Acoustic emissions and perceived noise of the turbines is a widespread barrier to wind energy development.

Although the sound emitted can be easily measured, the sound that will be perceived at a given distance from a wind power site will vary considerably, depending on the wind farm design, the types of turbines, topography and meteorological conditions. Moreover, different individuals may have differing levels of sensitivity to the same noise levels.

On 10 October 2018 the World Health Organization (WHO) released new WHO Environmental Noise Guidelines for the European Region. The paper identifies the levels at which noise has significant health impacts and recommends actions to reduce exposure. The recommended noise limit for wind turbines is 45 dB(A) - or decibels in common language - during daytime; to get an idea of this level of noise take in account that soft radio music has 50 dB(A).

Noise problems can be dealt with by accurately defining the distance from the residential areas, see setback distances. Setback distances are, in some cases, identified as a function of acceptable noise level.

The WinWind project found that regulations for mitigating the impact of noise may vary greatly, and may have different levels of binding force: from recommendations and guidelines to mandatory regulations

Find out more

The WinWind project analysed the main health concerns related to noise. Here below further readings:

On Concept and health concerns
Technical and socio-economic conditions pages 32-33

On Noise regulations in the six partner countries
Screening of Technical and Non-Technical regulations, guidelines and recommendations pages 7-11