Massachusetts Revise Wind Turbine Tonal Noise Standards

Xi Engineering

Xi Engineering Consultants have been using their knowledge in wind turbine acoustics to assist clients in Massachusetts with revision to noise regulations regarding tonal noise for wind farms.

In the state of Massachusetts noise is a public health concern that falls within the scope of authority for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) as a form of regulated air pollution. Regulation 310 CMR 7.10 was the adopted policy for all noise sources with the exception of public events, emergency services and daytime domestic appliances.

Tonal noise emissions from wind turbines is often generated by vibrations from the rotating components in the drive train of the system. These tonal noise emissions can be picked up by the human ear relatively easily and are common perceived an irritating and annoying to the surrounding community.

Xi Engineering processed and analysed wind farm acoustic data from Massachusetts and rated the noise against a number of different standards. The conclusions from the work suggested that revision is required in the approach used by MassDEP for assessing the tonal noise impact from wind turbines. Since the completion of the project, MassDEP have been modernising their standards for wind turbine tonal noise measurement to bring it in line with the widely accepted procedures defined in ANSI S1.13 and IEC 61400-11.