Disclosure needed on anti-wind farm group’s motives

The following letter from Cam Walker (who is one of the moderators of this blog) was sent to the Ballarat Courier on September 9. The Courier published the letter with some editing, taking out the mention of Peter Mitchell’s business interests.

A recent letter to this paper from Peter Mitchell (Stop wind turbines until studies have been done) was signed off as Chairman of the Waubra Foundation. Some disclosure is in order.

Far from maintaining complete independence from anti-wind advocacy groups, as per its charter, the Waubra Foundation effectively acts as a front group for the Landscape Guardians. Despite claiming concern about almost all threats to the landscape, this group only fights against wind farms. It is always notably absent when green wedges are threatened or coal mines, coal seam gas developments or polluting power stations are proposed near communities.

As to its leadership, perhaps Mr Mitchell should disclose that he’s been fighting the Stockyard Hill Wind Farm for years, is an office bearer of the Landscape Guardians, and has oil, gas and uranium interests. The Foundation and Peter’s business interests share the same address in South Melbourne.

Fellow directors of the Waubra Foundation are no more independent. Sarah Laurie, Kathy Russell, Tony Hodgson and Michael Wooldridge all have objected to wind farm projects in their own backyards.

Ms Laurie continues to work her way across the country scaring communities with claims of ill health. The Waubra Foundation sows seeds of division wherever it goes and blames the resulting mess on the wind industry.

Our organisation supported the call for further research into wind turbines that came from the recent Senate Inquiry. But we also look to the fact that there are around 100,000 commercial scale turbines around the world, many of which have been operating for decades, without significant impacts on local communities.

While ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome’ is not recognised by any medical authority in the world, many anti-wind activists portray the slightest symptoms of anxiety or insomnia as being indicative of the Syndrome. We argue that this displays little regard for the effect of these claims on the mental health of rural communities around existing or proposed wind farms.

While this approach might be effective in delaying wind developments in their own neighbourhoods, it does so at the expense of rural communities that want to benefit from renewable energy and blocks the necessary transition towards a clean energy future.

Cam Walker
Campaigns co-ordinator
Friends of the Earth

109 thoughts on “Disclosure needed on anti-wind farm group’s motives

  1. I hope this letter get’s printed in many papers and published everywhere. This is excellent and I wish more people would be as balanced and well spoken!

  2. The majority of the 100,000 wind turbines world wide are far far smaller than those being built now. Problems are only just starting to surface now because these monstorous turbines 3MW have only just been built over the past 5 or 6 years. Time will prove we are going down the wrong path.

  3. Interesting to see that Sarah Laurie has responded to my letter. How is a group set up by another group, and whose board is dominated by people affiliated with the politics of that group not a front organisation?

  4. Of course the Waubra Foundation is a front group for the Landscape Guardians. Five of their six directors have wind farms proposed in their back yards. Two of the directors are members of the Landscape Guardians. Both groups share a PO Box with and receive funds from the Chairman, an individual with coal seam gas and uranium interests.
    The Waubra Foundation might be taken half seriously if it was independent and included medical research experience amongst its directors.
    Wooldridge was thought to be a good minister by many. How embarrassing for him to have this on his CV.

  5. hi Mick, if you care so little maybe you should go back to the Spa Guardians site where you and Gordon can complain to each other for as long as you like.

    At least we don’t resort to telling lies about you in order to try and prove a point. Your recent post about FoE on the Courier site was pathetic. You know we don’t take cash from wind companies. The fact that a few Antis continue to peddle this line shows they are completely morally bankrupt – if you can’t win an argument, then tell a lie. I actually expected better from you.

  6. Mick won’t find intelligent sympathetic discussion on the Landscapers website. The only chatter on that site of any interest is the outing of Mick’s fuzzy thinking. That and ‘Spectra Poultry Medicine’, whatever that is.

  7. Mick, I’m sorry your life is so meaningless that you can’t look positively towards a cleaner future and are content with vested interests propping up dinosaur industries to the detriment of your family, pocket and environment.

    Try thinking about generations to come instead of yourself for a change.

  8. Dear Cam,

    The Waubra Foundation is not a front for the Landscape Guardians, no matter how hard some people might like to believe it, including the ABC four corners team. We work with pro wind researchers, such as Professor Colin Hansen and Dr Con Doolan, from Adelaide University, and we work with local groups concerned about the impact a wind development may have on their local community, some of whom have called themselves Landscape Guardians. One of our directors is currently also a member of a Landscape Guardian Group, Ms Kathy Russell, and this is clearly disclosed on the Waubra Foundation website.

