Noise pollution and wind turbines

The noise from wind turbines is generally less than that generated by other everyday countryside activities. Turbines make two types of noise which are distinguished as follows: Aerodynamic noise from the blades: this has been likened to the swishing sound caused by branches of trees during a brisk wind. Mechanical or tonal noise from the rotating machinery: this can be minimised using well-proven engineering practices. Careful design, siting, and operation should ensure that wind turbine noise is not a significant problem. If you’re installing a wind turbine, it’s possible you’ll need a noise impact assessment.

Why wind power

The UK has the largest wind energy resource of any country in Europe. The windiest areas are generally situated on the coast: the West Coast, in particular, experiences high wind speeds resulting from the strong winds coming over the Atlantic. Hills and mountaintops are also windy locations, as wind moves faster when forced over an obstacle. Wind speeds increase as height above ground-level increases: the wind speed at a height of 50m is over 75% faster than the wind speed at ground level. Wind turbines are therefore often mounted on tall towers. Wind speeds for a site are generally given as the annual mean wind speed. A site with a good wind resource will have an annual wind speed of 7m/s at 25m above ground level. The map shows UK annual wind speeds at 25m above ground level.

Wind power for on-site electricity generation

The installation of a wind turbine provides an opportunity for any organisation with a relatively high electricity demand and a good wind resource to reduce their electricity costs. Businesses may also consider using electricity from an on-site wind turbine in order to create, or affirm, a 'green image'.

 

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