The energy sector is in transformation. Economic power shifts, resource constraints, technological advancements, population growth, energy consumption levels, power generation capacities, environmental challenges and resource shortages – these are all trends that are having a powerful influence on how we manage our energy. We place sustainability at the heart of our working practices, and like to reflect this thinking in our approach to projects and clients. We recognise the UK vision of achieving all energy from renewable technology and see the importance in national grid sources such as solar and wind power, and local generation via technologies such as air source heat pumps and microturbines.
Wind farms can often be seen as a contentious matter within the surrounding community and the associated noise can be the source of significant complaints. Substations associated with offshore wind farms and solar farms can also cause noise complaints. Whilst air source heat pumps and microturbines can be installed without planning approvals under permitted development rights, these can lead to noise complaints.
The acoustic design and operation of wind farms is covered by ETSU-R-97 and the supplementary guidance in the Institute of Acoustics ‘Good Practice Guidance to the Application of ETSU-R-97 for the Assessment and Rating of Wind Turbine Noise’. Assessments often comprise measurement of environmental conditions and noise predictions to the prescribed methodology. Substations associated with energy generation projects are often assessed using BS 4142, with particular consideration to the low frequency sound exhibited by such equipment.
We have a track record in assessing the impact of such schemes, including the involvement of our team in projects ranging from the large scale proposals of Walney Offshore Windfarm and the West of Duddon Sands Offshore Wind Farm, and numerous single turbine projects, including an assessment of a turbine for footballer Gary Neville’s proposed zero carbon house near Bolton.