An independent investigation into the noise generated by Australia’s largest wind farm – the 420MW Macarthur Wind Farm in South West Victoria, jointly owned by AGL Energy and Malakoff Corporation Berhad – has found that infrasound levels at the site have not changed since the construction of the project’s 104 turbines.
The research – which was voluntarily commissioned by AGL and conducted by Resonate Acoustics – measured both infrasound and low frequency noise at residences located between 2.7-1.8 kilometres from the nearest turbine. It did this before any turbines were operating, when approximately 105 of 140 turbines were operating, and when all 140 turbines were operating.
The results, which have also been reviewed by internationally renowned low frequency acoustic expert Dr Geoff Leventhall, show no measurable change in the infrasound levels measured before and after construction of the project.
“AGL has undertaken the most extensive and rigorous research by a wind farm operator in Australia and also has gone above and beyond its regulatory requirements,” said AGL’s general manager of power development, Scott Thomas.
Thomas also acknowledged the cooperation of local residents during the “intrusive” internal noise monitoring process, which involved equipment being placed within household bedrooms facing the wind farm during each stage of monitoring.
The equipment stored G-weighted sound pressure levels and linear sound pressure levels to enable assessment of the infrasound and low frequency noise levels. The study compared the baseline or pre-operational data and the operational levels after construction over a combined measurement period of 90-plus days.
Measured infrasound and low frequency noise levels were also assessed against best practice international and Australian guidelines.
As well as infrasound monitoring, AGL undertook noise monitoring at 25 neighbouring properties between October 2012 and May 2013, since the first operation of a wind turbine at Macarthur Wind Farm, to ensure that the wind farm complied with noise regulations.