Automated Wind Turbine Acoustic Sampler




Automated acoustic sampling equipment

Wind power is generally seen as an environmentally-friendly form of energy production but some environmental concerns have arisen as the technology has advanced and turbines have become bigger and more numerous. One of the biggest of these concerns is the impact of wind turbine sound emissions, especially on rural communities. There has been little research on this topic until recently due to residential noise complaints receiving widespread attention. At this stage of wind power development, it is of utmost importance to address these complaints and avoid future conflicts.

The purpose of this project is to review and synthesize the current information on the sound impact of wind turbines, and present it in a clear and straightforward manner. This information will include the current theory of wind turbine sound emission, its effects on the surroundings, and the application of relevant measurement and prediction methods. The motivation is that both developers and communities can make use of this document to make informed decisions in choosing appropriate locations for siting future wind power projects.

In addition, the Wind Energy Center has designed an automated acoustic sampler that measures sound in the vicinity of a wind turbine according to IEC protocols. The sampler is designed for unattended operation. A picture of the sound measurement equipment is shown above. It consists of a sound level meter with an outdoor setup, a data logger box, and a photovoltaic (PV) panel all mounted to a pole. The microphone is approximately 6 feet from the ground. Other equipment used (not displayed in the picture) is a 10-meter tower, and an anemometer, which were positioned next to the sound measurement equipment in the field. The anemometer is wired to the logger. The sound level meter was positioned inside the logger box. The PV panel, along with a battery, supplies the necessary power to the logger and sound level meter.