Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/wes-2024-34
https://doi.org/10.5194/wes-2024-34
02 May 2024
 | 02 May 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal WES.

The multiple understandings of wind turbine noise: Reviewing scientific attempts at handling uncertainty

Julia K. Kirkegaard, Tom H. Cronin, Sophie Nyborg, and Daniel N. Frantzen

Abstract. The noise from wind turbines has been an issue in the planning and development of wind power for many years, giving rise to both controversies during the deployment of onshore wind farms as well as a significant amount of research by various communities of scientists, or what we treat here as epistemic communities. Despite iterative attempts at fixing the noise issue through investments into technological developments and regulatory determination of allowable decibel noise levels, noise remains a contested and difficult object to find solutions to. In the Co-Green project, we instigated a social science-based study founded in Science & Technology Studies (STS) to look at why and how it is that noise continues to be so controversial. We do this through a narrative literature review of three different epistemic communities – the technical, health-based, and social acceptance literatures – tracing the emergence of the knowledge object of wind turbine noise. We illustrate how noise remains an ‘unruly knowledge object’ that defies stabilisation within and between the three epistemic communities: Instead, noise is understood as fundamentally different things across the three communities, fuelling the controversies over the solutions proposed, where the “fixes” might sometimes not address what was intended. We end by pointing to the potential benefits of more interdisciplinary engagement between epistemic communities and as well as to – in the context of science for policy – probe the potential value of finding ways to translate qualitative research findings into noise (and other) regulations.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Julia K. Kirkegaard, Tom H. Cronin, Sophie Nyborg, and Daniel N. Frantzen

Status: open (until 30 May 2024)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
Julia K. Kirkegaard, Tom H. Cronin, Sophie Nyborg, and Daniel N. Frantzen
Julia K. Kirkegaard, Tom H. Cronin, Sophie Nyborg, and Daniel N. Frantzen

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Short summary
Noise from wind turbines has been a point of contention for many years for those that have to live near wind farms. Despite strict regulations and significant research into the subject, it continues to be an issue for wind energy in the green transition. We were curious to try to find out why. Our research into three research (‘epistemic’) communities shows that noise is not understood as the same thing by the scientists dealing with it, fuelling the controversies over the solutions proposed.
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