Wind turbines do make some noise. But modern turbines are designed to minimise noise, and we have regulations about where turbines can be placed. General Electric say that, unless you’re up close, it shouldn’t be much more than a fridge’s hum.
10:10er Leo Murray had only ever seen a turbine from a distance, but his main worry was the noise. But as he went closer, he was pleasantly surprised: “On the day we visited all we could hear, standing right at the bottom of the turbine, was the traffic on the A47, some birdsong, and a very - very - faint whooshing sound.”
Wind turbines rely on mechanical movement of blades through the air, and this inevitably creates some noise. But if you’re designing a wind turbine, you don’t want to loose all that energy to noise - it’d be a waste. Canny designers have made more efficient blades and gear mechanisms which are a lot quieter.
As the Centre for Sustainable Energy argue, the research on people disturbed by wind power is pretty minimal, partly because the number of people who say they are continually disturbed is pretty small. Still, the research that has been done does suggest that wind farm noise isn’t any higher than normal background noise you’d get from other things around a house.
Being able to see the wind farm seems to make an impact, so it may well be a visual problem rather than an aural one. Interestingly, research on wind farms in the Netherlands suggests that people are less likely to worry about the noise if they have a direct financial stake in the turbines.
Banner photo: Elliott Simpson