    For the record, I have never “objected” to the local wind development proposed for the southern Flinders Ranges. I have, however, publicly expressed to the developer, Origin Energy, that I would like to see the independent research done first to establish whether wind developments are really free from adverse health effects as they have been claiming publicly. My concern is heightened when senior Origin Energy employees privately confirm to me that they know that people are indeed getting sick living near wind developments. I have 7 year old twins, and like any parent, I am concerned about their health and well being.

    However I have publicly said to Origin that if the properly conducted health studies are done and clearly show there are no adverse health effects from long term exposure to wind turbines I will happily have them as neighbours. On the basis of my own investigations and field observations I now know this will not be the case. This is confirmed with the independent observations and investigations of a number of other medical practitioners, starting with Dr Amanda Harry in the UK in 2003, and now including a growing number of health professionals, noise engineers, and affected residents from around the world.

    The Waubra Foundation Chairman and Founder Mr Peter Mitchell is a former member of the Landscape Guardians, but he resigned in March 2011, in order to solely focus on the work of the Waubra Foundation. He has kindly made his mailbox available for the use of the Foundation, as we have extremely limited financial resources. All our limited resources have come from donations from rural residents who have been affected in some way by a proposed or current wind development, and who would like to see the independent health research done as quickly as possible to answer questions such as:

    Why are people getting sick, all over the world, including Europe, with the same range and pattern of symptoms, and correlating with specific wind directions?

    What are the causative mechanisms?

    What is a safe setback distance, depending on turbine type & height, blade design and lenth, topography, (& other factors yet unknown)?

    I have every sympathy for the many rural residents who are being adversely impacted by Coal Seam Gas, and find that many of the issues facing those residents are surprisingly similar to those confronted by wind developments, even the low frequency noise from the gas compressors which is reported to be causing the sleep deprivation in adjoining residents. With respect, it is the imposition of development upon residents who are concerned about the long term health effects of both CSG and wind turbines which are contributing greatly to the increased mental health burden in these rural communities.

    I am regularly asked to go and speak to different rural communities about my findings and the work of the Waubra Foundation. I talk about the work done by clinical whistleblowers before me, such as Dr Amanda Harry UK 2003, Dr David Iser Toora, Victoria 2004, Dr Nina Pierpont, Professor Robert McMurtry, Ontario 2010 – all courageous, principled, and ethical Medical Practitioners who are all reporting the same problems, and ALL are calling for the necessary further research, to better understand the reported serious health problems.

    ALL of us have been ignored, vilified, dismissed with perjorative language, and in some instances we have been threatened. But we will not go away, nor will we be silent. Innocent vulnerable rural residents are becoming sick, and we need to find out why.

    Properly conducted independent research which then enables updated well informed planning decisions to be made is the fairest way to manage competing stakeholder issues. Turbines are around for a long time in rural communities, and are expensive to erect. All the more reason to get the siting right in the first place, so they are not shut down for lack of compliance with noise regulations (as a wind development was in Scotland recently). Such regulations are there for a reason – to protect the health of nearby residents.

    It is now nearly a year since two research proposals were first submitted to a group of Environmental Health bureaucrats, state and Federal, and including NHMRC representatives in November 2010, by Dr Liz Hanna from the Public Health Association of Australia, and researcher at the ANU’s Centre for Population Health, with a particuar interest in Climate Change. All present at that Environmental Health meeting in Sydney apparently agreed there was a need for such research, to help answer the questions above.

    The recent Federal Senate Inquiry also recommended research.

    What are we waiting for?

    1. hi Sarah
      apologies for delay in responding.

      As you know, we have supported the call for definitive research. You ask ‘what are we waiting for’ and you must know its lack of political will to translate a recommendation into action. Instead of continuing to invest time into scaring people about possible health risks, at this point, a far more useful campaign for Waubra Foundation to run would be a concerted effort to get the federal government to commit to funding the research. This might generate support across the spectrum of opinions.

      I understand that you say the Foundation is not a front group, but the perception I have from the outside is that it fulfills that function. A standard definition of such a group is: “A front organization is any entity set up by and controlled by another organization”. WF was set up by key people in the Guardians, has only people who see eye to eye with the Guardians on its board (regardless of whether they are members), and only ever talks about the negative impacts of wind energy. In that sense it is irrelevant whether you work with independent researchers. Surely you must see that in terms of external perception of the Foundations agenda it is pretty much impossible to seperate it from that of the Guardians? Hence the ‘front’ claim.

