Niall McMahon

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New IEA Wind Task on Quiet Wind Turbine Technology


Approved proposal for a new IEA Task on Quiet Wind Turbine Technology.

This proposal was approved by the IEA Wind ExCo at ExCo 78 in Brussels on December 1st 2016. As of December 2016, the new task has several confirmed participants from leading organisations in Ireland, Denmark and Sweden, with many others in discussions to join. The aim is to start work in early 2017.

To get involved, first of all read:

And then please get in touch with me, your local IEA Wind delegate or the IEA Wind Secretariat directly. The more countries involved, the lower the cost to each and the more representative the resulting work.

We will follow up in early January with potential participants. The next step is to create a more detailed work plan for the first year and arrange a kick-off meeting to formally start the project.

Some Background

Wind energy capacity reached record levels last year; in Ireland, about 23% of our electricity was generated by wind over 2015. This is remarkable and places Ireland third in the world, ranked by the contribution of wind to the grid.

All new technologies disrupt and it can take time for society to fully adapt, especially when the deployment is rapid. Concerns about new technologies are common. The role of government is to address worries through regulation, i.e. laws. Good laws are always based on good analysis.

One particular concern that some people have is about how wind turbine sound might affect them and good, informed regulation is important. Worldwide, international standards exist for wind turbine sound measurement but there is no common international framework around how to assess and, as necessary, set limits on wind turbine sound. In many jurisdictions, limits are set by local governments that lack sufficient guidance.

A common framework is a need and this is what the IEA Wind task sets out to do.

The IEA Wind tasks are unique in that they are international, very democratic and tackle practical problems too broad for any one organisation address alone. The new task will be only the 38th or 39th research task for IEA Wind, which was founded in 1977, and the first task that Ireland has proposed.

The expected results will be an IEA Recommended Practice on wind turbine sound and noise, a guidance and reference for policy makers and manufacturers and an authoritative source of wind turbine sound and noise information.

The objectives of the proposed task are:

The aim is to improve our understanding of how sound from wind turbines and wind farms can be minimised and to establish generally agreed guidelines and recommendations around sound/noise. This will benefit manufacturers, developers and all members of society.

The hope is to have the task up and running in early 2017. Approval by the IEA Wind ExCo was a major step towards doing this.

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