Windmill Noise Annoyance, Visual Aesthetics, and Attitudes towards Renewable Energy Sources
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2016, 13 (8), 1-19. 10.3390/ijerph13080746
A small focused socio-acoustic after-study of annoyance from a windmill park was undertaken after local health officials demanded a health impact study to look into neighborhood complaints. The windmill park consists of 31 turbines and is located in the South of Norway where it affects 179 dwellings. Simple exposure-effect relationships indicate stronger reactions to windmills and wind turbine noise than shown internationally, with the caveat that the sample size is small (n = 90) and responses are colored by the existing local conflict. Pulsating swishing sounds and turbine engine hum are the main causes of noise annoyance. About 60 per cent of those who participated in the survey were of the opinion that windmills degrade the landscape aesthetically, and were far from convinced that land-based windmills are desirable as a renewable energy source (hydropower is an important alternative source of renewables in Norway). Attitudes play an important role in addition to visual aesthetics in determining the acceptance of windmills and the resulting noise annoyance. To compare results from different wind turbine noise studies it seems necessary to assess the impact of important modifying factors.