      Good to hear you have sympathy for communities impacted by Coal Seam Gas and other fossil fuels. But that highlights the other key perception problem of the ‘antis’, of which you are a prominant member. Because the Guardians only campaign against wind, and no other threats to our landscapes, it is impossible to take them seriously as a voice for the environment. Peter’s comments that the Guardians believe turbines are the greatest threat to landscapes in SE Australia is laughable (reference is here: https://yes2renewables.org/links-and-resources/who-is-opposing-renewables/). For the Foundation to share a PO Box with a company which has interests in Coal, gas, uranium, etc just exposes you to the belief that there is nothing more to your operation than being anti wind (and hence having an agenda that includes the usual climate sceptic, and flat earth world view that is common amongst the Ideological Antis, rather than actual concern for community members. Even worse, it can look like there is some actual connection with the fossil fuel industry). While I understand this is certainly not the case for you, and as an activist I have respect for your commitment to your cause, again it is perceptions that often matter in the public debate.

      I must also say that I have now spoken to a number of people in rural Vic and NSW who have expressed concern about getting sick from turbines, on the basis of your work, including people that have lived with turbines for years without problems. These people don’t display symptions but are worried and I have no doubt that some of them are getting sick on the basis of worry. I really think you should reflect carefully when you talk about ‘mental health burden’ in communities.


  9. What complete rubbish!

    Sarah says she is not opposed to the Crystal Brook wind farm, yet she has told the world that she will not accept the project until the developer passes a test that will take many years, then she says she knows they will fail the test. That’s opposition in anyone’s book.

    Sarah says that Peter Mitchell has not been a Landscape Guardian since March. As recently as July he published a set of papers attempting to mislead the public about wind energy’s ability to abate carbon. The papers, which contradict AEMO, the technology agnostic energy market operator, were signed by P R Mitchell Chairman, Science and Economics Committee, Australian Landscape Guardians Inc. (So much for quitting to ‘solely focus on the work of the Waubra Foundation’) But whether he is or is not currently an office bearer is pure semantics. The fact is that Mitchell has devoted massive effort over many years towards stopping the Stockyard Hill project in his backyard, and even though it is permitted he is not giving up.

    Sarah says all of her resources have come from donations from rural residents, yet she has admitted on radio to receiving funding from Mitchell. A rural resident? Ask his neighbours if they’d support this characterisation.

    As for the Waubra Foundation, five of the directors are on the public record as objecting to a wind farm in their backyard. Three have held principal roles in anti-wind groups. Most are on record saying they ‘know’ wind turbines are bad for health, a claim not supported by credible science. So much for the foundation’s principle to be not aligned with any anti-wind interests. This is not a body advocating independent research as much as a front group trying to stop wind farms by any mans possible.

    The big question is whether Sarah means well and is being used unwittingly by merchants of doubt, or whether she understands her role.

    Either way, when the sordid history of this chapter of anti-science is written, Sarah’s descendants will not be proud.

  10. ArthurS. I assume we all mean well?

    Whether any of our descendants will be proud will be determined by history.

    And history also tells us that there are many technologies that can have unexpected adverse health effects. It would appear it is in everybody’s interest to do the independant research as a matter of urgency to find the answers (based on science not opinion) as to the reasons why some people are being adversely affected by industrial wind turbines to the point of having to leave their homes.

    And then siting tubines appropriately. They are not at present, though the Vic gov has made a courageous stand on the precautionary principle.

  11. Arthur,

    When Yvette, the Origin energy PR person rang me in March 2010, I told her I fully supported the local wind project, provided there were no adverse health effects. I meant it. Since then, I have done a lot of my own research, spoken to affected people around the world, spoken to the acousticians and clinicians and researchers at the forefront of investigating the problems which have been described and reported. On the basis of what I have learnt, I am now very concerned, and I would like to see the independent research done first.

    If the research proposed by Professor Colin Hansen and Dr Bob Thorne’s groups from Adelaide and Massey University respectively had been funded when it was initially presented to government representatives in November last year, we would have had some answers by now.

    Origin Energy employees (and indeed all the wind developers) routinely quote the NHMRC Rapid Review summary statement as “evidence” that there are no health problems, and yet privately, senior Origin energy and other wind developer employees have admitted to myself and to others that “they know people are getting sick”, but they proceed “because the law allows it”. This behaviour is dishonest, unconscionable, and deliberately allowing a situation where vulnerable rural citizens health is being harmed. This includes the elderly, young children, and disabled citizens, who are less able to remove themselves from this harm. I find that unacceptable, morally reprehensible, and I suspect most Australians would agree with me. Especially when it is utterly preventable, by siting turbines further away, and doing the necessary research to be able to do that in an informed way.

