Energy storage facilities are often sited near electrical distribution substations in urban and suburban environments to capitalize on the energy demands in these areas. In such locations, noise-sensitive uses may exist nearby, such as residential neighborhoods, hospitals, churches, and schools. Introduction of a noise generation source, such as an energy storage facility, must take existing noise-sensitive uses into account in the siting process in order to comply with local ordinances. Traditionally, noise emission modeling is accomplished using a program like CadnaA, which requires users to have licenses to access proprietary software, be trained in how to use it, and have sufficient lead time to set up and run complex modeling scenarios. Alternatively, Dudek has developed a streamlined noise modeling tool (Dudek noise tool) for predicting noise exposure levels in the area surrounding a proposed energy storage facility.
Based on the same International Organization of Standardization (ISO) 9613-2 sound propagation algorithms and reference data utilized by commercially available software like CadnaA, the Dudek noise tool can be used to predict sound levels at existing residences or other noise-sensitive uses from the combination of multiple sound sources associated with the studied energy storage facility. Then, the predicted sound levels can be compared to either existing noise levels (pre-project) or to applicable standards, such as local noise ordinance limits, to make informed decisions regarding facility siting, design, and the potential need for mitigation measures to bring operational noise levels in compliance with relevant requirements.
Dudek Noise Tool Saves Time and Money, Reduces Risk
The benefits of using the Dudek noise tool include:
- Time Savings. This tool doesn’t require specialized training and is easily manipulated, with simulations that can be set up and run more quickly than with conventional noise modeling, providing actionable results faster.
- Money Savings. A faster, more user-friendly tool means less labor is required to use it compared to traditional noise modeling software. Additionally, varying barrier heights and extents can be modelled to provide rapid feedback in final site design, with the potential for right-sized barriers to be acceptable, thereby saving the project money.
- Risk reduction. Fast noise analysis means issues with a candidate site and its surroundings can be identified quickly, enabling energy developers to better understand site development cost aspects, such as sound barrier installations, or to simply dismiss a poor site before incurring other large expenses.
The Dudek noise tool is relatively fast and easy to use, and can generate a noise “contour map” (i.e., a color-coded grid of sound level ranges, defined by the user) around a facility in a matter of minutes—not days.
This noise modeling efficiency, coupled with combined visualization of the site plan features, background aerial imagery, and the predicted noise contours, allows energy developers to get an early read on whether noise from a proposed energy storage facility could be an issue at the candidate site.
Ten Years of Experience, Ten Years of Data
Dudek has more than 10 years’ experience quantifying noise from electrical energy production/storage projects, and we have amassed a substantial database of reference sound emission levels for the electro-mechanical components found in an energy storage facility. The Dudek noise tool allows a user to access this database and input levels for individual on-site equipment sound emission.
Dudek noise modeling experts have used this tool to evaluate several different energy storage sites, allowing the client to determine if the proposed facility would comply with local regulations. Some of these projects have included study of on-site electrical generation noise sources, such as photo-voltaic panel arrays and their associated inverter/transformer stations distributed across the site. The Dudek noise tool has also been used to evaluate aggregate noise emission from construction activities that include stationary and mobile operating equipment. In each case, Dudek’s noise and compliance experts concluded the facilities would comply with standards, in some cases with inclusion of a modest sound barrier wall at the site perimeter.
When developing energy storage facilities, time is money and streamlining noise modeling with the use of the Dudek noise tool is one way to reduce the cost of site evaluation. This tool is highly accessible, allows easy input and manipulation of variables, as well as quick analysis iterations, and outputs data that is easy to comprehend and share. These features make the Dudek noise tool a great way to help inform appropriate project design decisions, mitigation measures, or siting considerations.