Documentary from Germany on wind turbines and infrasound: what you can’t hear can harm you

November 18, 2018

[Photo: ZDF.de]

 

A documentary aired on ZDF, the national public television broadcaster in Germany, featuring multiple interviews with scientists on the topic of wind turbine noise emissions, specifically infrasound.

See the transcript here–open in Google for a translation.)

Here are some excerpts from the report.

Interviews (in German) include conversations with a geoscientist, cardiovascular surgeon, and an expert in noise measurement.

 

Introduction

The natural sources of infrasound include, for example, earthquakes and sea surf. Technical sources are – to name just a few – combined heat and power plants, airplanes and also wind turbines. In recent years, doctors and scientists have increasingly dealt with infrasound from wind turbines. Because with the energy turnaround and the expansion of wind power, the load from these sources increases.

People who live near wind turbines often complain of sleep disorders, dizziness, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. Not infrequently dismissed as crazy, they usually have nothing left but to leave the area. Because in the common opinion frequencies below 20 Hertz are not audible and therefore can not cause any health damage.

Perception below the hearing threshold

But is it really like that? Professor Christian-Friedrich Vahl, Director of the Clinic for Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz feels reminded in such an argument to the early radiologists who experimented with X-rays, but “because they did not see that, only much later realized that they cause cancer. ”

Medical and scientific evidence is increasing that not only some animals, but also humans are able to perceive infrasound below the hearing threshold. No wonder actually, because “infrasound is an energy,” explains Prof. Vahl, “And every energy has physical effects, whether you hear it or not.”. For two years, he and his team have been addressing the question of how infrasound affects the power of the heart muscle. They have already completed two series of experiments investigating the acute effects of infrasound on human cardiac muscle, and the results are available: “In both series of tests, a clear reduction in cardiac muscle strength has been observed with infrasound signals,” says the cardiac surgeon , Something that you do not consciously perceive, So you can still get sick. Or at least have an effect.

Effects on the brain

Investigations by scientists of the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE)also show effects of infrasound on the brain. They found that infrasound presented below the individual threshold of hearing activates certain regions of the brain. Interestingly, regions that are involved in the processing of stress and conflict. Why this is so is still unclear, but Professor Simone Kühn of the UKE has a hypothesis: “We have speculated that if you hear something consciously and know there is something, you can perhaps better hide it. […] But with things that are so semi-perceptible, you may not have the directive to say, that’s what I’m ignoring now. “Unconsciously perceived things may put you in stress, at least when it’s not. A follow-up study by the UKE is now looking into the question

Worldwide attempts by the military to use infrasound as a non-lethal weapon are another indication that this low-frequency noise can have a negative effect on humans.

Experts estimate that between ten and thirty percent of the population can feel the symptoms of infrasound.

Different measuring methods

Nevertheless, to this day there is no standard for the frequency range below 20 hertz, which would represent the noise level of wind turbines unadorned. On the contrary, on the part of the authorities, a measurement standard is used that partially filters out the infrasound emissions of wind turbines. Frequencies below 8 hertz are completely ignored. By averaging (third-octave analysis) so-called “tonal peaks” are largely smoothed out, which means that certain high rashes are not visible in the result.

The German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) already showed in 2004 how the emissions from wind turbines in the infrasound sector really look like and how far they reach them. The BGR is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty ( CTBT). Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty) to control. For this purpose, the Federal Institute operates several measuring stations, of which two stations register infrasound. To avoid disturbing the measurement, the BGR determined the distance the wind turbine measuring instruments must have and concluded: ”

As a rule, a distance of about 20 kilometers between the station and the wind farm should be maintained to ensure an undisturbed registration and detection of transients acoustic signals. ”

A distance from which the neighbors of wind farms can only dream.

Irish medical study links wind farm noise to poor health: “environmental insomnia”

Residents against wind farms protest in Kilkenny

Irish citizens protest in Dublin (Source: Photocall)

Irish Daily Mail, October 16, 2015

WIND FARMS DO MAKE YOU SICK
Leah McDonald
Irish scientists link them to cancer, stroke and heart attacks – wind turbines ‘too near family homes’

WIND farms can contribute to people getting diseases such as cancer and heart attacks, two leading Irish health experts have warned.

