Commentary

Willem Post: Wind turbine noise adversely impacts people and animals

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Willem Post, a retired engineer, who now writes about energy issues, currently specializing in energy efficiency of buildings and building systems. He is a founding member of the Coalition for Energy Solutions.

Europe and the U.S. have been building onshore wind turbine plants in rural areas for more than 25 years. Anyone living within about 1 mile of such plants would hear the noises year-round, year after year. Those nearby people would be experiencing:

• Decreasing property values.
• Damage to their health, due to lack of sleep and peace of mind.
• Living with closed windows and doors, due to year-round noises.
• Exposure to infrasound.

World Health Organization Noise Guidelines: WHO, publishes detailed guidelines regarding various, everyday noises, such as near highways and airports, within urban communities and in workplaces. The guidelines serve as input to local noise codes.

In general, wind turbines are located in rural areas. When they had low rated outputs, say about 500 kW in the 1960s and 1970s, they made little audible noise, and the infrasound was weak. However, when rated outputs increased to 1000 kW or greater, the audible noises and infrasound became excessive and complaints were made by nearby people all over the world.

WHO, which has not published any detailed guidelines regarding wind turbine noises, will be releasing environmental noise guidelines for the European region in the near future.

Measuring Wind Turbine Sounds: Everyday noises in the audible range are weighted using a curve that approximates the response of the human ear. See figures 1 and 2 here. If the A-curve is applied to sound measurement dB readings, they are designated as dBA.

The dB levels of frequencies below about 200 cycles per second, i.e., 200 Hz, are artificially lowered, due to the A-curve application. That includes infrasound frequencies of 20 Hz, or less. See figure 3 here.

The site background noise is affected by wind speed. At near zero wind speed, as often occurs in rural areas at night, the noise is about 10 to 15 dBA. See figure 4 here.

Outdoor-to-indoor attenuation of infrasound below 4 Hz is near zero for a wood-frame house 1,300 meters (4,265 feet) from a wind turbine. See figure 8 and 9 here. Whereas a resident would not hear such noises, they would create significant physical discomfort, such as nausea, headaches, dizziness, etc., if the noises were strong, i.e., have high dB values.

Figure 11 shows a similar lack of outdoor-to-indoor attenuation of infrasound for a house 8,000 meters from a wind turbine. The conclusion is infrasound below 4 Hz travels long distances and is very little attenuated by a wood-frame house.

Are Wind Farms Too Close to Communities?

Infrasound: Sounds with frequencies of 20 Hz, or less, are defined as infrasound. Those sounds are not heard, but felt. A rotor blade passing the mast of a wind turbine creates a burst of audible and inaudible sound of various frequencies. The base frequency is about one cycle per second, similar to a person’s heartbeat, and the harmonics, at 2, 4 and 8 Hz, are similar to the natural frequencies of other human organs, i.e., ears, eyes, liver, kidneys, etc., which start vibrating.

The natural frequencies of wood-frame house walls are less than 20 Hz. The infrasound induces them to start vibrating, which creates standing, inaudible air pressure waves inside the rooms of a house. As a result, nearby people find life inside their houses unbearable. Often they abandon their houses, or sell at very low prices.

Infrasound interferes with the body’s natural biorhythms, and causes adverse health impacts on nearby people and animals, including DNA damage to nearby pregnant women and animals, their fetuses, and newborn offspring. See here, here, here, here, here and here.

Infrasound travels long distances. A buffer zone of about 1 mile is required to reduce adverse impacts on people. However, roaming animals would continue to be exposed.

Acoustics consultants usually deal with OSHA-type measurements of everyday noises. Most of them have almost no experience measuring infrasound, which requires special instrumentation and test set-ups. As a result, acoustics consultants take the easy way out by claiming infrasound does not exist. That measurements of low frequency noise are made to look less on an A-weighted basis helps their argument.

If acoustics consultants admit infrasound does exist, they provide a list of studies proving it does no harm. To which opponents reply with a list of studies that state it does harm to nearby people.

Some governments have used infrasound for torture or crowd control. It leaves no marks.

Comparison of Wind Turbine Codes: Worldwide guidelines regarding wind turbine noises are needed to protect nearby rural people, such as regarding:

• The maximum outdoor dBA value, how that value is arrived at, such as by averaging over one hour, where that value is measured, such as near a residence, or at the resident property line to enable that resident to continue to enjoy his entire property.
• How to measure, or calculate the outdoor-to-indoor sound attenuation of a residence.
• How much setback is needed, such as 1 mile to minimize infrasound impacts on nearby residents.
• The maximum dB value of infrasound, how that value is arrived at, where that value is measured.
• How to determine the need for a 5 dB annoyance penalty.

