Pacific Hydro apologises for wind farm noise

Clean energy solutions provider Pacific Hydro has issued an apology to residents in Cape Bridgewater, Victoria, for a high-pitched noise resulting from a technical fault.

Technicians had been looking into the noise since September 2012 and had identified the noise occurred during low wind conditions – unusual at a site characterised by consistently strong winds.

Pacific Hydro general manager Lane Crocket personally went door-to-door apologising to residents.

“We are very relieved to have finally been able to find the noise, identify its cause and solve this issue,” Mr Crockett said.

“Clearly the noise has been distressing for some neighbours and we feel awful to have been causing this issue for them.”

Pacific Hydro said the complaints had not been identified earlier because wind conditions could not be audibly identified at certain times.

“While we had been investigating complaints when they were made, the specific wind conditions that the noise was audible in was not happening regularly. It seems that the noise was audible for between 30 and 60 seconds during very low wind conditions when some of the turbines were just starting up and the nacelle at the top of the tower was turning to face into the wind,” Mr Crockett said.

The noise, in the higher frequency sound spectrum, was audible at up to an estimated 500m or so from some turbines during low wind conditions. The sound has been described as a screech, or a squeal by some neighbours and while not of a high volume, was at a higher pitch that was clearly out of place in the environment.

Acknowledging this issue too far too long to resolve, Pacific Hydro has said it will work with the local community closely moving forward.