Controlling the acoustic impact of a wind farm while minimising the impact on its productivity: that was the challenge faced by our customer Innergex renewable energy.
In response to complaints from local residents regarding noise following commissioning of the wind farm, Innergex decided to take decisive action to ensure good ongoing relations with neighbouring communities as part of its vision to maintain long-term and responsible operational relationships with those living in residential areas around its wind farms. Innergex asked our acoustics experts to develop a methodology specific to this wind farm in order to provide an objective assessment of its acoustic impact in the context of current regulations, and to prepare an effective and optimised noise limitation plan that would deliver guaranteed outcomes.
Our teams then set to work on helping Innergex to resolve this sensitive issue of noise. For this project, our brief was to bring forward a solution that was acceptable to everyone involved, at the same time as meeting Innergex productivity goals for its wind farm. A series of conversations between Innergex and Sixense resulted in the emergence of a completely new study methodology designed to quantify residual noise levels, while maintaining almost full operation of the generators throughout the measurement campaign.
In estimating the overall acoustic impact of the wind farm and establishing a suitable noise reduction plan, our acoustics experts used a range of different techniques, including measurements during full-power operation of the wind turbines and noise decay measurements in close proximity to the turbines to avoid the influence of weather conditions. These measurements made close to the turbines were supplemented by measurements taken at the homes of local residents to ensure perfect calibration of measurements and calculations.
In this way, our engineers were able to develop an optimised noise reduction plan consistent with the current options for programming wind turbine operation. They were also able to contribute to the development of noise reduction options to reduce the intrusion perceived by some local residents. The results achieved following adoption of the noise reduction plan proved fully consistent with the results predicted by the simulations conducted by the acoustics engineers.
The comprehensive nature of this study has given Innergex a high level of control over the acoustic impact of its wind farm and has helped to improve the dialogue and relationship between the wind park and local residents. Based on these successful outcomes, Sixense has applied a similar methodology in a second Innergex wind farm.
We particularly appreciated the professionalism and responsiveness of Sixense, the reliability of the equipment used and the high quality of technical interaction at every stage of these acoustic studies, right through to the submission of reports
Vincent Remillon, Manager France Construction and Operation at Innergex