EPA wind farm project for open space and site noise evaluation and measurement criteria
EPA is a Cabinet level executive agency responsible for protecting and conserving the environment in the Republic of China including air quality, noise control, monitoring and inspection of the environment, solid waste, recycling, sustainable development and international cooperation. It is led by the Minister for Environment, Stephen Shu-hung Shen. The Environmental Protection Agency has evolved and been part of different departments over decades. In August 1987, the Environmental Protection Administration, as it is known today, was established becoming the one-stop shop for all environmental policies, regulation, standards and enforcement.
Taiwan lacks energy resources and highly depends on import, so the Taiwanese government has chosen to prioritise the development of clean, sustainable, and independent energy and achieve the balance among energy security, environmental protection, and industrial competitiveness, and reduce CO2 emissions through various strategies. As an island, Taiwan has excellent potential for developing wind energy. To capitalise on this, the Government has built a number of wind farms, which currently consist of a total of 263 wind turbines from different suppliers. These are mainly located along the west coast of Taiwan.
Although wind energy is renewable energy, there are shortcomings. Wind farms are often considered to be eyesores in what are mainly rural landscapes. Other worries include the noise generated by the turbines, and the resulting devaluation of nearby property.
To be able to understand the noise impact on the environment and its residents, EPA has initiated a project to study the noise impact and implement a procedure for on-site monitoring of wind turbine noise generated by operating wind farms. Phase 1 of the project, was carried out in 2009. Phase 2 of the project was started in 2010 and will continue until 2011.
The goal of the EPA project was to find out the actual noise level of wind turbines and to set up suitable noise measuring procedures for open space and site facilities. The project would also conduct noise measurement and evaluation at sensitive spots as a result of complaints from local residents.
To achieve the goal, EPA deemed it necessary to measure 10 wind turbines in 10 noise-sensitive locations. When the measurements were completed, the wind turbine noise levels were correlated with wind speed. At high wind speeds, the noise levels exceeded 60 dB(A), and frequencies were mainly between 20 Hz and 1 kHz. Following this, 10 houses situated close to the wind turbines were selected and the noise levels measured. The results primarily showed low-frequency noise (below 100Hz), and the difference between indoor and outdoor measurements was up to 10 dB(A).