Monitoring annoyance and stress effects of wind turbines on nearby residents: A comparison of U.S. and European samples

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In this research, we investigate individuals who are “strongly” annoyed and compare results between this U.S. study and other studies in Europe, to examine differences and correlates. Strongly annoyed respondents are individuals who are very, moderately or somewhat annoyed and report having symptoms. The symptoms include “being in a bad mood,” “anger,” “lack of concentration,” “difficulty falling asleep,” and “otherwise not sleeping well”, which must have a frequency of at least monthly and be attributed to the turbines. This “strongly annoyed” group is compared to four other groups: cannot hear the turbines, not at all annoyed by sound, slightly annoyed, and somewhat annoyed (i.e., annoyed without symptoms). Compared to the other groups, strongly annoyed individuals have more negative attitudes toward the local wind project, and more chronic health problems (not related to the wind turbines). They are less satisfied with the planning process and more annoyed by it. They live near larger wind projects. The strongest predictors, when combining them in a regression, are “present attitude toward the local wind project” and “annoyed by planning process”. Distance from the nearest turbine, A-weighted sound levels (dBA), and stated noise sensitivity are not correlated. A similar mean level of annoyance to sound is found in European results. In the U.S. sample, the mean levels of annoyance to lighting, shadow flicker, and landscape change are similar but slightly lower than in the European sample. Comparable result patterns for the U.S. support the reliability of our findings. 

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