Noise pollution from wind turbines and its effects on wildlife: A cross-national analysis of current policies and planning regulations

Y. Teff-Seker, O. Berger-Tal, Y. Lehnardt, N. Teschner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

The quest for cleaner energy has caused governments to expand renewable energy infrastructure, including wind turbine farms. However, wind turbines (WTs) can also pose a risk to certain wildlife species, with wildlife-related research predominantly focusing on the potential harm caused to birds and bats from impact injuries. New evidence suggests that WT noise (WTN) impacts on wildlife can also be detrimental to wildlife, but rarely receive attention from planners. Potential types of WTN impact, including damage to wildlife physical wellbeing, vital survival mechanisms, social and reproductive processes, and habitat continuity. This article reviews the current literature on WTN effects on wildlife, and analyzes the planning guidelines relating to WTN and wildlife in three selected locales where WT infrastructure is being expanded: California, Germany, and Israel. Findings indicate that none of them have clear zoning limitations or obligatory environmental impact assessment (EIA) guidelines that require addressing the WTN effects on wildlife. However, some steps taken by planning authorities suggest potential for improvement. These include language in California planning recommendations addressing the potential effects of WTN on wildlife; a German survey of local bird species’ sensitivity to noise (including a WTN section); and increasing non-obligatory recommendations that encourage distancing WTs from protected areas. The study concludes that WTN effects on wildlife could be mitigated by gathering additional scientific data on WTN impacts, mapping species presence and auditory sensitivity to provide information for planners and advisors, and mandating the use of better science-informed practices and technologies for WTN reduction, such as long-term monitoring, zoning, and micro-siting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112801
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Volume168
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2022

Keywords

  • Anthropogenic noise
  • Noise pollution
  • Planning regulation
  • Protected areas
  • Renewable energy
  • Wind turbines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

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