They say that noises emitting from turbines lead to sleep deprivation that can cause cancer and heart disease, along with a number of other illnesses.

Professor Graham Roberts, head of the Department of Endocrinology at University Hospital, Waterford, and Professor Alun Evans, an expert in public health at Queen’s University, Belfast, met Alan Kelly yesterday to warn the Environment Minister that the current guidelines in Ireland are a cause for alarm.

The rules allow turbines and power lines as close as 500 metres to a family home, while international standards demand they should be at least 2km away.

Prof Evans, recently wrote a report pointing to ‘serious adverse health effects associated with noise pollution generated by wind turbines’. The risks were due to sleep disturbance and deprivation with loud noise being one of the main causes.

He pointed out that sleep deprivation is associated with memory impairment in children and disturbed cognitive function in adults.

He told the Irish Daily Mail yesterday that distances between homes and turbines should be increased.

He said: ‘The bad effects of low frequency noise has been known for at least 40 years, the thing is 500 metres does not protect people. It is insufficient.’ He warned that there is evidence that the ‘infrasonic signatures’ that cause the damage can be picked up from 50 miles way, adding: ‘It is a serious problem. It doesn’t affect everyone the same way. Something like a quarter of people are more susceptible.’

Prof Evans explained: ‘It is a problem, the big thing being noise and sleep deprivation. Once you deprive people of sleep you make them more liable to become overweight and you delay their learning because while we sleep we reinforce memory.

‘Depriving people of sleep is not a good idea, overweight children become obese adults and obese adults are far more likely to [develop] a whole range of diseases particularly cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.’ He added that the noise doesn’t have to have a direct effect to cause a problem. ‘It can be indirect but it is still very important,’ he said. ‘And you can prevent diseases by preventing the more distant causes.’

And in his recent report, Dr Evans said that there had been no proper cost-benefit analysis in Ireland before the widespread introduction of wind power.

Both he and Dr Roberts believe there are fundamental technical errors in reports on current wind farm and power-line projects here.

They are concerned over the consultation process with the public. Some parents of autistic children have particular fears about the effects turbines and high-voltage pylons have on their quality of life.

John Callaghan has objected to wind farms in Co. Meath, which he fears will affect the environment and health of his autistic son.

The engineer, who has studied renewable energy at postgraduate level, said his seven-year-old son is autistic and very sensitive to noise and says he has ‘grave concerns’ about the impact of the proposed wind farm on his son, himself, his family and the local area, including wildlife, heritage and the cultural landscape.

The meeting between the professors and the minister was organised by community campaigner David Reid of the Westmeath Alliance. Mr Reid said there are significant concerns about noise pollution for people living close to wind turbines. He said the World Health Organisation refers to this as ‘environmental insomnia’, if the noise is above a certain threshold.
Irish Daily Mail

Money lures farmers to sign up for Nation Twp wind farm

“If I didn’t sign, I would see the windmills without revenue”: cash crop farmer Marc Bercier

Not too many years ago, cash cropper and seed grower/processor Marc Bercier was actively opposed to green energy projects being proposed and built in his area, but this February he signed for a potential five windmills* and one substation to be located on his 1,700 acres.

“If I didn’t sign I would see the windmills without revenue,” said Bercier.

$15,000 per turbine, per year

Pointing to the 29 pages of documentation involved for his portion of the 10,000-acre proposed windmill project, Bercier noted how the negotiated sections on soil compaction, erosion and overall environmental protection were vital to him, considering that his farm is only just over the requires 500 meters from this village. [Editor: what? Do you mean from the project?]

The documentation showed that Bercier was promised $15,000 per windmill per year as a base price, with incentives for more power and compensation for anything that affected the surrounding land. The substation lease was $20,000 per year.

It’s a massive community project that seems to have the support of Nation Township Mayor Francois St. Amour. A January 20, 2014 council motion passed, stating it [council] “supports the application under the Ontario Power Authority’s Large Renewable Procurement Program.”

