The detailed analysis of a series of acoustic measurements taken near several large wind turbines (100 kW and above) has identified the maximum acoustic energy as being concentrated in the low-frequency audible and subaudible ranges, usually less than 100 Hz. These measurements have also shown any reported community annoyance associated with turbine operations has often been related to the degree of coherent impulsiveness present and the subsequent harmonic coupling of acoustic energy to residential structures. Thus, one technique to assess the annoyance potential of a given wind turbine design is to develop a method which quantifies this degree of impulsiveness or coherency in the radiated acoustic energy spectrum under a wide range of operating conditions. Experience has also shown the presence of annoying conditions is highly time dependent and nonstationary, and, therefore, any attempts to quantify or at least classify wind turbine designs in terms of their noise annoyance potential must be handled within the proper probabilistic framework. A technique is described which employs multidimensional, joint probability analysis to establish the expected coincidence of acoustic energy levels in a contiguous sequence of octave frequency bands which have been chosen because of their relationship to common structural resonant frequencies in residential buildings. Evidence is presented to justify the choice of these particular bands. Comparisons of the acoustic performance and an estimate of the annoyance potential of several large wind turbine designs using this technique is also discussed.

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