Adelaide: The Windy Research City

The University of Adelaide will next year begin a three-year project into the effects of wind turbines on local residents’ health and well being.

Public debate has long questioned whether wind farms are in fact causing health conditions for residents living near turbines, and an acoustic research study will find the answers.

Professor Con Doolan, chief investigator of the project, aims to not only see what effects are being caused, but also look into ways of reducing them.

“There has been a lot of attention paid to wind-farm noise recently but many questions still remain, particularly in low-frequency ranges,” said Prof Doolan.

“We’ll be recreating the wind-farm environment in the laboratory, with different noise sources, and then use advanced measuring techniques.”

Researchers from the School of Mechanical Engineering Flow and Noise Group at the University of Adelaide will build a wind turbine in the Thebarton wind tunnel to conduct the experiment.

“We need research to see how the turbines noise-generation mechanisms and low-frequency sound ranges combine together,” said Prof Doolan.

“If we can understand what’s creating these sounds, then we can advise governments about wind-farm regulation and policy and make recommendations about the design of wind farms or the turbine blades to industry.”

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Funding for the research was provided by the Australian Research Council Discovery Project at a cost of $440,000.

The research will undoubtedly affect the South Australian government’s recent State Wide Wind Farms Development Plan Amendment.

The amendment, which encourages wind-farm development also allows for the construction of turbines within a one kilometer range of rural areas.

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