Ontario Farmer obtained documentation showing that, as of March, 2015, 165 landowners had been approached by the EWG windmill company, of which 128 had signed agreements and 37 were in discussion.

“They are all farmers,” said St. Amour, noting that the required setback distances from the windmills meant that a lot of land was involved per windmill.

As of mid-June, almost everyone of the former holdouts had signed up and joined, said Bercier.

The company had persuaded and signed up a local, prominent farmer who then went up and down the concessions promoting the project to individuals, said Bercier.

OFA “incredibly helpful”

… “yes, there are liens on the project,” said Bercier. However all lien documentation has been passed by his lawyer, alleviating all concerns as to affecting the farming operation, he said.

The OFA has been incredibly helpful in promoting the project, noted Bercier.

Spending $42,000 a year of hydro costs for his farm, “double what it would cost if I was in Quebec,” Bercier is well aware of the extra hydro costs the public pay to finance such green energy projects.

“We had an election, the Liberals won. The voters chose to pay for more electricity,” said Bercier.

By Ian Cumming

Ontario Farmer

June 23, 2015

*They’re NOT “windmills”!

 

 

ERT wind farm testimony: Environment officials not doing their job

WAINFLEET WIND ENERGY INC.

 

 

Here is a report from Loretta Shields on testimony given at the appeal of the HAF wind power project by Vineland Power (IPC Energy); the hearings began on Monday this week.

For those of you that were not able to make it, Ministry officials from Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and also the Ministry of Natural Resources  were questioned and cross examined during the last two days.  A representative with the Environmental Assessment firm was also cross examined today.  Here is the damning testimony that we learned:

1.  The Ministry of Environment does not verify set back distances of the wind turbines.  They trust the wind proponent (but the turbines did not meet the required set back distances!)

2.  The Ministry of Natural Resources does not verify either the presence or absence of natural features.  For example, the size of woodlands were inaccurate in the Natural Heritage assessment report and no one at the MNR verified this.  They are not careful to review the relevant documents and corresponding versions of those documents.

3.  The Tribunal Chair identified training gaps with the environmental assessor that authored the Natural Heritage Assessment report.

So we have a problem with training, verification, process control with both Ministries and the environmental assessment firm.

Please email the ministries and show your concern.  If you have property within 120 meters of either a proposed industrial wind turbine, collector line or transmission line, please let them know that we learned that there are verification issues, training issues and process control issues.  Demand that they review the NRWC project in relation to your property to determine whether significant natural features exist and require mitigation measures.  If you live within the HAF project location, demand that they review the project in its entirety.  The HAF Renewable Energy Approval documents now lack the required integrity to provide the people in our Community with assurances that other components of the project were investigated in accordance with the REA Regulation. If you don’t live within 120 meters, please write to voice your concerns. Because once this is approved, it is a tougher battle, and time is running out!

This is so NOT right.  This is NOT how civil servants serve the people in our Community.  This is NOT how a Ministry protects our natural features.

Please help with this fight. If you could write/email in the next day or two, it would be so much appreciated.

1.  Eric Boysen, Renewable Energy Director, Ministry of Natural Resources eric.boysen@ontario.ca

2.  Agatha Garcia-Wright, Director, Renewable Energy Approvals, agatha.garcia-wright@ontario.ca

3.  Copy:  Andre Marin, Ombudsman for Ontario info@ombudsman.on.ca

4.  Copy:  Gord Miller, Environmental Commissioner for Ontario  commissioner@eco.on.ca

Wind farm appeals a “stacked deck”

Judges quash majority of turbine appeal

Setback issue to be argued Sept. 3
The Environmental Review Tribunal has ruled that only issues related to an amendment to the HAF Wind Energy Project will be heard next month. The majority of the issues raised in West Lincoln resident Anne Fairfeild’s appeal will not be argued.
Grimsby Lincoln News

WEST LINCOLN — The case against the five industrial wind turbines already spinning in West Lincoln is “still partially alive.”