    As a parent, I have every right to insist that people who publicly say one thing and privately admit another, are held to account, especially when it affects my family’s health. As a currently unregistered but trained Rural General Practitioner, who cannot wait to get back to clinical medicine, I find this “willing blindness” or deliberate dishonesty obscene, and the name calling counterproductive.

    Let’s do the research on the existing wind developments, which will help with siting of future developments, and also help resolve the situations at existing developments where people have been driven off their farms and out of their homes. If such research shows that the proposed Crystal Brook Wind Development will not adversely impact my family’s health, or anyone else’s, I have no problem with it proceeding, and indeed will be delighted for my neighbour’s sake that it will help my neighbour’s bottom line. Origin has not yet clearly shown where the turbines will be located, nor have they indicated the type of turbine, its height, blade length, power generating capacity, and the distances between the turbines. All these factors will affect the physical forces generated, and thus the noise emissions.

  12. As a parent and as a doctor you should be acting responsibly. Rather than travelling the countryside whipping up fear and anxiety. Want to look into health effects? Then advocate for studies into all electricity generation and not just the electricity generated from ooooohhh ‘moving air.’
    You claim to have sincere concerns about this technology but you continue to attend ‘tea party’ style public meetings with the likes of Russell, Bromwell and Bell.
    You should be engaging more with academia and others in your profession. Yet you choose to be an activist.
    As for Dr Nina Pierpont, how can anyone take her seriously when her husband produced this:

    Click to access how-to-fight-big-wind.pdf

    Such tone is a sad reflection of public debate in advanced democracies.
    You are a part of this bigger picture because you contribute to the underlying cause – fear.

    1. Leeroy, one could suggest the wind industry start acting responsibly and start working with government and academics to do the necessary medical/acoustic studies of affected residents, in line with the Senate recommendation.

      Or are you suggesting continuing to drive people from their homes in the name of mining the cheap grid connection sites is morally defensible? And that includes a number of turbine hosts, family members as well as neighbours.

      This is a siting issue, in which wind corporations are willing to sacrifice a ‘small number’ of rural folk who happen to live near turbines for the sake of corporate profits. The sooner industry realise this and adopt the spirit of a ‘fair go for all’, the sooner the industry will regain credibility, not only from affected rural folk, but also from the corporate finance sector. The inducements they spray around can only do so much, and cannot hide the truth.

      I was told last week by a confidential source close to industry that the corporate finance precautionary approach is a major concern for the wind industry now. Funds are drying up. Perhaps the finance sector have taken notice of the NH&MRC? It is no wonder also given the lack of transparency of the industry process with communities and palpable contempt for advocates and rural folk who ‘get in the way’ of maximum profits.

      As a former Greens voter it is also palpable disappointment that this side of politics has been deafenly silent over the issue of citizen protection in the name of ‘saving the planet’ through indiscriminate siting of wind turbines. I guess they receive donations from the sector, like most political parties and other cheersquads. I shouldn’t be surprised, but then the Greens are now part of the inner circle and are playing the game (politics and money)like everyone else. And looking to the next election. Power and money are truly narcotic, and turbines are the new lava lamp which has the green movement mesmerised….

  13. Yes, Nina’s husband couldn’t be more anti-wind. She’s as compromised as Sarah. Great activists, but poor scientists.
    Sarah: Noone in the wind industry or government is standing in the way of research. Sure, many think it is a waste of money given the absence of credible evidence for your hypothesis, and most question your motives given the political agenda of the astro-turf group Landscape Guardians for which the Waubra Foundation is a front.
    And don’t for a moment claim that Bob Thorn is impartial. He nailed his flag to the anti-wind mast long ago.

  14. One variable that would need to be included in any study of windturbines & illness would be the arrival of Sarah Laurie into a community or her appearence on local radio. Sarah, would you be prepared to hand over your diary to investigators so that they could map the onset of windturbine symptoms in communities against your movements? The most recent published review (about which Sarah & her ilk have been curiously silent) yet again concludes that “illnesses” associated with turbines are psychogenic (ie caused by attitudes to windfarms and fear of illness) rather than by exposure to turbines themselves. If there was a temporal association between Sarah’s arrival in town & the reporting of illnesses, I’d propose a new “contagious” disease entity “Sarah Laurie Syndrome”. Extremely contagious, with risk factors in victims including (1) not benefitting from wind industry payments (2) deep resentment at those who are (3) deep scepticism about climate change & green energy (4) love of Alan Jones (5) high susceptibility to suggestion

    1. Disease investigator? I would suggest a name change given that nothing you have posted is suggestive of investigation, but rather of strategic smearing. It is a common strategy used by many a vested corporate interest.

