Introduction to this special issue

By Gijsjan van Blokland, I-INCE VP, Development & Outreach

The world faces a major challenge in the coming decades to limit global warming and to manage the shift to renewable energy. This shift however is expected to be noisy. 

The most known source is on shore wind farming.  The repetitive sound of the passing blades is a common source of annoyance, especially at night when the lower atmospheric layers come to rest reducing back ground sound, while the wind speed above the boundary layer, where the modern wind turbines operate, remains high. A successful series of I-INCE Europe conferences have been dedicated to wind turbine noise with the next scheduled in July 2023 in Dublin.

In this special issue of Noise News International it is argued that moving the wind farms off shore will not guarantee silence in the coastal regions and most certainly it will become noisier under water. In another paper the noise impact of heat pumps and domestic wind turbines in urban areas is assessed. 

A next paper notices that even the flow and storage of electric energy may cause noise issues around vehicle charging stations. The shift to electric road vehicles present challenges to the acoustic design inside the vehicle where the speed and acceleration sensation by the internal combustion engine sound has to be replaced by something new. Outside though the vehicle is generally expected to become so silent, so to warn pedestrians artificial sounds have to be added. The study presented in this issue demonstrates that this effect is limited to low speed areas with stop & go traffic, once the vehicle is driving at constant speed no positive effect was observed. 

Noise engineers around the globe will contribute directly to the shift to renewable energy by for instance the development of acoustic heat pumps, but most certainly they will work to mitigate the negative noise impacts. I wish them success and I look forward to a future sustainable world with a pleasant acoustic atmosphere.