A New Survey shows that Neighbours of Wind Turbines only Experience Few Annoyances From Turbines in their Neighbourhood

A new Danish nationwide survey from ‘Viden Om Vind’ (Knowledge about Wind) shows that four out of five neighbours to wind turbines do not experience any drawbacks from being a neighbour. For the great majority, there were no drawbacks living close to wind turbines, but the survey also showed that noise can disturb some neighbours.

The survey is based on interviews with neighbours located within a radius of two kilometres (1.25 miles) from all new wind turbine projects in Denmark, provided the wind turbine was at least 120 meters (394 feet) tall, and had been in operation minimum a year. In all, interviews were completed with 1,278 neighbours living close to a total of 125 wind turbines spread across 30 projects, where the newest project was placed into service in July 2011. The survey showed that 4 % of neighbours feel that they are disturbed by wind turbine noise “to a major extent,” and another 5 % are “moderately” disturbed. The survey also showed that after one year of having a wind turbine as a neighbour, 23 % were more positive than they were before the installation. The survey has been conducted by the independent research company Jysk Analyse.

“It is good that this survey has been done, as we know how the neighbours of wind turbines perceive wind turbines on an everyday basis. We are pleased to see that more than 80 % of respondents were not at all disturbed by wind turbines, but we would like to see a higher figure. As with all other necessary infrastructure, wind turbines cause some noise, which is apparent in the survey. I am pleased that, with the new stricter noise regulations which took effect on January 1st, 2012, we have hopefully mitigated this inconvenience. A new survey could be made in the future, so as to measure the effectiveness of these new regulations.” said Jan Hylleberg, CEO of Vindmølleindustrien (The Danish Wind Industry Association).

“It is good to see that, over time, neighbours become accustomed to wind turbines placed in their local area. Where every fourth neighbour has a more positive outlook after a year, we can see that the negative stories, so often attributed to wind turbines, have been strongly over dramatized. At the same time, this survey gives us a clear picture of how the neighbourliness is perceived in reality. This research gives us concrete knowledge that helps to underline that the many negative reports emerging from both large and small media outlets are not, to put it mildly, representative of the actual experience,” said Asbjørn Bjerre, CEO of Danmarks Vindmølleforening (The Danish Wind Turbine Owner’s Association).

Noise disturbance accommodated
The survey also showed that, for by far the majority of neighbours, noise is the only actual inconvenience. For the Danish Wind Industry Association as for the Danish Wind Turbine Owner’s Association there is agreement that the current sensible wind turbine planning process focus on this challenge as only very few people live close to new wind turbines.

“On an annual basis, these 125 wind turbines deliver clean and reliable electricity to roughly 200,000 households. This is a very attractive result for future wind turbine planning in Denmark, given the fortunate consideration that relatively few people experience any inconveniences,” said Asbjørn Bjerre.

At both associations the expectation is that the new noise regulation that came into effect January 1st 2012 will reduce the nuisance from noise, as new wind turbines will have to comply with noise regulations which are stricter than those applying to wind turbines in this survey.

Source: Danish Wind Energy Association

For more information on: Danish Wind Energy Association