  15. A great example of Sarah’s intellectual dishonesty: She says the Victorian government has adopted the precautionary principle, implying that they endorse her views. Time and time again she has co-opted respectable others as agreeing with her, when in fact she paddles alone but for an ugly cabal of climate change deniers and NIMBYs.
    The Victorian government has not adopted a precautionary principle as Sarah states. In fact, Matthew Guy has public stated that he has heard “both sides” and is unconvinced. The Lib’s policy was formulated by the LGs and announced in May 2011, long before Sarah and her fraudulent Landscape Guardian front group, the Waubra Foundation, started their deceptive campaign.
    The Vic wind regs are the result of a NIMBY policy, not public health concerns.

    1. Andros, it is not just Dr Sarah Laurie recommending a precautionary approach. The NH&MRC recommended a precautionary approach in mid 2010 in their rapid review well before the advocacy of Dr Laurie commenced. The NH&MRC reiterated the precautionary approach via Prof Macallum during the Senate hearings clearly because they believed no one in industry or government was heading this caveat. ie the science is not settled, be cautious about the siting of turbines as the effects on human health are unclear. And the Senate has recommended urgent independant research. The Vic government have responded responsibly, but no one else seems to be heeding the NH&MRC advice

      Who then is being intellectually dishonest? Or are you accusing the NH&MRC of deception as well?

      1. The precautionary approach means that Australia has some of the most stringent noise standards for turbines in the world. If we apply the precautionary approach, we also need to consider the cost in carbon emissions for every year we delay and dither on renewable energy as a risk.

        It’s funny to hear those familiar climate denial words “the science is not settled” here. Rather than the science being “not settled” what we seem to have is the inability of the anti-wind campaigners to actually disprove the existing medical research.

  16. Rusdtafarian, again you claim that the Vic government has adopted the precautionary principle. This is dishonest. Their policy was unveiled a year before the senate report, and they have said that the policy was not made on the basis of your claims. (In fact the senate report cautioned against arbitrary setbacks.)
    To claim that the senate recommended “urgent independent research” is also overreaching. They recommended that “thorough, adequately resourced epidemiological and laboratory studies” be undertaken as a matter of priority. No one is standing in the way of this.

  17. Ben, the science on wind turbines and human health is clearly not settled, although you seem to suggest it is.

    To quote Prof Anderson of the NH&MRC in his Senate committee appearance 31/3/11, CA 87, commenting on the Rapid Review statement and literature review:

    “We regard this as a work in progress. We certainly do not believe that this question has been settled. That is why we are keeping it under constant review. That is why we said in our review that we believe authorities must take a precautionary approach to this”

    Prof Anderson also said “…we are very aware that the high-quality scientific
    literature in this area is very thin. That is why we were at pains to point out that we believe that a precautionary approach should be taken to this, because, as you would understand, the absence of evidence does not mean that there might not be evidence in the future…”.

    I think Christine Milne put it another way (in another environmental context) when she said ‘absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence”

    The fact is there is indeed very little multidisciplinary medical and acoustic research in this area, and this is sorely needed in view of the numbers of people suffering or being driven from their homes

    Indeed Knopper and Olson in their recent literature review on p 16 note that “Assessing the effects of wind turbines on human health is an emerging field, as demonstrated by the limited number of peer-reviewed articles published since 2003. Conducting further research into the effects of wind turbines (and environmental change) on human health, emotional and physical, as well as the effect of public consultation with community groups in reducing preconstruction
    anxiety, is warranted.”

    Hardly the words of anti wind campaigners or climate skeptics.

  18. This whole debate reminds me (not that I lived at that time but I lived in the town) of the debate Nuremberg and Fuerth had in 1835 when Germany’s first railway was built. So called “Doctors” and “Experts” as well as many many “concerned residents” complained and requested a “precautionary” approach because some “scientific” evidence suggested that travelling at speeds of 35km/h (!!!) causes headaches, nausea, ear problems, mental disease and finally death. If we would have used the precautionary approach we still would ride in horse carts and live in poverty, but no, some brave visionaries succeeded and built the railway and today we live longer, drive in trains up to 350km/h and still don’t feel anyting. I think we need to get real and stop being hypochonders. We all need power (especially in Australia), there are no real signs of problems in countries like Germany or Denmark and wind energy is the cheapest and most environmentally friendly energy on the planet.

