Wind farm noise revised acoustics Standard published

Standards New Zealand has published Acoustics – Wind farm noise NZS 6808:2010. The revised and improved Standard recommends limits on wind farm noise.

NZS 6808:2010 provides tools to assess, measure, and limit noise from wind turbines. The revised Standard is expected to form the basis of noise-related conditions for all newly consented wind farms in New Zealand.

Local authorities (district and city councils), wind farm developers, and acoustics consultants who monitor compliance with resource consent conditions will use NZS 6808:2010.

New Zealand Wind Energy Association (NZWEA) and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) jointly sponsored the revision.

Wide industry representation and public comment

NZS 6808:2010 was developed through a well-established, robust Standards development process. The development committee included experts in acoustics, planning, resource management, environmental health, wind farm developers, and individuals who represented local authority and community interests.

The draft of NZS 6808:2010 (DZ 6808) was released for public comment from February to April 2009 and over 600 comments were received. The committee reviewed each comment and changes were made to the draft before the committee reached consensus on the final published version of the Standard.

Reflecting 10 years of wind farm development

The revised Standard reflects 10 years of wind farm development in New Zealand since the release of the original Standard in 1998. NZS 6808:2010 revises and replaces the 1998 version.

NZS 6808:2010:

  • explicitly addresses issues such as the cumulative effects from multiple wind farms or wind farms developed in stages, forewarning prospective residents of an area already affected or permitted to be affected by wind farm sound (reverse sensitivity), and wind farm specific audible characteristics (amplitude modulation)
  • includes model consent conditions designed to ensure correct implementation of the Standard. When included in a consent or designation these conditions will provide local authorities with practical measures for monitoring and enforcing compliance
  • retains the recommended noise limits from the 1998 version to provide protection against sleep disturbance and noise at locations surrounding a wind farm
  • includes a new, more stringent noise limit that can be used if justified by special local circumstances
  • aligns with NZS 6801:2008 Acoustics – Measurement of environmental sound and NZS 6802:2008 Acoustics – Environmental noise. This includes adopting the 'L90' parameter in place of 'L95' as a measure of noise levels. 'L90' is a measurement of the noise level exceeded for 90 percent of the time
  • replaces the simple prediction method by methods using octave-band calculations and accounting for a wider range of factors influencing sound propagation.

NZS 6808:2010 is consistent with the requirements of the Resource Management Act 1991. The recommended noise limits are consistent with World Health Organization guidelines, limits from other sources of noise, and international practice.

Applying the noise limits to wind farms

NZS 6808:2010 balances sustainable management of natural wind resources with the protection of the community. Applying the noise limits recommended in NZS 6808:2010 to wind farm developments will avoid significant adverse noise effects from the wind farm, although the wind farm may be audible at times.

The tools in NZS 6808:2010 may be applied:

  • during the planning and development of a wind farm
  • to confirm compliance with noise restrictions in resource consent conditions and district plan rules
  • to investigate and assess noise complaints from operating wind farms.

Where to get more information

The Standard

Buy NZS 6808:2010 Acoustics – Wind farm noise

Seminars

The Resource Management Law Association and the New Zealand Wind Energy Association are running seminars for users of the Standard in several locations throughout New Zealand. The seminars will provide a brief overview of wind energy in New Zealand, the key recommendations in NZS6808:2010, and how the Standard is to be applied.

Visit the New Zealand Wind Energy Association website for more information or to register your interest in the seminars. (www.windenergy.org.nz/events/noise-standard-seminars)

Factsheet

View the NZS 6808:2010 factsheet [61 kB PDF]. (www.windenergy.org.nz/documents/factsheets/nzs6808.pdf)

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