Is it beating or swishing?

Today’s Farmer Opinion
Jan. 5th, 2011

The good people at the MOE love to engage in titillating word-play for fun and amusement.

Last summer I had the audacity to actually write the Minister of Energy and the Minister of Environment and put it to them that the MOE was not properly dealing with the “cyclic noise” of wind turbines – you know, the swooshing, swishing, whumping sounds that many residents complain about, especially when it occurs at night and they cannot sleep. If you have a dripping tap, you fix it. But you can’t turn off the wind turbine; and no one else will, certainly not the man in a control room located somewhere in California.

Now there are regulations for just this sort of thing. In Ontario it is Reg. NPC-104 which states that any industrial machine that produces a “cyclic” noise, one that repeats over and over as long as the machine operates, for example, a punch press in a metal stamping plant, is subject to a 5dB penalty to its noise limits.

A 5dB penalty would effectively double current setbacks from wind turbines to over 1,000 metres. It is an important issue.

Well, the wind industry kvetched, whined and moaned that there was no way they could survive with such a penalty, so the MOE, like the gimp show it is, wrote a directive that exempted the industry.

Voila, a free pass to avoid a rap on the knuckles! No other industry gets that exemption, only the wind industry. Usually the MOE won’t even respond if the subject is brought up, but this time they did admit what they’ve been thinking about!

The letter from the Director of Approvals, dated Dec. 1, 2010, states that the reason for the exemption is – oh, how to put this — it’s because wind turbines don’t beat, they swish and as such, “…the adjustment (5dB) was not designed to apply to sounds exhibiting the temporal characteristics such as the “swish” of wind turbines.”

The Director admonishes me as to the true nature of beating. You can see this was written with a very wide smirk on the face – the MOE must love swishing and beating – the way the words rolls off the tongue – how delicious.

For the record, noise regulation NPC-104 states, “If a sound has an audible cyclic variation in sound level such as beating or other amplitude modulation…” note that swishing is, “other amplitude modulation” – pretty easy to read and understand – but not for the wind industry and its guardian, the MOE.

So, all you poor deluded people who live in a wind project or the rest of us who soon will live with the noisy beasts – everywhere; be comforted to know that wind turbines are not BEATERS, they are SWISHERS!

Harvey Wrightman


Posted on January 7, 2011, in Health, Ministry of Environment, Noise, Today's Farmer. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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