Noise Testing for Wind, Solar, and Battery Energy Storage Systems

December 7th, 2022

Essential to the steady, reliable supply of electricity from source to plug, Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) seem to be popping up everywhere- a trend that will continue. These sites may not seem noisy, but that is likely because detailed analyses were conducted to minimize sound level impacts at sensitive receptors. If not considered relatively early in the planning stage, noise concerns can grind your project to a halt. You see, where there’s a risk, there’s very likely a regulation.

Case in Point: Epsilon performed background (ambient) sound level measurements and sound level modeling at a 5 MW capacity battery storage site located in New England. Our work included seven-day continuous sound level measurements monitored remotely with three onsite checks: one at project start, one night-time period, and at program conclusion.

Sound level measurement and data analysis were measured. Meter measures included various broadband A-weighted (dBA) and one-third octave band sound levels. Data was logged every hour with a one-second time history. The analyzer was calibrated before and after the measurement program using the manufacturer’s sound calibrator.

Sources of BESS operational sound often include:

  • Inverters
  • HVAC equipment
  • Transformers

Ambient data was analyzed to determine the background sound levels in the project area, and future sound levels associated with the project were predicted using noise calculation software. The site layout and terrain height contour elevations for the immediate area surrounding the site were imported into the software to allow for consideration of terrain shielding. The project was completed with the report delivered to the client in under one month after notice-to-proceed was received.

The result? This BESS received its environmental permit with no permit-based operational restrictions or need for further noise-reduction mitigation measures.

The key takeaway here?

Don’t take a little noise for granted.

Whether planning a Photovoltaic, Wind or BESS site, get help from experts experienced in site suitability determinations; regulatory, zoning, planning, and environmental ordinances, and bylaws; who can help identify potential obstacles and best paths forward; who will prepare your permitting plans and filings; and who will support you during negotiations, approvals, and project closeout.

Key Players:

Richard Lampeter has more than 15 years of experience in conducting community sound level impact assessments. His areas of expertise includes the measurement of ambient sound levels, modeling sound levels from proposed developments, evaluation of conceptual mitigation, and compliance sound level measurements. Mr. Lampeter conducts impact assessments for power generating facilities, commercial developments, industrial facilities, and transfer stations. His understanding of acoustical standards and modeling software allows him to provide accurate and reliable modeling results to developers and communities. Mr. Lampeter routinely presents the key aspects of impact assessments to local boards and provides expert testimony.


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