HETMAN – project summary

On Tuesday, March 19, 2024, at the Faculty of Physics of UAM, a meeting was held to summarize the HETMAN project. The project under the leadership and with the participation of scientists of the Department of Acoustics at UAM and consortium partners, companies and scientific institutions from Poland and Norway.

A healthy society – towards optimal wind turbine noise management

The project “Healthy society – towards optimal management of wind turbines’ noise” (acronym: HETMAN) was established as a scientific response to discussions from time to time in both the media and political circles about noise and the potential harmfulness of wind turbines.

Wind turbines – in their current form – are a relatively new source of noise, which began to be analyzed in detail by acousticians only in the 21st century. Numerous surveys and laboratory studies have shown that people rate the annoyance of wind turbines much higher than other noise sources, such as cars, railroads or even airplanes. This disparity in evaluations has given rise to a deeper study of the subject of turbine noise.

Over the past few years, new works have been written treating the specific variability of this type of noise (so-called amplitude modulation), the influence of wind conditions, infrasound, etc., and more countries have gradually begun to introduce noise standards relating to this new source of sound. Unfortunately, in Poland, turbines were still treated as “other facilities and activities that are a source of noise,” and the possibility of their location in relation to homes began to be determined by the controversial “10H” rule.

As acousticians, we decided to comprehensively study the nature of wind turbine noise and present ready-made guidelines that could be the basis for legislative changes and regulation of turbine noise. Realizing that the problem is complex and requires cooperation at many levels, we invited a number of other entities, including the Polish Wind Energy Association representing wind farm management companies.

During the three years of the project, we performed a number of field measurements and laboratory experiments. These have resulted in numerous conference presentations and scientific publications. The project consisted of a total of seven tasks, the results of which, in summary form, are presented on the following pages.

A good practice guide for wind turbine noise management will also be published in the near future, as well as a draft legal act regulating noise standards. We hope that the data and conclusions we have presented will become the basis for reliable regulation of wind turbine noise in Polish legislation. Poland faces many challenges related to the increasingly dynamic progress of renewable energy. The sooner we regulate issues related to its development, the sooner we can focus on the real benefits of renewable energy opportunities.

Should you have further questions about the project, please contact the project manager, Prof. Anna Preis: apraton@amu.edu.pl, tel: 61 829 51 19

The project “HETMAN: Healthy Society – towards optimal management of wind turbines’ noise” was funded by the National Center for Research and Development from the “Applied Research” program implemented under the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2021. Total budget: 5,114,823.75 PLN; grant amount: 4,823,587.50 PLN.