The lack of such guidelines has resulted in various political jurisdictions creating their own guidelines and codes. That process has been heavily influenced by well-financed, pro-wind interests, which aim to have the least possible regulation to maximize profits. Below are some highlights from the noise codes of various political entities:

1) DENMARK: Because Denmark was an early developer of wind turbine plants, its noise code is more detailed than of most political entities. It has a buffer zone of four times total height of a wind turbine, about 4 x 500 = 2,000 feet, about 0.61 kilometers (no exceptions), and it also has the following requirements regarding outdoor and indoor noise:

OUTDOOR

• For dwellings, summer cottages, etc.: 39 dBA (wind speeds of 8 m/s, 18 mph) and 37 dBA (wind speeds of 6 m/s, 13 mph)
• For dwellings in open country: 44 dBA (wind speeds of 8 m/s) and 42 dBA (wind speeds of 6 m/s)

The below regulations describe the methods and time periods over which sounds are to be measured:

• Page 4, paragraph 5.1.1 mentions averaging over various periods. Only the worst average readings of a period are to be considered for compliance.
• Page 4, paragraph 5.1.2 mentions a 5 dB annoyance penalty must be added to the worst average readings for a period for clearly audible tonal and impulse sounds with frequencies greater than 160 Hz, which would apply to wind turbine sounds.
• Page 6, paragraph 5.4 mentions limits for indoor A-weighted low frequency noise 10 – 160 Hz, and G-weighted infrasound 5 – 20 Hz.

“If the perceived noise contains either clearly audible tones, or clearly audible impulses, a 5 dB annoyance penalty shall be added to the measured equivalent sound pressure level.” That means, if a measured outdoor reading is 40 dBA (open country, wind speed 6 m/s), and annoyance is present, the reading is increased to 45 dBA, which would not be in compliance with the above-required 42 dBA limit.

In some cases, a proposed wind turbine plant would not be approved, because of the 5 dB annoyance penalties. The noise of wind turbines varies up and down. The annoyance conditions associated with wind turbines occur year-round. The annoyance conditions associated with other noise sources usually occur much less frequently.

NOTE: The 5 dB penalty does not apply to indoor and outdoor low frequency and infrasound noises, i.e., 160 Hz or less.

INDOOR

• For both categories (dwellings, summer cottages, etc.; open country), the mandatory limit for low frequency noise is 20 dBA (Vermont’s limit is 30 dBA), which applies to the calculated indoor noise level in the 1/3-octave bands 10 – 160 Hz, at both 6 and 8 m/s wind speed. The purpose of the regulation is to ensure neither the usual noise, nor the low frequency noise, will annoy nearby people when the wind turbines are in operation.

Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark: Q&A: Low Frequency Noise from Wind Turbines
Environmental Noise Regulation in Denmark, pages 3-4

Denmark’s Controversial Noise Attenuation Calculations: The controversy in Denmark is regarding the Danish EPA assuming high attenuation factors for calculating attenuation from 44 dBA (outdoor) to 20 dBA (indoor, windows closed) for frequencies above 63 Hz, which yield calculated indoor noise levels less than 20 dBA. The Danish EPA prefers assuming high factors, because they result in compliance, which is favorable for wind turbines

However, acoustics engineers have made indoor field measurements (supposedly “too difficult to measure,” according to the Danish EPA), which indicate many houses near wind turbine plants have lower than assumed attenuation factors, which results in indoor noise levels greater than 20 dBA, i.e., non-compliance, which is not favorable for wind turbines.

However, the final arbiters should not be government personnel using assumptions, but the nearby people. Increasingly, those people are venting their frustrations at public hearings and in public demonstrations.

Danish Noise Regulations
15th International Meeting on Low Frequency Noise and Vibration and its Control 
Assessment of lowfrequency noise from wind turbines in Maastricht
Low-frequency Noise From Large Wind Turbines

2) POLAND is considering a proposed law with a 2 km (1.24 mile) buffer zone between a wind turbine and any building. That means at least 65 percent of Poland would be off limits to wind turbines. Future wind turbine plants likely would be offshore.

3) BAVARIA, a state in Germany, just enacted a setback of 10 times turbine height, i.e., 10 x 500 feet = 5,000 feet, almost one mile. In Germany, the wind turbine nighttime noise limit is not to exceed 35 dBA.

This link shows what happens when it is sunny and windy in Germany. The excess energy is dumped onto connected grids at near-zero wholesale prices. This has been happening more and more hours of the year.

Bavarian Constitutional Court Clears 10H Minimum Distance Requirement for Wind Power Plants

4) LETCHER TOWNSHIP, South Dakota, voted for a 1-mile buffer zone
. Under the approved ordinance, no large wind turbine plant could be built within 5,280 feet of the nearest residence of a non-participating homeowner, or within 1,500 feet of the nearest neighbor’s property line.

