Wind Turbine Noise Study To Be Subjected To Peer Review

Whether it be unsure of the results or seeking validation, the Antelope County Board of Supervisors will ask another business, Rand Acoustics to complete a peer review of the results of a noise study conducted on Prairie Breeze wind turbines at four locations in Antelope County.
At last week’s supervisor meeting, Michael Hankard, president of Hankard Environmental, Inc., presented the results of the recently-completed noise study. Over the course of five-weeks, noise levels were measured at the residences of Gary Borer, Judy Wilcox, Susan Berg, and Paul and Stephanie Hecht in Antelope County. In the case of Wilcox, Berg and Hecht, the wind turbines in question are part of Prairie Breeze II, while Borer’s complaint dealt with wind turbine noise created from Prairie Breeze I.
Hankard told the supervisors the noise levels fell below the established criteria for noise when the wind farms were constructed. Noise levels produced by wind turbines ranged between 30 and 49 decibels at the four residences where microphones were placed. Noise levels, as part of the conditional use permit approved by the supervisiors, are not to exceed 50 decibels.
Back in July 2012, the county adopted regulations whereby “No Commercial/Utility WECS shall exceed 50 dBA at the nearest existing inhabited dwelling. Exception: a Commercial/Utility may exceed 50 dBA during periords of severe weather as defined by the US Weather Service or during shut down or restart for normal maintenance.”
In all cases, involving all four residences, Hankard said noise levels fell below established guidelines.
Hankard indicated when wind speeds were higher than 11 miles per hour, noise level results were omitted from the study. That’s due to wind speeds creating a sound level over a microphone which is not real. Also, during those times, he said wind noise and the noise generated from wind turbines are too close to differentiate.
No action was taken on the wind study. Also, no date was set for the supervisors to review the report from Rand Acoustics.