A Robust Solution For Wind Farm Noise

The New Zealand Wind Energy Association today welcomes the release of the new Acoustics – Wind farm noise Standard (NZS 6808:2010), saying it will ensure people who live near new wind farms are not exposed to unreasonable levels of sound.

“This new Standard, which replaces the 1998 version, provides communities, councils and developers with robust, up-to-date methods for the prediction, measurement and assessment of sound from wind turbines,” says Fraser Clark, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Wind Energy Association. “In addition, it recommends noise limits that ensure people will continue to enjoy their homes and other locations near wind farms.”

The methods and recommendations in the new Standard have been agreed upon by a Committee established by Standards New Zealand. The Committee included representatives of local authority and community interests, experts in acoustics, practitioners in planning, resource management and environmental health, and wind farm developers.

“Wind power are expected to be supplying up to 20 percent of New Zealand’s electricity within 20 years, bringing with it economic and environmental benefits for New Zealanders,” notes Mr Clark.

“It is important that this growth is managed in a way that does not create unreasonable effects on local communities.

“This new Standard will be key to managing the noise-related effects of newly consented wind farms. While they will be audible at times, the Standard will ensure their sound will not be unreasonable and that it will be at a level that is consistent with existing environmental sound.

“Noise-related consent conditions for wind farms have become increasingly complex over the past few years, but they are not necessarily providing a better outcome for communities and wind farm developers.

“The new Standard outlines practical and enforceable measures for managing sound from wind farms – and in doing so provides councils, communities and wind farm developers with a way forward through an emotive and contentious issue.

“Overall, it enables the appropriate development of wind farms while still protecting nearby residents’ health and the amenity of their properties – an approach that is consistent with how other sources of sound are managed,” concludes Mr Clark.

The development of NZS 6808:2010 was undertaken independently by Standards New Zealand, following the normal practices and procedures for the development of national Standards. It was co-funded by the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and NZWEA. The Standards New Zealand technical committee included representatives nominated by 11 organisations with various interests in the control of wind farm noise, including EECA and NZWEA. Each organisation had one vote on the committee.

The New Zealand Wind Energy Association (NZWEA) is an industry association that works towards the development of wind as a reliable, sustainable, clean and commercially viable energy source. We aim to fairly represent wind energy to the public, government and the energy sector. Our members include about 80 companies involved in New Zealand’s wind industry, including electricity generators, wind farm developers, lines companies, turbine manufacturers, consulting firms, researchers and law firms.