5) NEW HAMPSHIRE’s wind turbine code requires the following:

• Sound: Wind turbine plants must meet a “not-to-exceed” standard of 45 dBA from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 40 dBA from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. The sound measurements are to be taken “on property that is used in whole or in part for permanent or temporary residential purposes.”

• Shadow Flicker: A shadow-flicker assessment must be completed for each residence, learning space, workplace, health care setting, public gathering place (outdoor and indoor), other occupied building and roadway, within a minimum of 1 mile of any turbine, based on shadow flicker modeling that assumes an impact distance of at least 1 mile from each of the turbines. Shadow flicker may not occur more than eight hours per year at any of these locations.

• Setbacks: The applicant must complete an assessment of the risks of ice throw, blade shear, tower collapse on any property, roadway, etc. A committee will determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether there is a concern with the setbacks and/or the appropriate distance that should be set.

6) MAINE’s wind turbine noise code requires the following:

In 2012, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection adopted noise control regulations that are specific to wind turbine plants.

Maine DEP Chapter 375.10(I) of Maine DEP regulations specifies sound level limits for wind turbine plants as 55 dBA from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (the “daytime limit”), and 42 dBA from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. (the “nighttime limit”) averaged over one hour, at protected locations.

Maine DEP nighttime limits apply as follows:

• Within 500 feet of a residence on a protected location or at the (project) property line, if closer to the dwelling. The resulting sound levels at a residence itself are usually lower than at 500 feet from the dwelling or at the property line where the 42 dBA “nighttime limit” applies.

• Beyond 500 feet, the daytime limit of 55 dBA applies 24 hours per day.

Maine DEP Chapter 375.10 noise rules establish sound level limits on an hourly basis although compliance for wind turbine plants is evaluated by averaging sound levels over 12 or more 10-minute measurement intervals with turbines operating at full-rated sound output. There are also special provisions and “penalties” that apply when the sound generated by a wind project result in tonal or short-duration, repetitive sounds. This standard is described in more detail in the remainder of this report. See here.

Maine DEP Chapter 375.10, Section I, requires a 5 dB annoyance penalty be added for certain occurrences of tonal and short duration repetitive (SDR) sounds when determining compliance with hourly sound level limits.

7) VERMONT has an ad hoc wind turbine code, i.e., applied on a project-by-project basis.

The code allows a maximum noise of 45 dBA (outdoor), averaged over one hour, as measured at a nearby residence. The averaging makes disappear random noise spikes of 60 – 70 dBA, which disturb the sleep of nearby people.

The code allows a maximum noise of 30 dBA (indoor, windows closed), averaged over one hour.

The code makes no distinction for daytime and nighttime, even though people may want to have open windows, especially during warm nights.

Vermont’s code has: 1) no required buffer zone; 2) no required infrasound limit; 3) no 5 dB annoyance penalty; 4) the indoor limit is 30 dB, whereas the Denmark limit is 20 dB.

In Vermont, residences cannot attenuate 45 dBA (outdoor) to 30 dBA (indoor, windows closed), according to acoustics tests. See .

NOTE: If Denmark’s residences cannot attenuate 44 dBA (outdoor) to 20 dBA (indoor, windows closed), and Vermont residences cannot attenuate 45 dBA to 30 dBA (a much easier requirement), then the options are: 1) have lesser capacity wind turbines; 2) locate them further away from residences, i.e., a greater buffer zone; 3) upgrade the attenuation of nearby residences; 4) buy out the owners.

The Need for a 5 dB Annoyance Penalty: Rural nighttime ambient noise is 20 – 40 dBA, and urban residential nighttime ambient noise is 58 – 62 dBA. In many rural areas, nighttime outdoor ambient noise averages about 20 dBA.

People who live in urban areas have no idea how quiet it is in rural areas. For example: the introduction of clusters of 3 MW wind turbines on 2,000-foot ridgelines in New England came as a total shock to nearby rural people. Being high up, the noise carries far, especially the infrasound.

The dB values to indicate noises are a proxy for sound pressure level (SPL). The ears of people are sensitive to sound pressure. The below table clearly indicates random noise spikes above 50 dB have high SPL values, which are highly disturbing to nearby people, especially at night. Any wind turbine noise guidelines and codes must be based on rural noise values.

A 45 dB noise has an SPL 5.6 times greater than a 30 dB noise; 17.8 times greater than a 20 dB noise.
A 63 dB random spike has an SPL 44.9 times greater than a 30 dB noise; 142 times greater than a 20 dB noise.

post-chart-12-27
* The commonly used reference sound pressure in air is 20 micro-pascal. It is considered the threshold of human hearing (roughly the sound of a mosquito flying 3 miles away).

