Macarthur Wind Farm: Environment

Noise monitoring

We have conducted over 40,000 hours of noise monitoring at Macarthur Wind Farm. This is well beyond the amount required in the planning permit. The results of this extensive monitoring – conducted at 13 neighbouring dwellings – show that the wind farm complies with the acoustic requirements of the planning permit.

Fully accredited noise acousticians carry out the monitoring in accordance with relevant standards. For complete transparency, all relevant raw noise data is given to landowners for their records.

The Government's strict noise regulations for Macarthur Wind Farm are in line with the World Health Organisation's guidelines for noise limits. As the below reports demonstrate, compliance has been achieved:

For more information:

An independent report by Resonate Acoustics shows there was no measurable change to infrasound levels once Macarthur Wind Farm was operational. The report – which was voluntarily commissioned by AGL to help alleviate community concern about noise – was reviewed by internationally renowned low frequency acoustic expert, Dr Geoff Leventhall.

The aim of the assessment was to compare infrasound (noise at frequencies lower than 20 Hz) and low frequency noise (noise from frequencies of 10 Hz to 160 Hz) levels before and after construction. Measures were taken indoors at 2 residences, located 2.7 km and 1.8 km from the nearest turbine, during the following stages:

  • Pre-operational – no wind turbine generators operating
  • Interim – approximately 105 out of 140 operating
  • Operational – all 140 operating

The assessment shows that infrasound and low frequency noise levels from Macarthur Wind Farm are compliant with relevant assessment criteria at the 2 nearby residences.

For more information:

Macarthur Wind Farm is successfully operating within the strict noise limits set in the wind farm's State Planning Permit, as evidenced in the Macarthur Wind Farm Noise Compliance Assessment independently produced by AECOM Australia Pty Ltd (AECOM). This Noise Compliance Assessment is part of a wider noise monitoring program implemented by AGL since the first turbines started operating in late September 2012.

Noise data used in the analysis of the Noise Compliance Assessment report:

Location IDNoise data time period
P22A noise data (ZIP) 8 Feb 2013 to 27 Mar 2013
Q15A noise data (ZIP) 15 Feb 2013 to 22 Mar 2013
T25A noise data (ZIP) 15 Feb 2013 to 22 Mar 2013
V16A noise data (ZIP) 15 Feb 2013 to 22 Mar 2013

View the Noise Compliance Assessment report Part A (PDF) and Part B (PDF) that has been conducted in accordance with the relevant Standard and submitted to the Victorian Government for review.

The Planning Permit, which is enforced by the Victorian State Government, required that pending landowner approval, noise monitoring was to be carried out at specified dwellings neighboring the Macarthur Wind Farm. Noise loggers were installed between February and March 2013 to capture the noise data for this objective assessment.

The Planning Permit requires that the noise level from an operating wind farm, measured outdoors of a dwelling at any relevant nominated wind speed, shall not exceed the background noise level before the wind farm was operating by more than five dB(A) or a level of 40 dB(A) (whichever is higher). The combined noise levels were assessed at 10 minute intervals at the specified dwellings. Compliance was assessed throughout the entire day, and separately at night when the background noise level is typically lower.

The testing also monitored for special audible characteristics (clearly audible tones, impulses, or modulation of sound levels). Special audible characteristics were not determined to be present at any of the noise monitoring locations. 

AGL has carried out extra noise monitoring at Macarthur Wind Farm since the first turbines started operating on 30 September 2012. All results confirm that it remains compliant with the strict noise limits set in the planning permit.

Monthly noise monitoring reports include:

If you have any questions about noise monitoring, please call the Community Relations team on 1800 039 600.

For wind speed and wind direction information, please visit wind.willyweather.com.au

Bat and Avifauna Monitoring Program

 

Since Macarthur Wind Farm became operational, AGL has carried out an extensive bat and avifauna monitoring program. The research has been conducted by Australian Ecological Research Services.

If you would like more information, please contact our Community Engagement team on 1800 039 600 or email aglcommunity@agl.com.au

An extensive 2 year bat and avifauna mortality monitoring program at Macarthur Wind Farm studied mortality rates resulting from collision with the blades of wind turbines, with a particular focus on threatened species known to occur within the region.

Results show negligible effects on populations of threatened species. Key findings from the monitoring program include:

  • Only 2 collision mortalities of listed threatened species were detected during 2 years of intensive monitoring (a Black Falcon in 2013 and a Southern Bent-wing Bat in 2014)
  • The birds that collided most commonly with turbines in 2014 were introduced Eurasian Skylarks
  • The annual mortality of all native birds in 2014 was estimated at 3.31 ± 0.78 per turbine
  • Amongst native birds, species of raptors were more prone to collision than any other group of birds, consistent with other wind farms in southern Australia

For more information:

The initial monitoring of Brolgas took place within the vicinity of the wind farm for 2 years post-construction.

Results of this initial study show that Macarthur Wind Farm does not appear to have had any detrimental impact on the local Brolga population, either from direct impact with turbines or displacement from habitat. There have been no Brolga collisions with turbines and Brolgas have successfully bred on the wind farm and continue to return to the site each year for the breeding season.

Additional monitoring was carried out during the 2016 breeding season, following record rainfall and flooding. The monitoring found a total of 7 Brolgas, including 3 pairs and 1 chick, within 3 kilometres of the wind farm. All utilised wetlands habitats within the wind farm for most of the season.

For more information:

A 2 year bat monitoring program assessed bat species and their relative activity at different locations on the wind farm. As advised by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (formerly Department of Sustainability and Environment), monitoring was timed to coincide with the migratory periods of the Southern Bent-wing Bat in early autumn and late spring.

The subsequent report details the results of the autumn and spring 2014 monitoring periods. Overall bat activity was compared with that recorded during autumn and spring 2013 to examine changes in activity.

For more information: