TNEI unveils new Noise Feasibility Tool

29 May 2018
TNEI noise feasibility tool

TNEI’s Noise Team is well known throughout the UK for its wind turbine noise assessment services, having worked on over 4GW of onshore wind projects. In addition to renewables, the team also undertakes work in many other energy sectors, with an increasing number of planning applications for gas and diesel powered peaking plants and battery storage projects, including the 49MW Rooscote battery facility, one of the largest in the UK.

Following a flurry of activity in these sectors, TNEI has been working with developers with various levels of knowledge and experience, some of whom are quite new to the market. As such, there are an increasing number of clients who, whilst understanding the importance of environmental noise assessments, may not be fully aware of the level of risk introduced to a project by the assumption that any noise issues can be alleviated later in the design or procurement process.

Due to the importance of flagging potential noise issues early in a project’s development and to provide invaluable assistance to clients, TNEI has developed a Noise Feasibility Tool, which allows a level of project risk to be quickly and easily identified early on in the site selection / site design process.

Working with a number of plant suppliers, TNEI has compiled a noise database of typical plant items. A preset generic development, e.g. ‘Externally located 12MWe gas peaking plant,’ can be selected, producing a list of the characteristic noise levels associated with this class of development, illustrating a typical noise output. In this example, noise levels would be combined for cooling radiator sets, air inlets, air outlets, containerised engine / generator sets and stack exhausts. Additionally, each preset can be tailored if additional information is provided.

The second stage is to input a number of environmental factors, including the coordinates of the nearest receptors and a typical ‘noise environment’ descriptor. TNEI has undertaken hundreds of background sound level measurements all over the UK, resulting in a large database to refer to, generating likely background sound levels for particular environments. The Noise Feasibility Tool allows a number of environments to be selected, from quiet rural, through to urban industrial. The experienced team can identify likely background noise levels as part of this early stage desk-based assessment.

Producing a detailed noise propagation model for a planning application takes time and relies on quality noise input data, which is often not readily available at the beginning of a project; however, using the Noise Feasibility Tool, a high level study can be completed for a site in approximately an hour. As such, TNEI is now rolling out the model to assist with large scale site finding and feasibility studies and can highlight levels of project risk across multiple potential development sites very efficiently.

This model is not designed to replace a planning application noise assessment, nor does it seek to set a pass / fail criteria for the feasibility of a development. Rather, it takes into account likely noise levels, the typical existing noise environment and the likely unmitigated impacts. From this, a level of risk is assigned, which can inform clients not just how difficult a site may be to develop, but also at what point noise needs to be considered within the overall site design, potentially saving a lot of disruption, expense and time delays later in the project. The risk rating can also be used to rank potential sites or can be fed into more detailed multi-topic feasibility studies.

To discuss how TNEI’s Noise Team can help you with your projects, please contact Jim Singleton by emailing or calling 0141 428 3186.

In addition to considering noise impacts, the experienced TNEI team can provide a comprehensive range of feasibility assessments to consider other potential constraints such as grid connections, planning and consenting. To discuss how TNEI can assist with wider site finding and feasibility services, please contact Jason McGray by emailing or calling 0191 211 1400.

Key contact

Jim Singleton, Principal Technical Consultant

Jim Singleton

Principal Technical Consultant

Jim is a member of the Institute of Acoustics and has extensive experience of environmental noise monitoring, prediction, control and assessment, with particular expertise in renewable energy projects, including ESTU-R-97 assessments from FIT schemes through to Section 36 developments, run-of river hydro electric schemes, CHP biomass developments and AD plants.