General Comments: As almost all recently installed wind turbines are rated at 2 – 3 MW, and as almost all such units are in rural settings, government noise codes should use the rural nighttime ambient noise level as the basis for limiting wind turbine noises.

Ever-present, random spike noises, with higher dB values, say 60 – 70 dBA, can occur, during an hour, but the “averaging over one hour” makes these noises disappear; hence the reason for Denmark, Maine, etc., having a 5 dB annoyance penalty.

These peak noises are most annoying, they occur at random, and mostly at night. They adversely affect the health of nearby people. As a minimum, they deprive nearby people from getting a good night’s sleep to recover from the prior day, and to get ready for the next day. According to WHO, restful sleep is a basic requirement for good mental and physical health, as are food, water, air, etc.

Denmark holds infrasound is harmful to the health of nearby people and animals. Therefore, it has an infrasound requirement in its wind turbine code. Here is a chart and three articles prepared by Rand and Ambrose, two prominent acoustics engineers, which shows Vermont’s extremely high noise limit.

Chart
Wind Turbine Noise Complaint Predictions Made Easy
Wind Turbine Noise and Air Pressure Pulses
Europe Wind Energy Failures Bad Omen for Vermont

The Vermont code is much less strict than that of Denmark and New Hampshire, largely because of the political influence of renewable energy special interests. Five years ago, the Vermont Public Service Board could have copied major parts of the Danish code to create a Vermont code that actually protects nearby people.

 

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  • David Acker

    Wow! Thank you for this illustration showing the harmful effects on humans and animals. Vermont needs to wake up and recognize this information as valuable to protect its people and help those who have already been harmed. This is not the wind industry’s first rodeo.

  • Richard Heilman

    Mr (?Dr.) Post has done the Heavy lifting that the State should have been doing all along and these are just the adverse health issues related to noise. When these are fairly added to the adverse environmental consequences of industrial wind power, it becomes clear to all but the least educated and the cabal of manufacturers, investors and others making huge profits from industrial wind (mostly out of state or overseas interests) that this is a terrible addition to our energy portfolio. The only thing “Green” about onshore mega wind is the dollars that flow to the industry itself.

  • Bradleigh Stockwell

    Anything we can do to not be involved in overseas conflicts and be sanely/safely self sufficient is fine by me. That said, any new technology has a problem – the time it takes to work the kinks out. Wind and solar seem swell, but – after all this time – they are still in the beta stage. It’ll be great when someone says, “This isn’t cutting edge technology, anymore. It’s something practical which works.”

  • Kim Fried

    Wouldn’t you think our government in Vermont would take these facts and world experiences into account for Vermont citizen’s welfare? I guess we have nothing to learn, Vermont’s experts are the developers and special interest groups, pretty sad.

    • Julia Purdy

      Once again, the answer lies in the ballot box. The developers and special interests would not be here if our political leaders had not announced their intention of making Vermont the world’s poster child for independence from fossil fuels (although as this article proves, other places in the world are way ahead of Vermont on this).

  • The anti-renewable crowd pulls out all the stops showing the “science” behind why these projects are so bad, but where else are we going to get our energy from? We don’t live in a world of absolutes. The choice is not: wind turbines or no wind turbines. The choice is between: coal, natural gas, hydro, solar, wind, biomass and nuclear ( I may be forgetting some). Do Vermonters prefer oil spills and rising global temperatures over the minor noise of wind turbines?

    http://www.npr.org/2016/12/15/505577680/advanced-black-lung-cases-surge-in-appalachia

    What is worse: black lung or wind turbine noise? There is no universe in which getting our energy from fossil fuels is better than capturing natural resources like the sun and the wind.

    Are we really going to keep supporting an energy source that is ruining our planet because Vermonter’s are worried about protecting themselves against the possibility of a few less hours of sleep?

    • Gary Murdock

      Absolutely. We are all expendable in the face of what if’s, maybes, it might happens, hypothetical computer models, the millennial generation, Leonardo DiCaprio and Ted Danson.

      • Don Dalton

        The global warming theory is just that– a theory. So far the temperatures have been running on the low side of model projections and contrary to popular belief, there’s no way to separate out “normal” climate from “global warming climate,” i.e., there’s absolutely no way we can say that this or that weather event is caused by “global warming.” It seems, then, that the climate sensitivity to CO2 really is on the low end, not the alarmist high end. Proof in arctic ice melting? This has happened before in the not-too-distant past. Proof in dying reefs? Not so: reefs are dying because of overfishing and human wastes. Proof is rising oceans? Oceans have been rising for hundreds of years. Proof in ocean warming? Oceans have been warming for past 135 years as we come out of the Little Ice Age. Proof in severity of storms? There is nothing unusual about the frequency or intensity of storms, despite what the media says. That’s why many scientists object to the theory.

