few samples for you … personally I found 235,000 of them in 5 minutes .. any comments?


    a dozen or so neighbors living less than a mile from the $15 million wind facility here, say the industrial whoosh-and-whoop of the 123-foot blades is making life in this otherwise tranquil corner of the island unbearable.

    ‘I want to stop the noise so we can go back home and relax and sleep and live like we did five years ago,’ she said. ‘It is a horrible noise.

    ‘It is unpredictable but occurs mainly in the course of the night, and there is no assurance that you can stay asleep.

    So another of the disadvantages of wind energy is that wind turbines are noisy. They have the hum and also a “whooshing noise” when the blade turns.

  6. Donald, I live near a large wind farm, in fact the largest in the southern hemisphere. 111 of the suckers have been running for about 17 months now (haven’t stopped turning since they started them up). There haven’t been any complaints about noise, I’ve personally been up to the farm and you have to be right next to the largest arrays before you notice them. Even then I’d liken it to wind in the trees level of noise.

    The farmers in and around the area haven’t had any complaints. Check the site for more info:

    Also, the scientist in me has looked for the supposed ill effects of wind turbines, being as how I was going to live next to them. I did not find a single credible study. All the claims I did find were merely confirmation bias cases.

    • Donald Says:

      I believe you, just as I believe that in old age all those new hairs in your ears are probably blocking all noise (just kidding) :-)

      235 articles on wind turbine noise … are they all lying or is it possible that the hum and noise does affect some people?

      It wouldn’t bother me, I’ve been a bit deaf for sometime now but the hum of an electrical device is a well known fact .. it can’t be denied.

  7. [...] wish residents could have done a trip,” pronounced Trustee Gary Feest in one article. “I consider a lot of their fears would have been put to [...]

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