An interesting paper has appeared on ScienceDirect, discussing the results of psychological testing and sound measurements conducted at households near 10 small wind turbines in the United Kingdom.
According to the abstract of “The influence of negative oriented personality traits on the effects of wind turbine noise,” the goal of the research was to “[assess] the effect of negative orientated personality (NOP) traits (Neuroticism, Negative Affectivity and Frustration Intolerance) on the relationship between both actual and perceived noise on NSS [non-specific medical symptoms, such as those often reported by individuals concerned about the effect of various technologies–radiation, radio waves, etc.].”
Continues the abstract, “All households near ten small and micro wind turbines in two U.K. cities completed measures of perceived turbine noise, Neuroticism, Negative Affectivity, Frustration Intolerance, attitude to wind turbines, and NSS (response N = 138). Actual turbine noise level for each household was also calculated. There was no evidence for the effect of calculated actual noise on NSS. The relationship between perceived noise and NSS was only found for individuals high in NOP traits … ” [emphasis added]
Although the study deals with small turbines rather than utility-scale machines, its results appear to be consistent with the findings of a number of medical literature reviews conducted by experts and governments around the world that have found no scientific basis for a physical cause of ailments reported by some residents living near large turbines. Instead, those studies have acknowledged that individuals may be annoyed by turbines and that annoyance can cause a variety of symptoms.
“The influence of negative oriented personality traits on the effects of wind turbine noise” is authored by Jennifer Taylor and Carol Eastwick of the Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering of the University of Nottingham; Robin Wilson, of the Department of Architecture and the Built Environment of the University of Nottingham; and Claire Lawrence, of the School of Psychology of the University of Nottingham.
Tom Gray, http://www.awea.org/blog