        • David Bell

          “The global warming theory is just that– a theory.”

          So is the theory of evolution.

          It always amazes me how people misuse this word. Take a look at the definition:

          http://www.dictionary.com/browse/scientific-theory

          And an explanation of the words common misuse:

          https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/just-a-theory-7-misused-science-words/

          ‘ there’s absolutely no way we can say that this or that weather event is caused by “global warming.”’

          This is pretty much identical to the tobacco industries claim that we can’t discern between lung cancer caused by smoking and lung cancer caused by something else.

          Hope that clears things up.

          • Don Dalton

            My full comment, contained in two pieces due to word limit, was not published. Part of that non-published comment contained a reference to a 2011 open letter to members of the House of Representatives and the Senate countering an earlier letter that urged another look at global warming, signed by 18 scientists, and to the effect that terrible things would happen from global warming. The response to this was signed by 36, not 18, scientists and argued that the evidence is simply not there for catastrophic CO2-caused global warming– it really is a “theory” that exists largely in computer models but hasn’t been verified. Here is that open letter: https://tinyurl.com/jarxy95. Here is another letter regarding arctic warming: https://tinyurl.com/zv6hkfs. Arctic warming is not unusual.

            Hope that clears things up.

          • David Bell

            “it really is a “theory” that exists largely in computer models but hasn’t been verified.”

            First, a scientific theory is “a coherent group of propositions formulated to explain a group of facts or phenomena in the natural world and repeatedly confirmed through experiment or observation ”

            http://www.dictionary.com/browse/scientific-theory

            Please stop misusing the word.

            Second, AGW has been verified by decades of peer reviewed research regarding natural phenomena.

            I am not sure what your list was trying to clear up. It includes a virtual whose who of professional science deniers, most notably Fed Singer, a man who has denied the link between smoking and cancer, CFC’s and ozone depletion and AGW. All at the behest of his corporate paymasters despite little to no credentials in or contributions to the relevant fields.

            If this is your idea of a credible scientist then it certainly clears up how you came to your views.

          • Don Dalton

            Excuse me, but there were 36 scientists who signed the letter to members of the US Congress disputing the reality of catastrophic global warming, and only one of them was named “Fred Singer.”

            The point is the “theory” has NOT been verified through observation– on the contrary. It isn’t happening.

          • David Bell

            Excuse me, but I did not say all 36 “scientists” (and I use the term loosely) were named Fred Singer. Richard Lindzen also claims smoking does not cause cancer, Roy Spencer claims intelligent design (creationism 2.0) is based on legitimate science; shall we consider these valid scientific views as well?

            The point is that finding 36 scientists (never mind their actual field, credentials or history of dishonesty) who believe something is a poor argument. I can produce a list of 36 scientists who believe smoking does not cause lung cancer, at least two of which will be on the list you provided, this does not make it a valid argument.

            If you had cancer and found 36 scientists who told you that a special diet combined with meditation can cure you, will you tell me they should be taken seriously when a team of the top 18 oncologists on the planet say the only way you will live past a year is chemo and surgery?

          • Don Dalton

            Richard Lindzen says smoking doesn’t cause lung cancer? Care to cite a reference for that?

          • David Bell

            “Richard Lindzen says smoking doesn’t cause lung cancer?”

            Yes. Or, more precisely he denies the mountains of evidence showing there is a link between smoking and lung cancer.

            “Care to cite a reference for that?”

            Please see the references below:

            http://www.newsweek.com/truth-about-global-warming-154937

            http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Richard_S._Lindzen

            http://www.abc.net.au/tv/changeyourmind/webextras/richardlindzen_transcript.pdf

          • John Greenberg

            “In a 2001 profile in Newsweek, journalist Fred Guterl wrote that Lindzen “clearly relishes the role of naysayer. He’ll even expound on how weakly lung cancer is linked to cigarette smoking.”[13] James Hansen recalls meeting Lindzen whilst testifying before the Vice President’s Climate Task Force: “I considered asking Lindzen if he still believed there was no connection between smoking and lung cancer. He had been a witness for tobacco companies decades earlier, questioning the reliability of statistical connections between smoking and health problems. But I decided that would be too confrontational. When I met him at a later conference, I did ask that question, and was surprised by his response: He began rattling off all the problems with the date relating smoking to helath problems, which was closely analagous to his views of climate data.” [14]” http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Richard_S._Lindzen#On_Tobacco and
            http://www.newsweek.com/truth-about-global-warming-154937

          • Don Dalton

            The problem is that we’ve been conditioned to see global warming everywhere because the models predicted it. We dismiss all evidence to the contrary by saying that all those scientists have been “paid off.” Right. We have 36 scientists in my link above that care so little about their children and grandchildren that instead of speaking the truth about catastrophic warming, they are “paid off” to tell lies. That doesn’t seem plausible. Not to mention the other published papers that say arctic warming isn’t out of the ordinary, according to the historical record and scientific investigations. Are these scientists paid off too? A vast conspiracy to pay off scientists? Going on for decades?

