Wind farm opponents get confused

Desparate for evidence that wind farms are producing effects at distances of ten kilometres or more, opponents of wind power have wrongly supposed that a report titled “Seismic Noise by Wind Farms: A Case Study from the VIRGO Gravitational Wave Observatory, Italy” (written by Gilberto Saccorotti, David Piccinini, Lena Cauchie and Irene Fiori)  dealt with ordinary noise.  The VIRGO group picked up vibrations “at distances as large as 11 km from the wind park”.

In fact this report deals with vibrations carried by the ground and detected by instruments called seismometers. Seismometers are exquisitely sensitive instruments; they respond to earthquakes on the other side of the earth.  If the strongest vibrations from wind turbines are, at best, detectable at a distance of 11km then they must be quite undetectable by human senses at distances of hundreds of metres or more from the turbines.

If any reader wants to insist that this report does apply to infrasound rather than seismic waves, how would you explain the following bit “direct surface waves and body waves refracted at a deep ({approx}800 m) interface between the Plio-Pleistocenic marine, fluvial, and lacustrine sediments and the Miocene carbonate basement”?

PS. Not only opponents have misunderstood this report, but the Senate Committee on the Impact of Wind Farms also did.  See section 2.11.

21 thoughts on “Wind farm opponents get confused

  1. Thanks for the analysis Dave. Good to debunk that one, but hardly newsworthy to say that “wind farm opponents get confused”…

  2. The more I read on this website the more I come to dislike the supporters of wind turbines, it appears they are all on the payroll of wind companies or get some financial gain out of them. sad sad people who discredit health issues

  3. Martin, I’d like to point out that you’ve not once outlined any of your reservations, questions or opposition to wind farms. All you have said is that you don’t like the tone of the discussion. If you go to spacountryguardians.org.au you would have found a far nastier tone of discussion,but sadly that website appears to have been taken down. Maybe the Landscape Guardians bosses found their own supporters too embarrassing?

    You appeared on the site at first as a genuine supporter who didn’t like the tone of discussion. Now you simply repeat their unsubstantiated misinformation about “being on the payroll of wind companies” – and repeat their vague assertions about “health issues”. Without mentioning anything specific enough for us to actually argue against it.

    Well, on the payroll issue, all I can do is say yet again, it’s b.s. and like most of these “allegations” never a scrap of evidence has been provided. It’s not an honest form of debate, it’s smear tactics. It’s also not a discussion, because that requires listening and responding to each others’ points, something you haven’t done at all. I’m not convinced you ever were the innocent renewable energy supporter you originally made yourself out to be. Was this all just a ruse? Rather a sad way to pose “arguments” and spend your time, I’d say.

  4. What was debunked here? there doesnt appear to be any debunking of anything, just an opinion?
    And Ben, whats wrong with nasty discussion? thats what you get when you try to shove crap on people, people get pissed off and fight back.
    if your not up for a fight id suggest stay away from the spa country guardians site, its pretty simple, but at least they allow for open debate and give everyone a chance to comment.

  5. Peter still doesn’t bother to respond to the money allegations that he made…. this is very standard operating procedure for the ideological antis who post on this site. Make a claim, but don’t back it up when pushed on the issue….

    As for ‘having a fight’, maybe you should get out a bit more if you think thats what a fight is – i don’t think thats what the spa guardians site is about at all: to me it seems like a lot of whingeing, complaining, saying nasty things about people that aren’t on the forum to be able to respond, spreading lies (like the FoE and money claims), and writing under multiple false profiles (which is doubly sad when you think the audience is really just other antis. Gee, i’d be sad to miss the fun of that!

    But I will say one good thing and that is at least they have a website and forum, which is increasingly rare amongst the ‘guardians’ groups

  6. The spacountryguardians forum is an embarrassment to the Guardians. Though it is amusing to see poor ol’ Mick claim that the planet isn’t warming based on temperature readings he’s been taking at home for years. Turns out NASA’s been wasting their time. They could have delegated their atmospheric monitoring program to Mick and his thermometer for a fraction of the cost!

  7. Isnt it great how you all go to look at the spa country guardians site? And ill keep saying that green groups are funded by industry involved until they come up with evidence they are not.
    I cant be bothered looking into all your donors cam, maybe you are right and none are involved with the wind industry, but maybe they are.
    And Alex, what do you temperature readings tell you? if your so obsessed with fighting climate change do you actually take readings where you live? if not why?

  8. Could we please direct the general wind discussion over to the soapbox, people.

    Indeed there are a lot of jobs in renewable energy; whether they all exist here or mainly overseas will be a political and economic choice that will need to be made in regard to our manufacturing industry. But Keppel Prince in Portland employ hundreds, many of whom are in wind turbine tower fabrication and construction; any manufacturing and construction jobs in renewables could well be placed in regional areas affected by closure of fossil fuel industries if the government could facilitate such a move. Certainly I’d argue for it. I can’t speak for the Greens.

  9. Well spotted Dave, this serious error/misunderstanding by guardians illustrates how desperate windfarm opponents are to jump on any perceived failure/danger in wind technology. Their lack of technical expertise makes you wonder how many other erroneous claims are based on misunderstandings?

  10. Martin, We all know The Australian is a mouthpiece for the voice of anti-reason. Let’s consider renewables employment possibilities for Whyalla. It’s roughly 60km from Port Augusta which a major hub for new grid infrastructure priced into the Zero Carbon Australia plan showing Australia could go to 100% renewables in 10 years. 2000 megawatts of wind and 3500 megawatts of solar are proposed there. There’s also a new 8000 megawatt high voltage grid connect to Cleve which goes right past. All these new renewable plants get built in the unproductive land nearby, and nearby to existing grid as well, such as Whyalla already has. I’d reckon there’s a fair potential to employ a sizeable chunk of Whyalla’s 4000 steel industry workforce given that the minimum installed capacity under the ZCA plan is around three and a half Hazelwood power stations worth.

  11. Why would anyone employ anyone in australia when you can get the same job done in china for much less? this does not solely apply to the wind industry either, its happening everywhere.
    The job creation line just doesnt cut it.

  12. You can’t construct and maintain and operate a power station in Australia from China. Those jobs, not a few, would have to be here. It’s also possible to have manufacturing facilities put up here in Australia; the output from these could supply Australia and potentially much of the region as renewables are taken up. Vestas had a turbine blade manufacturing facility in Portland some years ago, on the backs of federal government support, but when the support evaporated they closed down. Now their sheds are part of Keppel Prince Engineering, who employ a few hundred workers, including a large number in fabrication and erection of wind turbine towers (just the tower, that is, not the nacelle & blades).

    It’s true that Germany, Denmark. India and China are all much bigger manufacturers with established manufacturing capacity that is much cheaper currently. As someone who has worked a lot in manufacturing, I would like Australia to protect and re-invigorate its manufacturing sector. Renewable energy could be an important part of that. I wish our government had a strategy to achieve this.

  13. Peter, you just can’t seem to be bothered to believe that there is anything positive anywhere it seems. Lets look at a rollout of wind over the next decade or two. Surely you can’t see prefab concrete towers, substructures, cabling, etc made overseas. How difficult and expensive would it be to purchase and transport up to 60 metre turbine blades from overseas manufacture? We’ve done it already in Australia, it’s not rocket science.

  14. Hi Ben and Neil, yes you actually can run a power station from China if you wish, Im sure you need some maintanence people on the ground here, but they are mostly called on when needed to cut on costs and not permanently employed in a rural region.
    Neil yes we did do it here and it proved to costly, how long did we manufacture here for? wind towers are already imported from china as are blades from other regions.
    Im not saying this is just because its the wind farm industry, its all industries, manufacturing in australia is just not viable anymore. Look at Keppel Prince, they are the only manufacturer of towers here and are constantly in the media looking for government intervention to make them profitable (and they are singaporean)
    If we are to have a carbon tax and a massive rollout of wind power and gas back up then its not going to become any cheaper in comparison with others who can do it for less

  15. Pete. Acciona has 35 people permanently employed looking after the Waubra project. On a per MWh basis, the wind industry is a very good employer, both for construction and operations.
    As for tower manufacturers, you forgot RPG and Haywards. Less than 10% of towers used in Australia have been imported (Enercon projects in WA and Goldwind for Mortons Lane are the only ones I’ve heard of). With consistent work it is reasonable to assume that a blade manufacturer could open in Australia.

  16. It’s beyond the scope of this discussion, perhaps we could dig up some articles or open a thread on the Soapbox section, but it is not inevitable that Australia’s manufacturing should die off, it has a lot to do with government policy and a lot to do with the policies of the multinational corporations that have dominated our manufacturing. But with a skilled workforce and decent infrastructure, both of which we have, it would be possible to run a very efficient manufacturing sector.

  17. Like i said im not relating this specifically to the wind industry, it is everything including the kitchen sink that is not made here anymore.
    I think the problem really is that we should not be using the jobs argument that governments so like to do, its really about electricity generation, basically the more jobs needed the more expensive the energy produced will be, so from my point of view it would be better to only employ 1 person instead of 35 as the end user should end up with a cheaper product.

  18. Energy is going to become more and more expensive if we stick with business as usual due to increasing cost of fossil fuels (including whatever scheme we introduce, or the international community makes us introduce if we don’t do anything near adequate). Wind and other renewables have no fuel costs (or carbon costs once embedded covered (9 months)). So electricity is likely to be the same price in twenty years from either renewables of BAU, but renewables will be employing more Australians.

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