Wind Turbine Noise Explained
In this Borrum Energy Solutions blog post I will break down the noise levels of our microgeneration wind turbine, the Anorra, and compare it to some typical noises that people come across in their lives.
One of the most hotly debated topics in the wind power industry is turbine noise. Those against wind power cite it as being a major concern that irritates anyone near a turbine, and those for wind power realize that the benefits of clean, renewable energy outweighs the small amount of noise. The Anorra has been carefully designed to minimize this noise for your peace of mind.
Sources of Noise
A wind turbine produces noise from two main sources: the blades and the drivetrain.
Blade noise comes from the action of the blade slicing through the air and comes across as a faint whooshing sound. This is the noise people often complain about if they live next to an industrial wind farm, but with a microgeneration turbine like the Anorra, this noise is nearly non-existent.
The other source of noise is the drivetrain and is created by friction within the gearset of the turbine and can be heard as a faint mechanical whirring. Think about the faint noise of an electric car driving past you on a city street. It is pretty quiet, right?
So now that you know why turbines make noise, let us take a closer look at how a microgeneration wind turbine, the Anorra, compares to day-to-day noises in our environment. The following noise levels are from the Anorra turbine mounted to a 66-foot-tall tower and measured on the ground at 66ft from the base of the tower, then at 100 feet and 200 feet.
Supplementary data sourced from: https://www.lord.com/blog/industrial/the-quieter-future-of-wind-power
At typical wind speeds, the Anorra is a little bit louder than a running refrigerator and quieter than a dishwasher. The noise levels drop off dramatically as one moves further away and become imperceptible to the human ear after 200 feet. Even before that point, if the turbine is installed in a natural setting, the ambient noise produced by nature and wildlife is often enough to drown out any noise it produces.
And remember, these noise levels are all from an outdoor perspective, so if you are warming up inside on a blustery winter’s day, you will not be able to tell that there is a wind turbine outside generating electricity for you.
Thank you for reading! Remember to check back weekly for more posts on wind power, sustainable living and the energy industry. If you are curious about other arguments for or against wind power, check out our article on the pros and cons. Also, check out our resources page for a handy infographic summarizing this post.