            I think the gig is up on catastrophic warming. The real evidence– not the computer-generated scenarios that make arbitrary assumptions about water vapor forcings– will triumph over this highly-flawed theory.

          • David Bell

            No, the problem is deniers have been conditioned to believe that bloggers with no credibility should be taken seriously when compared to the top researchers and scientific institutions on the planet.

            We dismiss evidence from sources that are not credible and point to irrefutable evidence that the only deniers are either paid shills or the hacks, cranks and frauds one finds in every profession.

            ‘We have 36 scientists in my link above that care so little about their children and grandchildren that instead of speaking the truth about catastrophic warming, they are “paid off” to tell lies. That doesn’t seem plausible.’

            You don’t find it plausible despite the fact that it has happened dozens of times over? The same is true of researchers who claimed tobacco does not cause cancer or CFC’s do not cause ozone depletion.

            If it doesn’t seem plausible to you, you need to do more research.

            And the only one alleging conspiracies here is you, as usual.

          • Don Dalton

            Has Singer really denied the link between smoking and lung cancer? I think Singer’s position is much more nuanced than that. His review concerns secondhand smoke and the analysis of the data and the conclusions drawn, and his point is that the conclusions of secondhand smoke as causative does not follow from the evidence– at least, according to strict scientific standards. http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2010/12/second_hand_smoke_lung_cancer.html

            That doesn’t mean that second-hand smoke doesn’t cause lung cancer, it just means that Singer, as well as others, don’t believe the evidence is there to draw that conclusion.

          • David Bell

            “Has Singer really denied the link between smoking and lung cancer?”

            Yes, irrefutably.

            Here is another link showing his long history of science denial regarding the dangers of tobacco.

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1446867/

            “his point is that the conclusions of secondhand smoke as causative does not follow from the evidence– at least, according to strict scientific standards. ”

            The grand irony of your comment is that you start off trying to cast doubt on the idea that Fred Singer denies the link between smoking and lung cancer, you then end your comment by trying to suggest that view is justified because you found an op-ed with him saying it is justified.

            “That doesn’t mean that second-hand smoke doesn’t cause lung cancer, it just means that Singer, as well as others, don’t believe the evidence is there to draw that conclusion.”

            Or, to put it more simply, Singer denies the link between smoking and lung cancer. Glad we are in agreement.

          • Jamie Carter

            In fairness the assertion was between smoking and lung cancer, and your quote addressed second hand smoke and lung cancer.

            I believe the Singer “denial” is in part due to a WHO study that found no statistical difference of lung related illnesses between those exposed to second hand smoke and those that are not. And in fact one study group actually showed less lung illness when exposed to second hand smoke. It’s only one piece of evidence, but in science that is also enough to require a second look at the reigning theory.

            You don’t have to agree with him or it, but if you are to follow the scientific method, you have to account for the data or reject the hypothesis.

          • David Bell

            Jamie,

            “I believe the Singer “denial” is in part due to a WHO study that found no statistical difference of lung related illnesses between those exposed to second hand smoke and those that are not. ”

            Citation?

            According to the WHO “second-hand smoke causes serious cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, including coronary heart disease and lung cancer. In infants, it causes sudden death. In pregnant women, it causes low birth weight. ”

            http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en/

            Are you claiming the WHO doesn’t follow the scientific method?

            Or that you understand the WHO’s research better than their researchers?

            For the record, many studies do show a link between second hand smoke and cancer, see example below:

            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44330/

            You really need to review how the scientific method works before lecturing others about it.

          • David Bell

            To elaborate on my point above, Singer claims a study was done by the WHO backing his views, but refuses to cite it or any other study he claims backs his views.

            He admits he has absolutely no relevant credentials in this area, but insists he knows more about it than the Surgeon General.

            He claims, based on no evidence, that researchers generally don’t publish if they find no positive result.

            He claims James Enstrom BMJ publication was the most comprehensive of its kind. Michael J. Thun, Vice President and head of epidemiology and surveillance research at the American Cancer Society points out it is actually severely flawed:

            http://www.scientificintegrityinstitute.org/ACSEPR051503.pdf

            In summary, Singer provides no links to back up his assertions, smears the work of others, then proceeds to insist his vague knowledge of statistics makes him a better than actual statisticians in judging the EPA’s research.

        • David Bell

          ‘there’s no way to separate out “normal” climate from “global warming climate,”’

          An addendum to my previous comment, if this is your new standard I assume you are no longer an anti-vaxxer?

