Do you need an acoustical engineering expert witness for cases involving noise pollution? Noise pollution conflicts arise in environmental, aerospace, residential, and industrial contexts. Because acoustical engineers have expertise in how noise and sound are utilized and controlled, they are a critical aspect in noise pollution litigation. These experts understand the dynamics of sound as well as industry codes and can provide unbiased reports and testimony.
Invenergy, the developer of the proposed Alle-Catt Wind Farm in Cattaraugus, Allegany and Wyoming counties, was sued in 2014 for $40M by sixty Wyoming County residents. Residents are seeking $20M in personal injury damages and $20M in punitive damages. Plaintiffs allege that Invenergy has intentionally caused noise pollution and vibrations which has led to health problems, diminished quality of life and lower property values. The lawsuit was filed in the State Supreme Court in Wyoming County and transferred to federal court in Buffalo, WY. A jury trial could begin in the spring of 2019.
Chicago-based Invenergy is North America’s largest, privately held renewable energy company. Invenergy is planning to install 57 wind turbines in the Cattaraugus County towns of Freedom and Farmersville, 39 in Centerville and Rushford in Allegany County and nine in the town of Arcade in Wyoming County.
The U.S. Department of Energy lists the advantages of wind power as well as the challenges. Advantages include the following.
Wind power is cost-effective. Land-based utility-scale wind is one of the lowest-priced energy sources available today, costing between two and six cents per kilowatt-hour, depending on the wind resource and the particular project’s financing. Because the electricity from wind farms is sold at a fixed price over a long period of time (e.g. 20+ years) and its fuel is free, wind energy mitigates the price uncertainty that fuel costs add to traditional sources of energy…
It’s a clean fuel source. Wind energy doesn’t pollute the air like power plants that rely on combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas, which emit particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide…
It’s sustainable. Wind is actually a form of solar energy. Winds are caused by the heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the rotation of the Earth, and the Earth’s surface irregularities. For as long as the sun shines and the wind blows, the energy produced can be harnessed to send power across the grid…
Challenges involve noise and aesthetic pollution.
Although wind power plants have relatively little impact on the environment compared to conventional power plants, concern exists over the noise produced by the turbine blades and visual impacts to the landscape…Wind turbines can create different kinds of sound.
Broadband sound is made up of a combination of sound waves with different frequencies. It has no distinct pitch and could be described as a humming, whooshing, or swishing sound.
Infrasonic sound is always present in the environment. Depending on the locations, examples include the sound of flowing water, waves, or air turbulence. It can propagate further than higher, more audible frequencies, but it blends in with ambient noise. Although infrasonic noise is often inaudible, it can cause structural vibration, such as windows rattling.
Impulsive sound can be generated when disturbed airflow interacts with turbine blades, making swishing noises. Impulsive sounds can vary in amplitude over time. Examples of impulsive sounds include a door slamming or a person stomping.
Tonal sound can be caused by the rotation of shafts, generators, and gears operating at natural frequency; unstable airflow over holes or slits; or non-aerodynamic instabilities interacting with the blade surface. Tonal sounds can have a distinct pitch, such as a music note, and do not start or end abruptly. Because tonal sound can be problematic, wind turbine manufactures are paying particular attention to addressing tonal sound produced by their turbines.
Since acoustical engineering may be applied to so many different situations, it is important to find the specific type of expert that is relevant to your case. ForensisGroup provides referrals to the nation’s top acoustical engineering experts from a variety of backgrounds.