Debate rages over turbine noise report

A NOISE report has re-ignited debate between energy giant AGL and residents living around the Macarthur wind farm about the level of sub-audible sound created by turbines. 

The company has released an independent noise report that it says disproves claims that its turbines are generating sound blamed by some residents for health impacts. 

Before and after data shows infrasound levels have not changed since the turbines were installed, according to researchers. 

But a number of residents living near the turbines say they suffer headaches and nausea caused by low frequency infrasound (sub-audible noise).

The 140-turbine facility is co-owned by the Australian company and Malaysian-based Malakoff Corporation Berhad. 

Resonate Acoustics has spent months logging noise levels from devices placed in homes located at 2.7 and 1.8 kilometres from turbines. 

Wind farm companies are trying to reverse bad publicity on noise and supposed health impacts, particularly in the lead-up to the federal election, which could decide if they continue to receive Commonwealth subsidies for renewable energy. 

Around 50 wind farm opponents picketed the entrance to the Macarthur wind farm at the official launch earlier this year. 

In a statement released yesterday, AGL’s power development general manager Scott Thomas said the report provided conclusive evidence. 

“This research demonstrates that there was no measurable change in the infrasound levels measured before and after construction of the Macarthur wind farm,” Mr Thomas said.

“AGL has undertaken the most extensive and rigorous research by a wind farm operator in Australia and also has gone above and beyond its regulatory requirements.” 

Mr Thomas said the data had been peer reviewed by internationally renowned low frequency acoustic expert Dr Geoff Leventhall.

Residents bitterly opposed to the wind farm are unconvinced by the report. 

Some have written to AGL on a regular basis listing health problems. 

Longstanding opponent Annie Gardner went as far as to accuse AGL of deception and said residents were undertaking their own sound testing. 

“We’ve got our own noise loggers around at the moment,” Ms Gardner said, but added she was unsure when the results would be available. 

“The infrasound emitted by the turbines is severe. A lot of residents are badly affected by the infrasound.” 

However she said those opposed to the turbines faced financial restrictions producing the data.  “We don’t have the millions of dollars that AGL has been given by the federal government,” she said. 

She said AGL had not tested on her property despite requests. 

“This will all come out eventually in the wash,” she said.