Anne Fairfield, who appealed the province’s approval of the HAF Wind Energy Project, appeared before the Environmental Review Tribunal for a preliminary hearing last week. All of the issues raised in her original appeal were quashed, meaning only those mentioned in her appeal to the province’s subsequent approval of an amendment to the project will be heard at a hearing next month.

“They knocked out everything not mentioned in the amendment,” said Fairfield. “All we’re left with are property lines and the withdrawing of post construction raptor monitoring.”

Project proponents Rankin Wind Energy and Vineland Power Inc. had to submit an amendment to their application after it came to light that four of the five turbines were built closer to property lines than regulations allow.

According to the Green Energy Act, turbines must be located a minimum of a blade length from the nearest property — in this case, 95 metres.

The province approved the amended application June 20. Fairfield filed her appeal July 3.

Come Sept. 3 Fairfield will only be able to argue on the issue of property line setback infractions and post-construction raptor monitoring. The West Lincoln resident will no longer be able to present on issues of health, gas wells. hazardous waste and the impact on Charter rights — the issues Fairfield raised in her original appeal to the project’s approval.

Fairfield and members of the West Lincoln Glanbrook WInd Action Group met with Niagara West-Glanbrook MPP Tim Hudak Monday to discuss the upcoming tribunal.

Judges quashes majority of turbine appeal

West Lincoln-Glanbrook MPP Tim Hudak meets with constituents in resident’s home

Hudak was vocal in his opposition to the Green Energy Act in his time as PC Party Leader. He raised the issue several times at Queen’s Park on behalf of his constituents in West Lincoln and the province at large, calling for a complete moratorium on more than one occasion. He has called on the Minister of Energy, Bob Chiarelli, twice now to “do the right thing” in the case of the HAF project.

“If you had been caught speeding on Twenty Road, you wouldn’t get a redo,” said Hudak, speaking on the province’s approval of the amended application.

“It only makes sense for the government to follow its own laws.”

Hudak, fresh on the heels of his loss to Kathleen Wynne in the race to become premier, said he would do what he can to help his constituents but realizes his influence is not as strong as it could have been had the outcome had been different in June.

“My goal was to win the election and stop this thing in its tracks,” said Hudak. “I’ve met with Wynne and McGuinty, face to face like we are now, to say this is a bad idea for the province as a whole.”

Fairfield asked if the PC party would continue to push against the Liberal’s green agenda without Hudak at helm. Hudak said he appointed Lisa Thompson to the post of energy critic because her own riding of Huron-Bruce was home to several turbine projects. He was confident the party would continue to push against “one of the most destructive policy decisions in recent history.”

Hudak, like the half dozen residents gathered at Veldman’s house, did not have the same level of confidence the Environmental Review Tribunal would side with Fairfield.

“It’s an incredibly stacked deck,” said Hudak.

“ERTs don’t work,” said Fairfield, noting ultimately the decision will lie in either appeals court or in a judicial review, both of which she is prepared to more forward with.

Read the full story here.

Editor’s Note: the Environmental Review Tribunal Panel is NOT made up of “judges” but rather lawyers who are civil servants, employed by the Province of Ontario.

Wind farm noise complaints trigger MoE investigation

The wind “farm” or, as we prefer it, wind power generation project, in Brinston Ontario, is the first wind power plant to have 3-megawatt turbines operating … but not for long. Many of the other power projects such as those at Bluewater and in the Niagara Region are specified to have 3-megawatt turbines. Ontario still does not have any protocol for measuring infrasound or low-frequency noise (LFN) which these machines produce.

It is worth noting that Brinston has about 400 homes within 2 km of the wind power project and its 3-MW turbines; in the Niagara Region there will be 4,500 homes, and in Bluewater, more than 2,000.

Here is a report from Brinston where the turbines have been operating for only four months.

Noise complaints lead to monitoring

by Sandy Casselman, Winchester Press

BRINSTON – It has been more than six months since the blades of the South Branch Wind Farm turbines began to spin, leaving more than one nearby resident with some sleepless nights.

