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Seismic Effects on Residents from Wind Turbines

Dr Huub Bakker, Dr David Bennett, Mr Bruce Rapley & Dr Bob Thorne


This Paper presents a summary of a Paper by the same name presented at the Third International Meeting on Wind Turbine Noise, Aalborg, Denmark[108]. Specific detail relating to the experimental data is not included. Further analytical data and a concept for Heightened Noise Zones is presented.


The Tararua Ranges in New Zealand provides some of the best wind farm sites in the world with generation factors of over 40%. Several wind farms have recently been constructed and several more are in the planning stages. One of these will be located within ten kilometres of the centre of the city of Palmerston North (pop 75,000).

While much has been published on the acoustic emanations from wind farms[89,3,90] little work has been carried out on vibration. This paper studies the case of residents on the river plain at the foot of the Tararua Ranges who have experienced noise problems from a wind farm with the closest V90 turbine 2.8 km to the south-east. One of the observations made by the residents was that the noise could be heard "through the pillow," suggesting involvement of seismic, as well as acoustic, effects.

This study was undertaken to investigate two issues:


The home in question lies at the edge of a river plain at the base of the Tararua Ranges on a spur. Two wind farms lie to the East through to the Southeast at the top of the ranges. The older wind farm consists of 48 Vestas V47’s, commissioned in 1999, and 55 Vestas V47’s that were commissioned in May 2004. The newer wind farm comprises 31 Vestas V90’s with commissioning beginning in 2007 and is still ongoing. The closest Vestas V90’s are approximately 2.8 km Southeast of the home...

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