Wind turbines represent a source of clean and renewable energy and we see more and more wind farms popping up around the globe. While the public typically greets them with enthusiasm and excitement, some communities complain that they make too much noise. Well how noisy are they?
Wind turbines are typically placed no closer than 300 meters (984 feet) to residential homes. According to GE Global Research the blades of the turbine would have a sound pressure level of 43 decibels. To put that in comparative context the average air conditioner can reach noise levels of 50 decibels while a home refrigerator runs at around 40 decibels. It is common for background noise to range from 40 to 45 decibels, so after reaching a distance of close to 400 meters (1312 feet), the noise from a wind turbine would be lost in it. For the stillest most open and rural areas, background noise drops to 30 decibels, and it would take a distance of around 1 mile for a turbine blade to no longer be heard.
Check out the GE graphic below which showcases the noise levels for common items and how they compare with those of wind turbines.