Engineers hired for wind turbine infrasound study


By Barb McKay


Acoustics engineers are set to begin sound level testing in the area of the Armow Wind Project.


The Municipality of Kincardine council gave staff the green light to hire Swallow Acoustics Consultants Ltd., based in Mississauga, to do the work before construction on the wind energy project is complete and the turbines become operational. Engineers will perform baseline acoustic sound and infrasound testing on five properties within the boundaries of the wind farm.


CAO Murray Clarke said municipal staff heard from several interested companies after issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) to do the sound testing, including one from Edinburgh, Scotland. Some companies were taken out of the running because of their affiliation with wind energy companies including those operating in this region.


In the end, the municipality received three submissions, including Swallow Acoustics, which presented a cost of $60,300 for the work, to be completed in the span of a week. The lowest bidding firm, Valcoustics Canada Ltd., which submitted a quote for $41,400, was excluded because it has an ongoing relationship with Enbridge doing consulting work for its wind energy developments, including its project in Underwood.


The third company, Sound and Vibration Solutions Canada Inc., submitted a bid for $87,500. Though it presented an impressive proposal, Clarke said, it did not clearly respond to the terms of reference the municipality had set out for the project.


The municipality wants a critical analysis of the determination by SP Armow Wind that the project is categorized as a Class 3 Area for noise levels under the province’s Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms. It also wants to establish typical baseline receptor infrasound levels inside homes within the wind project boundaries and interpret the data collected from the field investigations and compare it to current academic research on the potential impacts of infrasound, provide conclusions and possible mitigation measures.


“Swallow has had experience in the infrasound environment and in Alberta developing infrasound acoustics regulations for the Alberta government,” Clarke told council.


Councillor Maureen Couture expressed concern that the time allotted for the testing may be too limited. Clarke said because the quote is significantly lower than the other bidder the municipality could look at extending the time frame if needed. He said Swallow did indicate that it could be flexible. He said if the project needed to be extended and there would be additional costs staff would report back to council.