          I mean, since no one has ever found even a single case of autism being linked to vaccines, and even if there was a single credible peer reviewed study claiming a link between vaccines and autism (and there is not), we would have no way of separating “vaccine autism” from “non-vaccine autism”.

    • edward letourneau

      You need to understand that wind and solar will never replace base load power plants. Its not technically possible. As to global temperatures, the same thinking happened 20,000 years ago and melted mile thick ice that covered two thirds of the northern hemisphere. There were no fossil fuels being burned, so tell us what caused that warming and how did the Earth survive?

      • Solar and wind can replace “base load” plants after the electrical energy storage problem is solved, so it’s not hard to imagine a technical solution is possible. Yes the earth has gone thru warming and cooling periods before there were people, does that prove that people cannot affect the earth ? Absolutely not. The earth as a rock in space survived through these major climatic changes however life was not easy for surviving species.

        • Tom Grout

          Solve the storage problem as if its tip is around the corner. Really?. How many times have you reached for the flashlight and its dim or dead? Multiple that over millions of uses and you have chaos not answers.

        • The storage problem has a known solution. Huge storage systems exist using pumped hydro. Existing world capacity is equivalent to dozens and dozens of nuclear plants. On the border between VT and MA, the Bear Swamp storage facility is still in use after its paired nuclear plant (Yankee Rowe) was decommissioned. It can provide 40% of Vermont’s electricity for 6 hours, and it is now recharged by the nearby 29 mW Hoosac Wind facility. It can store 128 hours of peak wind output. And battery storage is growing fast. So is underground compressed air. Another indirect storage is variable conventional hydro, in which you use more when renewables are low and less when they are high. Yes, we need a lot, but it can be done.

      • John Greenberg

        Edward Letourneau:

        “… wind and solar will never replace base load power plants. Its not technically possible.” Plenty of experts disagree with this conclusion.

        Please see (among many others):

        http://www.ceem.unsw.edu.au/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/MarkBaseloadFallacyANZSEE.pdf
        http://www.awea.org/Issues/Content.aspx?ItemNumber=5453
        http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2987376/dispelling_the_nuclear_baseload_myth_nothing_renewables_cant_do_better.html
        http://www.energyscience.org.au/BP16%20BaseLoad.pdf
        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S104061901500024X

        Note too that there are various renewable forms of 24/7 power: concentrated solar, biomass, & geothermal among others. Some of these are not practical in New England.

        It’s also important to note that we are a long way from major grid penetration by renewables here. We’re at <5% wind and solar; Iowa, for example, is at 30%. If VT were 100% renewables and no one else built them, NE would be around 10%.

        • Glenn Thompson

          “… wind and solar will never replace base load power plants. Its not technically possible.” Plenty of experts disagree with this conclusion.”

          And there are plenty of experts who agree with that conclusion. Anyone who believes we can power the world with solar and wind and at the same time reduce carbon emissions is truly living in a fantasy world. How do you accomplish that in a short period of time? The simple answer is…..you can’t.

          This is the only way it’s going to happen!

          “To solve the climate problem, policy must be based on facts and not prejudice. Alongside renewables, Nuclear will make the difference between the world missing crucial climate targets or achieving them”

          https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/03/nuclear-power-paves-the-only-viable-path-forward-on-climate-change

          • John Greenberg

            Glenn Thompson:

            You’ve moved the ball from “not technically possible” to “accomplish[ing] that in a short period of time.” The difficult we do immediately; the impossible takes a little longer.

            Let’s define some variables.

            Assuming we confine the discussion to the US, we can and must reduce demand; we waste a lot of power. Second, we’re talking about producing power renewably, not just wind and photovoltaics, but also solar hot water (displaces use of fossil or electrical sources), hydro, and biomass as well as concentrated solar, offshore wind, and geothermal where feasible. Third, most of those talking about very high dependence on renewables, say 80% or more, are allotting 30-35 years to meet the goal. Nuclear plants take a minimum of 10 years to design and build.

            So I’ve refined the question to what % of future electricity demand can be supplied by renewable sources by 2050. Germany, e.g., now at 33%, aspires to 80% by 2050 with 95% less greenhouse emissions.

          • John Greenberg

            Glenn Thompson:

            Word limits preclude a detailed answer.

            Studies show that energy efficiency alone can reduce consumption by 20% WHILE SAVING MONEY. More can be achieved if we are willing to bear some cost. Revenue neutral carbon taxes could motivate consumers (including businesses) to waste less and entrepreneurs to find less energy intensive ways to satisfy the same wants.

            More than half of global energy investment is now in renewable energy: billions of dollars is producing far more than we do now, and prices are continuing to decline substantially. Solar at utility scale is already as cheap or cheaper than other sources in many regions, and likely to be everywhere with less than a decade.

