5 February 2013 — The level of infrasound from wind turbines is insignificant, a South Australian Environment Protection Authority report has found.

The EPA’s report found that the noise was no different to any other source of noise. The worst contributors to household infrasound were airconditioners, traffic and noise generated by people, it found.

Infrasound is sound that is lower than 20 cycles per second (Hertz), and cannot be detected by normal human hearing.

For the report, infrasound levels were measured over a week inside 11 buildings, including each of the following environments:

Urban areas:

  • offices in the Adelaide CBD and on major roads
  • residences in suburban areas
  • residences near transport routes

Rural areas:

  • residences near wind farms
  • residences away from wind farms

The study concluded that the level of infrasound at houses near the wind turbines assessed is no greater than that experienced in other urban and rural environments, and “is also significantly below the human perception threshold”.

“It is clear from the results that the infrasound levels measured at the two residential locations near wind farms, near the Bluff Wind Farm and near Clements Gap Wind Farm, are within the range of infrasound levels measured at comparable locations away from wind farms,” the report found.

“Of particular note, the results at one of the houses near (Bluff Wind Farm) are the lowest infrasound levels measured at any of the 11 locations included in this study.”

Clean Energy Council policy director Russell Marsh said the report provided hard evidence that wind turbines did not cause increased levels of infrasound in surrounding areas, either inside or outside.

“The study included houses in rural and urban areas, houses both adjacent to a wind farm and away from turbines, and measured the levels of infrasound with the wind farms operating and also switched off,” he said.

“There were no noticeable differences in the levels of infrasound under all these different conditions. In fact, the lowest levels of infrasound were recorded at one of the houses closest to a wind farm, whereas the highest levels were found in an urban office building.”

The report comes on top of the findings of a South Australian Senate committee on wind farms and excessive noise, which said in a report in November last year that “there is no evidence to suggest that inaudible infrasound (either from wind turbines or other sources) is creating health problems”.

Mr Marsh said the report was “yet another clean bill of health for wind farms, which have been proven time and time again to cause no negative health impacts from noise”.

The report on infrasound levels in South Australia is available to download at  here.