“I call when it gets to the point I can’t tolerate it anymore and I go to the basement [to sleep],” Brinston resident Leslie Disheau, former president of the South Branch Wind Opposition Group, said. “It is an issue and
I’m not the only person in town with the issue.”

Disheau, who is running for the Municipality of South Dundas’ deputy-mayor seat in this fall’s municipal election, has been staying close to home since the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) installed noise-monitoring equipment at her Brinston Road property last week.

“MOE contacted me and asked if they could put this noise monitoring equipment up,” Disheau said.

The two pieces of equipment measure wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, rainfall, and more, she said.

She has submitted three separate noise complaints so far. Every complaint must be filed with EDP Renewables’ project leader Ken Little and local MOE representative Terry Forrester to be officially registered.

During EDP’s first open community liaison meeting in March, a Brinston man spoke out about his own sleep disturbances, suggesting the turbines be shut off for a period during the early hours of the morning, beginning around midnight. At that time, Little confirmed that there had been one official complaint already registered. He also said an acoustic audit had been ordered, which he expected to get underway within two months of the meeting.

“EDP has not released their post-construction noise audit report,” Disheau said during an interview with the Winchester Press Fri., July 18.

In conversation with one of the MOE officials who installed the equipment, Disheau said she learned that the provincial authority also had not seen a report from EDP.

“They can take a long as they want,” she said, crediting the Green Energy Act with the responsibility for not specifying a deadline. “There is a 40-decibel limit [on the noise the turbines can make], and we have no idea if they’re in the threshold or not.”

To describe what the sound is like, she used Highway 401 versus airplane noise as an example, pointing out that the highway noise is more of a hum, and when she lived near it, the sounds did not bother her at all.
However, the turbines produce something more in line with the “drone of an airplane that goes into your head,” she said. “It’s a deeper tone, and that’s where you get the disturbance of sleep.”

Explaining the noise and its effects on her is not easy, she said, but it is similar to the sensation people get in their chest when listening to bass guitar.

Disheau said she explained her experiences to MOE’s acoustical engineer, adding that the sensations are at their worst when the blade tips of the turbine across the road (south of Brinston) and the one to the north behind her home (west of Brinston) are facing one another.

“The acoustical engineer said ‘yes, that it all makes sense,’ ” Disheau added. “This is not normal. You should not be in sleep disturbance in your own house.”

Meanwhile, Disheau is the only one in her home experiencing the effects of the rotating blades, as her husband, who shares the second-storey bedroom on the home’s vinyl-sided addition, is tone deaf, and her children sleep on the first floor of the brick-sided main house.

The noise-monitoring equipment is controlled by a switch, which has been placed inside Disheau’s home. When she notices the noise, she flips the switch and the machinery calculates and documents the findings.

“Once everything is taken down, the ministry guy goes through [the recordings] and writes his report,” she said, which will list the decibel readings for various weather conditions (wind speed and direction).

When asked what she hopes to accomplish through this procedure, Disheau said the findings could require that EDP shut down operations during specific times of the day or during specific wind conditions should they prove the decibel levels exceed the regulated amount.

 

Time for Transport Canada to act on wind farm safety

Small plane lands at Chatham-Kent airport
Small plane lands at Chatham-Kent airport

We understand that Transport Canada has recognized the seriousness of the situation in Ontario as regards aviation safety and wind turbines being built around airports. A committee has been struck and is now looking at recommendations and phasing in action.

Not a minute too soon.

The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) has been sounding alarm bells on this issue since 2009. Last year, CEO Kevin Psutka was engaged in correspondence with power developer wpd Canada over safety concerns at the Collingwood airport (See correspondence string here) and at one point accused the developer of “hiding” behind a consultant’s report on aviation safety that was actually prepared on the basis of very limited parameters.

In a note written in 2013, Mr Psutka states, “At least there has finally been an acknowledgement of the gap in the regulations. Transport Canada does not have to act on the recommendation but we can use this statement to further highlight to the provincial government that a ‘no objection’ statement from Transport Canada does not mean ‘no impact on aviation’. There should be a buffer zone around aerodromes and COPA made a recommendation during the development of the Green Energy Act to ensure that as part of every proposed project a thorough investigation is performed with a goal to minimize the impact on aviation. The gap in federal regulations, acknowledged by the Transportation Committee, indicates that until such time as Transport Canada makes the appropriate regulatory changes to protect aviation, the province has an important role to play in ensuring that the air transportation system, including smaller airports and aerodromes, is not adversely affected by windfarms.