            Utility executives were asked which sources they expected to add in the next 20 years. They said: wind & solar 72-9%, nuclear 16%, coal and oil 3%. http://www.utilitydive.com/news/what-utility-execs-think-the-future-holds/356710/

            Maybe they know what you don’t.

      • John Greenberg

        Glenn and Edward:

        Instead of defending high future goals, this discussion should deal with what is practical now.

        Plenty of places ihave high (20% or more) penetrations of one or another form of renewable energy: e.g., Norway (hydro), Quebec (hydro), Denmark, Germany, IA, TX, and CA. In New England, we’re at roughly 5% of electricity being supplied by wind AND solar combined. Clearly, vastly more renewable development IS already technically possible.

        Vermont is a very small piece of a much larger puzzle. If we waved a magic wand and VT supplied the equivalent of 100% of its power from wind and solar, the NE grid would only go up to 10% or so, well below limits already achieved elsewhere.

        Third, over a period of decades, many changes are likely, including new renewables (tidal, algae) and much cheaper batteries.

        We’re nowhere near the limits of the technically possible; this theoretical debate is a diversion from what we already know we can achieve. Avanti!

      • Base load power CAN be replaced by renewable power. The “base load power” argument is another anti-wind hoax.

  • If not for our politicians, wind power would work. The places where there are no houses are also the places where the wind blows harder and more often, ie offshore and the prairies. Well, that and 10 more years of improving the price/performance of storage.

  • This is loosely related. Scientific American
    Unfortunately for many whales, dolphins and other marine life, the use of underwater sonar (short for sound navigation and ranging) can lead to injury and even death.

    • Are you comparing the intense waterborne infrasound used for offshore oil-gas exploration and military sonar to the extremely weak airborne infrasound from a wind turbine? That’l like comparing cremation with wearing a sweater. Both involve heat.

  • Richard Mann

    News from Ontario, Canada. The problem is Wind and Solar are not reducing C02 and our government will not admit this costly failure. Ontario’s professional Engineers, those tasked with generation, transmission and billing, have reported the problem. our government continues to build more wind and solar.

    Reference: “Ontario’s Electricity Dilemma – Achieving Low Emissions at Reasonable Electricity Rates”. Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE). April 2015.
    (Archived at: http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.ospe.on.ca/resource/resmgr/DOC_advocacy/2015_Presentation_Elec_Dilem.pdf)

    • Richard, did you read this report that you posted? CO2 will rise as a result of shutting down their nuclear power plants. Not from using wind and solar. When they switch from nuclear to a mix of natural gas, wind, and solar will result in more CO2. No surprise. But it will not go up anywhere near as much as if they just switch from nuclear to natural gas. The report is very solid, but they do not consider the actual cost of permanent damage to the environment. They look at which source produces electricity at the lowest cost per kWh. And they show that wind and natural gas have equal cost today.

  • Richard Mann

    Here is a “time line” showing the history of Wind Turbine Noise problems, going back as far as 1979. Each entry provides documentation:
    http://cdn.knightlab.com/libs/timeline/latest/embed/index.html?source=0Ak2bgr7C0nhPdGR3S1lEekU3T3p4ZDhUNDdRV2Y2ZkE&font=Bevan-PotanoSans&maptype=toner&lang=en&height=650

    1979 “First complaints received from a dozen families within a 3km radius of turbine”.
    1981 “Wind turbine operation creates enormous sound pressure waves”
    1982 “Closed windows and doors do not protect occupants from LFN”
    1982 “NASA research on human impacts provided to wind industry”
    1985 “Hypothesis for infrasound-induced motion sickness”
    1987 “Wind industry told that dB(A) unsuitable to measure LFN emissions from wind turbines”

    2004 “Wind industry knows noise models inadequate” (from Vestas)

    2011 “Vestas knew that low frequency noise from larger turbines needed greater setbacks”

    • I can also provide a very detailed list of UFO abductions, with citations for date, location, people abducted. Does that make them true? No, it does not.

  • If you do a double-blind study of infrasound with the frequency and amplitude produced by wind turbines, you would find no effect. The people being tested would not know whether or not there was any infrasound. You can’t hear it. You can feel it if it’s extremely powerful, but wind turbine infrasound is extremely weak, not detectable. People would not have any symptoms. The infrasound issue is a hoax. It is clever – Willem actually seems to know what he’s talking about, with all that scientific jargon. But it is just a clever hoax. Real scientists have studied infrasound and found no harmful effects from wind turbines. Fact. They continue to study it, as they should. But if you are concerned about infrasound, don’t live within 1000 feet of a road, and of course you should never ever drive in a car. That would subject you to thousands of times higher levels than a wind turbine. Imagine what THAT would do to your DNA! 🙂