Turbine sounds ‘not harmful’

A multidisciplinary panel has concluded that the sounds generated by wind turbines are not harmful to human health, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has announced.

Comprised of medical doctors, audiologists, and acoustical professionals from the US, Canada, Denmark and the UK, the panel undertook extensive review, analysis, and discussion of the large body of peer-reviewed literature, specifically with regard to sound produced by wind turbines.

The expert panel was established by the AWEA and the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) to review all current literature available on the issue of perceived health effects of wind turbines.

Dr Robert J McCunney, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), said: ‘The panel’s multidisciplinary approach helped to fully explore the many published scientific reports related to the potential impact of wind turbines on people’s health. There is no evidence that the sounds, nor the sub-audible vibrations, emitted by wind turbines have any direct adverse physiological effects on humans.’

Denise Bode, chief executive officer at the AWEA, added: ‘The objective of the panel was to provide an authoritative, scientific reference document for those making legislative and regulatory decisions about wind-turbine developments.’

For more than 30 years, people have been living near the 50,000-plus wind turbines operating in Europe and the more than 30,000 in North America.

An executive summary of the report can be accessed here (PDF, 81KB). The full report can be accessed here (PDF, 440KB).