  19. Bernhard,

    Rather than compare the current situation with what happened in Germany in 1835 with new railway technology, Dr Wayne Spring, the Ballarat Sleep Physician who is seeing patients living adjacent to Acciona’s Waubra wind development and Hepburn Wind’s Community Wind Farm at Leonards Hill, has publicly likened the situation as analagous to the tobacco / smoking / lung cancer discourse, and I have to agree with him. There have been warning bells ringing on this issue for quite some time – its high time to properly investigate these concerns. That, and that alone, will allay the mounting concerns, as more and more of this technology is rolled out across the country, close to many rural residents.

    There are indeed problems in Europe, documented by acousticians like Frits Van Den Berg. The problems have been given the name “annoyance” and I have had some interesting discussions with Frits and other acousticians about why the serious medical conditions included in this annoyance “box” have not historically come to the attention of medical practitioners and medical researchers. That is now starting to change, globally, and there is a growing realisation that what acousticians have called “annoyance” for years, could include some very serious pathology. People in Europe are resorting to leaving their homes (if they can) or trying all sorts of home renovations/sleeping in areas other than their bedrooms in order to try and escape from the noise and vibrations, just as they are now all over the world.

    Annoyance and specific health problems have been recognised for many years by Acousticians to be related to exposure to low frequency noise (regardless of the source) in susceptible individuals – Professor Geoffrey Leventhall and his co authors (Benton & Pellear) did an interesting literature review on this issue for DEFRA in the UK in 2003, http://archive.defra.gov.uk/environment/quality/noise/research/lowfrequency/ .

    Moller & Pederson’s recent peer reviewed journal article has clearly shown that actual measurements of low frequency noise emissions from a variety of different wind turbines have confirmed that increasing turbine sizes and power generating capacity are generating proportionately more sound down in the lower frequencies, and it appears that the end results of this are exactly what we are seeing in the field – more rapid onset of particularly serious symptoms previously seen with low frequency noise exposure and more rapid home abandonment (eg at Waterloo in SA where 3MW turbines have been used). Moller & Pederson’s article and the abstract can be located by going to wind-watch.org and using their search function.

    As a result of this new information AND mounting community concern in Denmark, the Danish Ministry of the Environment have drafted new guidelines with respect to limiting low frequency noise, measured inside the home.

    There is an urgent need to actually measure exactly what people are being exposed to in their homes and out in their paddocks when they are getting sick, particularly in the lower frequencies of the sound spectrum, and seeing if there is any correlation between their symptoms and exposure. The stories are utterly consistent globally, even though the symptoms vary between people – specific symptoms are only occurring with certain wind directions, and do not occur when the turbines are not turning. Not everyone gets symptoms, and there is both progression of symptoms over time, and amelioration of symptoms when people remove themselves from exposure for a decent interval – the longer their prior exposure the longer that removal needs to be to return to ‘baseline’.

    To continue to deny the problems despite the mounting numbers of cases and concerned professionals worldwide, not to mention the recent court judgement in Ontario where the judges found that wind turbines do cause adverse health effects on the basis of expert evidence presented, would seem to be ultimately counter productive in the long term. There clearly are problems, let’s work out what they are, what is causing them, and how to fix them, and prevent them. The sooner this is done, the better.

    Disease Investigator,

    Reports of these exact same symptoms precede my involvement and awareness of these reported health problems by some years, so to blame the symptoms’ existence on my involvement in raising public awareness about the issues in Australia is dishonest and misleading in the extreme, or perhaps it is just sheer ignorance.

    Yes, there is fear in rural Australia, based on the stories of the Stepnells, the Deans, the Thomases, the Godfreys, and many others, including turbine hosts and their families. People do not want that to happen to them and their families. They ask me to come and talk about what I have found, by talking directly with affected residents, their treating GP’s, Specialists, Acousticians and researchers from around the world, and I do. They also ask the affected residents to come and talk to them, and they do, if they can, or happily talk via email or telephone, to share their experiences. If you are serious about really “investigating”, I suggest you start doing the same – actually listening to the people listed above.

