Waterloo Wind Farm study released
The EPA has released the Waterloo Wind Farm Environmental Noise Study.
This is a highly important noise and meteorological monitoring study undertaken by the Air and Noise Branch from April–June 2013 which has attracted extensive interest around the world.
EPA CE Prof. Campbell Gemmell, Operations Director Science, Assessment and Planning Peter Dolan, Chief of Staff Ros Agate and Manager Air and Noise Kelvyn Steer, travelled to Waterloo on 26 November, to brief residents who participated in the monitoring on the key findings of the study. Later that day, they met with the local community at a meeting held in Clare to present the findings. Once the community was informed, the report was made available for the public.
Based on the findings, the EPA concluded that there was no evidence linking the noise from the Waterloo Wind Farm to adverse impacts on residents. As part of the study, the EPA considered relevant South Australian and international standards, and all were met.
The NSW EPA conducted a technical peer review of the methodology, data analysis and reporting, and found the study to fundamentally be of a high technical standard.
Wind farms are not a licensed activity by the EPA; however the General Environmental Duty under the Environment Protection Act 1993 applies. The EPA’s main role is to provide advice into development applications and review noise impact assessment undertaken at pre- and post-construction phases.
The EPA has also made it clear that the study does not provide absolute evidence that all wind farms perform in the same manner—topography, layout and weather conditions can all influence perceived outcomes and effects.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is currently reviewing the impacts of wind farms on people’s health. Although the EPA does not consider there is a need to change its current wind farm guidelines, depending on the results of the NHMRC review, we would consider again if any justification exists to change the Wind Farms Environmental Noise Guidelines (2009).
The EPA would like to acknowledge the participation of residents of the Waterloo community, whose noise diaries were essential in focusing acoustic analyses on events and descriptions, and also acknowledge the cooperation of Energy Australia during the study.