The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland needed to evaluate the potential impact of setting lower noise limits for wind energy developments on available wind resource in Ireland. RPS was commissioned to develop a national scale noise model for wind energy. The output from the model comprised an available resource in GWhr based on potential noise limits. RPS acoustics and GIS specialists worked together to develop the model.
The acoustic model comprised multiple scenarios including; different turbine types, tip heights, terrain, ground absorption, directivity, and weather conditions. This resulted in over 100,000 model scenarios which were analysed statistically to generate probability density functions for noise level plotted against distance. This allowed separation distances to be set with confidence intervals.
GIS modelling was then used to identify zones suitable for development. This excluded noise sensitive locations and a range of exclusion zones such as Special Areas of Conservation, cultural heritage sites, military lands, etc. The model then calculated available GWhr capacity based on a range of planning and development scenarios.