Wind farms environmental noise guidelines
The Wind farm guidelines aim to help developers, planning and enforcement authorities, government agencies, acoustic engineers and the broader community assess environmental noise impacts from wind farms.
The core objective of the guidelines is to balance the advantages of developing wind energy projects in South Australia with protecting the amenity of the surrounding community from adverse noise impacts.
Wind farms environmental noise guidelines consultation
In 2018–19 the EPA carried out a technical review on the Wind farms environmental noise guidelines, to ensure that the guidelines are still appropriate. Prior to this, the guidelines were last reviewed in 2013.
The 2018–19 technical review considered national and international research and revised international standards on noise measurement techniques. It reviewed the current noise criteria and information on wind farm noise characteristics such as low frequency, infrasound, tonality and amplitude modulation. The review also considered the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) in their Environmental noise guidelines for the European Region (October 2018) and made comparisons with other Australian and international jurisdictions.
As part of the review, the EPA sought feedback on the consultation draft guidelines from the community, local government, other development authorities, state agencies, acoustic engineers, wind farm development proponents, interstate regulators and other stakeholders.
The EPA has developed a summary of responses to submissions to summarise how it has responded to the issues raised by stakeholders. A stakeholder comments document has also been provided to assist stakeholders with giving further comment. This secondary feedback form, or any other feedback, should be emailed by 29 January 2021.
A revised version of the guidelines will be released incorporating the outcomes of the review.
Development process and ongoing regulations
Wind farm developments are referred to the EPA by the SA Planning Authority for advice. The EPA provides advice on wind farm compliance based on its Wind farms environmental noise guidelines and will also set conditions to be included if the wind farm is approved.
The EPA does not currently regulate wind farms after the development process is completed. As a condition of development, the EPA recommends post-construction noise monitoring to be undertaken by the proponents.
This post-construction noise monitoring report is assessed by the EPA to confirm that the operational noise of the subject wind farm meets the requirements as recommended by the guidelines. Further issues with wind farms are then handled under the Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016.
Waterloo Wind Farm environmental noise study
A 2-month environmental noise study was undertaken surrounding Waterloo Wind Farm in 2013 to investigate concerns of the community regarding noise from the wind farm.
The wind farm is located in the Mid North, approximately 100 km north of Adelaide. The wind farm comprised Vestas v90 3MW wind turbine generators at the time of the study. Each turbine had a hub height of 80 m and a rated generation capacity of 111MW.