EPA works alongside the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to regulate wind energy facility noise.
Managing verifications of noise assessments
DELWP provides guidelines and manages the planning approval process for wind energy facilities, also known as wind farms. Noise assessments and reports are part of the wind energy facility planning permit approval process. At the end of this process, the Minister for Planning is responsible for granting planning permits for new wind energy facilities.
It is EPA’s role to regulate noise from ongoing operations once a wind farm begins operating. This includes requiring the production of annual statements, post-construction noise assessments and periodic monitoring during the life of a wind farm.
EPA also oversees the independent verifications of post-construction noise assessments and the review of regular wind turbine noise monitoring and noise management plans.
On completing a wind energy facility, the operator must do a final noise testing and assessment report. This post-construction noise assessment must confirm the wind energy facility complies with the noise limits of the New Zealand Standard. Again, EPA-accredited auditor must be appointed to verify this assessment report. Wind energy facilities which commenced operation prior to 1 November 2021 are not required to submit a post-construction report.
Wind energy facilities are also required to conduct noise monitoring every 5 years after the wind energy facility commences operation. Wind energy facility operators are then required to produce a report based on this monitoring, have it reviewed by an environmental auditor and submit the report to EPA.
The auditor’s role is to make sure the operator has correctly undertaken the noise assessment and testing activities consistent with the New Zealand Standard, which is the wind energy facility noise standard in Victoria.
The regulations outlining the process above commenced on the 18 October 2022. EPA has released the Wind Energy Facility Turbine Noise Regulation Guidelines to support wind energy facilities in their compliance with the regulations.
In the first instance, you should report concerns about wind energy facility noise emissions to the wind energy facility operator. The operator will respond according to their complaints management procedures. If unresolved, report concerns about noise pollution to EPA.
If you need further help, contact the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner (AEIC).
Investigating noise from related infrastructures
EPA can investigate noise from operational wind turbines and noise from other related infrastructure at the wind energy facility. Wind turbine noise comes under the wind energy facility regulations, while noise from ancillary infrastructure comes under the commercial, industrial and trade noise premises noise regulations. Ancillary infrastructure noise includes noise from:
- step-up transformers
- substations that connect to the transmission grid
- other onsite servicing or maintenance activities.
Noise from construction of wind energy facilities is managed by councils under planning permit approval conditions.
Read more about wind energy facility noise
Reviewed 25 October 2022