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Typical noise levels in power substation


Typ ic al no is e le ve ls in p o we r s ub s tatio n (o n p ho to c o mp le te d s ub s tatio n in Naramata BC b y Paul Che rnikho ws ky)

Equipment noise levels

Equipment noise levels may be obtained f rom manuf acturers, equipment tendering documents, or test results. T he noise level of a substation power transf ormer is a f unction of the MVA and BIL rating of the high voltage winding. T hese transf ormers typically generate a noise level ranging f rom 60 to 80 dBA. Transf ormer noise will transmit and attenuate at dif f erent rates depending on the transf ormer size, voltage rating, and design. Few complaints f rom nearby residents are typically received concerning substations with transf ormers of less than 10 MVA capacity , except in urban areas with little or no buf f ers. Complaints are more common at substations with transf ormer sizes of 20 150 MVA, especially within the f irst 170200 m (500600 f t). However, in very quiet rural areas where the nighttime ambient can reach 2025 dBA, the noise f rom the transf ormers of this size can be audible at distances of 305 m (1000 f t) or more. In urban areas, substations at 345 kV and above rarely have many complaints because of the large parcels of land on which they are usually constructed.

Attenuation of noise with distance

T he rate of attenuation of noise varies with distance f or dif f erent types of sound sources depending on their characteristics. Point sound sources that radiate equally in all directions will decrease at a rate of 6 dB f or each doubling of distance. Cylindrical sources vibrating unif ormly in a radial direction will act like long source lines and the sound pressure will drop 3 dB f or each doubling of distance. Flat planar surf aces will produce a sound wave with all parts of the wave tracking in the same direction (zero divergence). Hence, there will be no decay of the pressure level due to distance only. T he designer must f irst identif y the characteristics of the source bef ore proceeding with a design that will take into account the ef f ect of distance. A transf ormer will exhibit combinations of all of the above sound sources, depending on the distance and location of the observation point. Because of its height and width, which can be one or more wavelengths, and its nonunif orm conf iguration, the sound pressure waves will have directional characteristics with very complex patterns. Close to the transf ormer (near f ield), these vibrations will result in lobes with variable pressure levels. Hence, the attenuation of the noise level will be very small. If the width (W) and height (H) of the transf ormer are known, then the near f ield is def ined, f rom observation, as any distance less than 2WH

WH f rom the transf ormer

Further f rom the transf ormer (f ar f ield), the noise will attenuate in a manner similar to the noise emitted f rom a point source. T he attenuation is approximately equal to 6 dB f or every doubling of the distance. In addition, if a second adjacent transf ormer produces an identical noise level to the existing transf ormer (e.g., 75 dBA), the total sound will be 78 dBA f or a net increase of only 3 dB. T his is due to the logarithmic ef f ect associated with a combination of noise sources. Resource: Electric power substation engineering by J. McDonald