    No, there is not yet “peer reviewed evidence published in a medical journal” to explain their symptoms, or even describe them, but there is plenty of evidence that there is a problem requiring further investigation. Professor Warwick Anderson, the CEO of the NHMRC publicly stated this in his evidence to the Senate Inquiry, and indeed made it very clear that the NHMRC are not saying that turbines are “safe”. The necessary research has not yet been done, involving collection of real data, by independent researchers in all the necessary fields. We are all asking for the research to be done, properly and independently. This will help give information and certainty for everyone, particularly the wind industry, if it is done properly.

    Given the imminent threat of global catastrophic disaster from climate change, I would have thought this was all the more reason to stop denying the existence of these reported symptoms and support properly conducted research, by those with the skills, knowledge, equipment and open minded problem solving attitude required. Then wind turbines can be placed in the most suitable locations in the knowledge that the planet is being saved, and rural resident’s health is not being harmed concurrently. They do not need to be mutually exclusive.

    In Australia, Dr David Iser reported exactly the same problems occurring in Toora, after the start up of the Toora wind development. This was in 2004, and copies of his reports and letters to authorities are available from him, as well as via the internet, and they were sent to the Victorian Dept of Health at the time. He did a very small case series survey on his own patients, in his capacity as Medical Officer of Health for South Gippsland, and he recommended then that there should be further research. Nothing was done. If you really are serious about “investigating” the problems, I’m sure he would welcome your contact, and would be happy to share his study results with you. He would also confirm with you that most of the affected residents have left the district, because of the seriousness of their symptoms.

    Dr Amanda Harry had reported the same symptoms the year before, in the UK in 2003. Residents at Waubra were reporting their problems in 2009 after the wind project there started up, and there are reports and complaints on file at the NHMRC, Victorian Dept of Health, Pyrenees Shire Council and local General Practitioners well before July 18th, 2010 when I first spoke out publicly of my concerns, at a meeting at Laura near my home in South Australia, well before I had spoken to anyone from Waubra or anywhere else. There are even media reports, for example on Current Affair and ABC Vic Stateline, which confirm the symptoms were being reported well before this date.

    Attempting to discredit me and the work of the Waubra Foundation might give you and others immense satisfaction, but it does nothing to constructively resolve a very real and growing problem, affecting an increasing number of rural residents including particularly vulnerable citizens such as the elderly, children, and the disabled, who cannot easily move away when they start to become unwell.

  20. Sarah, your analogy with the emergence of string evidence about the health harms of smoking is frankly laughable. I do know just a little about this, as you are are aware. I’d suggest that you look up the Bradford Hill criteria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradford-Hill_criteria), which are the standard criteria for assessing causality in epidemiology. The “evidence” on “wind turbine syndrome” would fail miserably on every one of those criteria. I would love a dollar for every time some flaky claim is made that “this is the new tobacco”. Go to Google and search “the new tobacco”: I stopped reading after cars, plastic, cell phones, junk food, dope and cunnilingus (the sexual practice, not the Irish Airline).
    Tobacco kills about 6m people globally every year. Please get a grip.

    On the other hand, the criteria for sociogenic “causation” pole vault this one into gold medal contention.

  21. Dear Simon,

    Dr Wayne Spring was referring specifically to the ongoing denials of the tobacco industry, and to the paucity of evidence in the early days of concern about smoking. With time, because open minded researchers heeded the warning bells, the research was conducted, evidence was collected, and the true harm identified, despite predictable fierce resistance from those who would rather the problems remained hidden. People such as yourself have done much to raise the awareness of both the problems identified by these medical researchers, and the tactics of “big tobacco” business.

    I agree with you that much of the limited current evidence is flaky, but that is no reason not to investigate further, when serious problems are being identified and reported globally with this technology. To the best of my knowledge, the only properly funded work conducted to date has been Dr Alec Salt’s work on the effect of infrasound on the cochlea, through a grant from the National Institute of Health in America. Given the large taxpayer subsidies directed towards the wind industry globally, I would have thought that just a small portion of that money could be devoted to finding some solutions to the problems currently being created for rural residents, significantly affecting their health, not to mention their livelihoods.

    I note that in your oral evidence to the Australian Federal Senate Inquiry into Rural wind farms on 29th March, 2011 that you supported such research.

    Proper and prompt identification of the causative agents and mechanisms of these problems open up all sorts or possibilities. There may well be engineering solutions which can be found, design changes could made to reduce the low frequency noise emissions and vibrations from the towers for example. Dr Con Doolan, from Adelaide University dept of Mechanical engineering is one of the researchers currently involved in investigating these possibilities.