“This is a safety and social issue that to date has not been given appropriate attention by the federal or provincial governments,” Mr Psutka concluded in his March, 2013 email.

This is another issue, like putting turbines where they will kill migrating birds, or bats which are so important to agriculture, or putting turbines next to homes and schools, that one would think would be governed by common sense, if not loftier ideas like the Precautionary Principle.

But it isn’t, not in Ontario, where you have government officials actually saying that the “overall benefit” of wind power generation trumps every other concern. Health, safety, even the environment–wind power beats all.

If the Ontario government won’t protect the people of Ontario, it is high time someone else in government did.

***

Email us at windconcerns@gmail.com

German state Bavaria sets new wind farm setbacks

GERMANY: Germany’s new renewable energy law has passed through parliament in the second and third readings, in parallel with a law allowing each federal state to independently set the distance of wind turbines to the nearest houses.

The law has gone through despite additional last-minute demands from the European Commission made on 23 June.

Amongst other points, the commission had demanded that imported renewables electricity should not be subjected to the German renewables levy. It argues this has the effect of an import duty. (The intervention is believed to anticipate a European Court of Justice judgement due at the beginning of July 2014 on a dispute surrounding a Finnish wind station looking to participate in the Swedish renewables support system.)

Bavaria is setting a minimum distance of ten times the turbine height, which threatens to virtually rule out wind development in the state.

Both laws are to take effect on 1 August. Federal states setting minimum distances must do so before the end of 2015.

The new Renewable Energy Act caps onshore wind expansion at 2.5GW per year not including net additions from repowering projects. Offshore wind is limited to 6.5GW by end-2020, albeit with some flexibility allowed for installations to reach up to 7.2GW.

The law is a three-year interim measure, to be followed by new legislation setting out the rules for renewables tendering procedures beginning in 2017 and on market integration of renewables, according to federal economy minister Sigmar Gabriel.

Read the full story here

Turbine noise and health study to be published

Results to be presented at public health conference next week

Turbine study to be published

By Rob Gowan, Sun Times, Owen Sound

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 4:26:20 EDT PM

A local study that concluded industrial wind turbines cause distress among people who live near them, is to be published in an online medical journal.

The report, which was co-authored by Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health Dr. Hazel Lynn and epidemiological researcher Dr. Ian Arra, will be published in the online journal, Cureus. No date has been announced for publication.

“It gives a level of authority to a paper such as this,” said Lynn. “It basically gives it much more credibility in the science reading population.”

The review, entitled, Literature Review 2013: Association Between Wind Turbine Noise and Human Distress, came at the request of the Grey Bruce Board of Health in late 2012 after local residents who live near wind turbines asked the health unit to investigate potential ill health affects.

Lynn and Arra conducted an in-depth review of 18 of the most credible and up to date studies around the world on whether wind turbines affect people’s health.

Lynn and Arra’s report considered various types of studies from around the world related to noise exposure from the turbines and from infrasound exposure. They ranged from cohort and randomized studies, cases studies and series and even anecdotes and opinions. They came from medical, environmental and acoustic publications, all peer reviewed.

In February of 2013 they presented their findings to the board of health, concluding that there is “reasonable evidence that an association exists between wind turbines and distress in humans.”

Late last year it was announced the study was being peer reviewed for publication in medical journals. Cureus is a peer-reviewed journal based in San Francisco with an international editorial board.

Lynn said the review was originally submitted to the Canadian Medical Journal and others, but many of them want original research, so the process has taken a little longer than hoped.

“It took a little longer to find one that wants to do this kind of literature review,” said Lynn, who expects the review to now be quoted in a number of other journals.

In their review, the authors stressed that associating wind turbines to distress is not the same as hard evidence of cause and effect.

Read the full story here