Thumping, grinding wind turbine noise has always been the elephant in the room for the wind industry. Now, it’s the elephants themselves who’ve signalled just how annoying low-frequency wind turbine noise is.

Renowned for their acutely sensitive hearing in the lower frequency register, the long-distance communication between Africa’s elephants is being drowned out by an increasing number of these things being plastered across the African savanna.

In its typically callous fashion, the African wind industry couldn’t care less.

Elephants aren’t alone in their hatred of wind turbine noise.

Wind turbine noise in Kansas disrupted the nesting patterns of Greater Prairie Chickens, which fled and abandoned their nests to escape the daily sonic torture these things generate: Wind Turbine Noise Causes Greater Prairie Chicken Run

Sonically sensitive bees are being wiped out en masse next to wind turbines operating in Korea: Beeline to Fury

And a study in Britain demonstrated that stressed-out badgers had also taken a sett against wind turbine noise; the cortisol levels of those living within 1 km of turbines were 264% higher than those living 10 km away: Wind in the Gallows: Study Shows Badgers Suffer Merciless Stress & Torment from Wind Turbine Noise & Vibration

So, if elephants, bees and badgers are driven mad by low-frequency wind turbine noise, it seems natural to expect that human beings might suffer in much the same way.

Here’s the story from South Africa on how elephants have become the wind industry’s latest victims.

Droning noise from E Cape wind farms – bad news for Addo elephants
Cape Talk
Pippa Hudson and Terry McKenzie-Hoy
18 May 2021

“It’s certain that the noise from the turbines will be heard by the elephants of Addo,” says acoustic engineer Terry McKenzie-Hoy.

Visitors to the Eastern Cape will notice wind farms sprouting up all over, particularly around Qheberha (Port Elizabeth).

These wind farm turbines emit low-frequency noise, inaudible to humans, but potentially damaging for the elephants of the Addo Elephant Park.

Pippa Hudson interviewed acoustic engineer Terry McKenzie-Hoy about his study into the impact of wind turbine noise on elephants and their communication.

McKenzie-Hoy was commissioned to look into the phenomenon ahead of the expansion of the existing farm at Bayview, which will consist of 43 turbines taller than any building in Cape Town.

The Bayview windfarm will be five kilometres from Addo’s boundary, easily within audible range.

Elephant sounds are very low frequency… They can hear up to 10 kilometres away… Elephant communication occurs at low frequencies… Rhinos, the same… It’s certain that the noise from the turbines will be heard by the elephants of Addo… Even motor vehicle engines can confuse elephants…

Terry McKenzie-Hoy, acoustic engineer

The wind farm people and the Department… don’t want to consider anything of this nature… It’s just left out!

Terry McKenzie-Hoy, acoustic engineer

I can’t name my client… an organisation that represents private game reserves… I’m not sure what happens next.

Terry McKenzie-Hoy, acoustic engineer

Listen to the entire interview here:

Cape Talk

Hello wind power. Goodbye Jumbo…


June 4, 2021