Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wind farm's 40-decibel noise limit debated - Windsor Star

Wind farm's 40-decibel noise limit debated

By Sharon Hill, The Windsor Star March 25, 2011

Suncor Energy's Kent Breeze Wind Farm must meet a noise limit of 40 decibels -about the same level as that of normal conversation -at homes near its proposed wind turbines, Ministry of the Environment engineer John Kowalewski told a hearing this week in Chatham.

But the question in the muchwatched case is whether the decibel calculations are correct and how much noise is needed to cause health problems for residents living near turbines, said lawyer Eric Gillespie, who represents the residents fighting approval of the wind farm.

"A mosquito flying around in your tent when you're camping is lower than 40 decibels, but very annoying to many people," Gillespie said Wednesday. "It is the nature of the wind turbine sound like the mosquito or the dripping faucet or the backup beeper that causes many experts to believe wind turbines' noise should be treated differently."

The hearing before Ontario's Environmental Review Tribunal is the first challenge of a wind farm approved under the Green Energy Act.

Gillespie said the tribunal has already heard excessive noise has been linked to health issues, including sleep disturbance, headaches and nausea.

After three days of the hearing in Chatham next week, closing arguments are expected to be heard April 6 and 7 in Toronto.
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