The ministry is proposing a minimum setback for wind turbines of 550 metres or 1,804 feet which is roughly 1/3 of a mile in order to ensure noise levels do not exceed 40 decibels from a dwelling. Forty decibels is approximately the noise level experienced in a quiet office or library.
The applicable setbacks would rise with the number of turbines to be installed and would also be determined by the sound level rating of the turbines selected as each make is different. For example, a turbine with a sound power level of 106 decibels would have to meet a setback of 950 metres, 3,116 feet or approximately 2/3 of a mile from the nearest dwelling. A facility with eight turbines with a sound power level of 105 decibels would need to meet a setback of 1000 metres etc.
All wind turbines with a sound power level greater than 107 decibels, regardless of the number, would require a noise study, as would projects involving more than 26 turbines within 1.5 km of any dwelling.
The Ministry is also proposing that as a condition of approval for wind turbine projects, proponents would be required to monitor and address any perceptible infrasound (vibration) or low frequency noise as a condition of the renewable energy approval.
The Government of Ontario remains firmly committed to expanding renewable energy in this province and these proposals are one more step at attempting to appease those that are against have these towering giants dot the landscape.