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Delegates are invited to meet and discuss with the poster presenters in this topic directly after the session 'Wind turbine noise: How to avoid disturbing the neighbours' taking place on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 at 16:30-18:00. The meet-the-authors will take place in the poster area.

Philip Totaro Totaro & Associates, United States
Philip Totaro (1) F P
(1) Totaro & Associates, Santa Barbara, United States

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Presenter's biography

Biographies are supplied directly by presenters at EWEA 2014 and are published here unedited

Philip Totaro is the Founder and CEO of Totaro & Associates, a market research and innovation strategy consulting firm based in Santa Barbara, CA. Mr. Totaro is regarded worldwide as the foremost expert on wind industry technology and intellectual property matters. He has helped cultivate and disposition over 450 innovations, and his assessments have led to over 250 issued patents. His strategic market analysis has led to the funding justification of over $500M in R&D investment and the development of multi-million dollar product and service offerings. He has provided legal and technical due-diligence for $1B in M&A.


Noise reduction technologies - current and future


Wind farm noise threatens project viability, but technologies already exist which can help mitigate. Noise adjusted power curves or curtailments draw revenue away from projects and noise can adversely impact public perception of wind. Here we will explore the sources of turbine noise, the technologies the industry has currently developed to address these challenges, and the future technologies which will mitigate noise while maximizing wind park output.


Through a comprehensive evaluation of the patent landscape, a review of commercially available technical solutions, as well as feedback from wind park owners, we will explore technologies which have been developed and implemented, developed but not yet commercialized, as well as future concepts which can help to mitigate noise concerns. We explore those technical solutions which have worked well, which have not worked, and which can be adapted / retrofitted to existing wind park sites.

Main body of abstract

Sources of turbine noise include blades, drivetrain, generator, as well as active cooling systems. Turbines can be anywhere from 5 - 7dB above acceptable limits. Co-location of a new wind park with an older site can compound existing noise issues and create constructive interference issues which will draw complaints from neighboring residents.

We have explored several categories of noise mitigation technology including blade facets, serrated trailing edges, trailing edge brushes, active noise cancellation, acoustic damping as well as pitch control. A cost / benefit of each solution will be provided and noise reduction performance will be bench-marked against empirical data from wind park owners.

Presently, serrated trailing edges as well as pitch control appear to dominate the technical solutions for blade noise with approximately 3- 6dB mitigation on average, but sometimes these approaches are not optimized for energy production. Acoustic damping panels in the nacelle can adequately address drivetrain or generator noise, but we will address whether they can be manufactured cost effectively.

When it comes to future technical solutions, we will explore the energy optimized algorithms under development which can provide adequate noise reduction without sacrificing output.


Currently, there are technical approaches which can address most sources of wind turbine noise. However, implementation / retrofit of such solutions is not as cost-effective as it could be. Future solutions will look at hardware which is more O&M / retrofit friendly and the software which can optimize energy production while maintaining the noise envelope.

Learning objectives
1. What are the sources or wind turbine noise?
2. What are the current technical solutions available, and which are cost effective?
3. What future technology developments will prove to be the best for wind park site optimization?