    With the greatest of respect, the warning bells are ringing with respect to wind turbines, when they are sited too close to homes and workplaces. People do not leave their homes for no reason. Vulnerable citizens such as the elderly, children, and the disabled are being affected, and are less able to leave. Turbine hosts are also being affected, and are seeking information. There is every reason to collect the research data expeditiously, evaluate the evidence using proper scientific process, transparently, constructively, in a way that everyone can trust – the industry, affected rural residents, and everyone else.

    Much useful work could be done, for less than the cost of a single turbine.

  22. Now Ms Laurie is claiming that the elderly, children, and the disabled are being affected by her psychogenic syndrome? Must have tested well with the Waubra Foundation’s focus group!

  23. Laurie eschews the label “scaremonger”, yet she gave this quote to a newspaper prior to construction of a wind farm:

    “If I were living right there I would be very concerned.
    “I would be beside myself, now I know what I know.
    “I believe they’re trying to do the right thing and save the planet but if they’re not well informed about what the health risks are they’re potentially making people very sick.”

    Would be interesting to know how the residents who listened to her fared. Anyone know?

  24. (Correcting my earlier comment… )

    Discussion on health and disclosure matters here is welcome to continue. It has been suggested by several people that I hit the “moderate” button a bit too soon, which is probably correct, so I retract my request for the conversation to close!

    Of course if you want to make comments on matters not relating to the original post, please take it to the soapbox: https://yes2renewables.org/the-soapbox/soapbox-wind-energy/

    Yours in moderation,

    1. How many is “so many”? We always hear of these droves of displaced people, but other than a small group of complainants who have forced themselves to move in order to back up their claims of ill-health, this is just plain wrong. If wind farms were really driving people out of their homes en masse, this would equate to many thousands of families around the world. And everyone would have heard about it, it would be big news. (Or do we just have to wait until the 2011 census results are in to observe a population decline in Waubra…?)
      Use of uncited quantitative terms like ‘so many people’ does not help the debate, it’s just the typical semantics of anti’s trying to add weight and credence to their claims that wind energy will kill everyone.
      Just like the lack of disclosure on who is behind the ‘Guardians’, et. al., there is a lack of veracity when it comes to scaring the wits out of people with spurious ‘facts’.
      On the issue of who will perform the recommended studies into health effects from wind energy, we all need to face the fact that if the wind industry performs/supports the studies, NO-ONE outside the industry will believe the results. If the Waubra Foundation did the study, NO-ONE would believe the results. If the government did the study, almost no-one would believe the results.
      Waubra Foundation, round up your displaced populations, bus them to Canberra, and start up a tent embassy. Raise some money, appoint a university medical research lab, and get some serious, demonstrably independent, demonstrably ethical, medical research done to support your claims. Get on with it, so the rest of us can get on with creating new sources of renewable energy!

  25. I have only this morning been alerted to this blog – and that my name has been cited by Sarah Laurie.
    Sarah, since you last sought the support of the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) to your campaign I have learned of the associations and apparent financial support from the Anti-wind farm lobby group. This contradicts your repeated claims to me that
    a) the Warbura Foundation – and you – essentially support renewable energy – including wind energy,
    b) Your primary concern is the citing of these, and the proposed further roll-out despite a paucity of rigorous research into the potential health impacts on humans ( and animals/stock)
    c) You established the Warbura foundation – you have never mentioned to me that Peter Mitchell was a founder, nor of his involvement – nor the involvement of any Warbura foundation members and any links to anti wind farm interests.
    d) This lack of disclosure indeed reeks of dishonesty. That you were attempting to co-opt the support of myself, ANU & the PHAA to gain credibility to your cause – and doing so under false representation is an underhand and misleading approach to campaigning.
    e) I therefore disassociate myself from your campaign and request that you cease citing myself, ANU or PHAA as supporters of your cause, in any format or social media outlet.
    f) I do however retain my across the board support of research to evaluate potential causes of health harm where sufficient evidence of risk emerges, with respect to any field. We live in a reality where this must be balanced against the limited research funding available – ie spurious claims cannot be justified – for that would erode our research capacity into more valid health threats. I also advocate that the process of health risk assessment adopt a precautionary approach. With respect to your campaign, we must acknowledge that the current rate of burning fossil fuels is rapidly driving the human race to a likely scenario of at best a brutish future of ecological degradation, resource shortage of the fundamental staples/ necessities (food/water/arable land), resultant competition & conflict – or at worst extinction (following the worst case scenario of minimal – or “too little – too late” mitigation). Tough decisions therefore need be made, based on best evidence / research and the balance of probabilities of harm. In light of such a future, we have no alternative but to convert to a zero carbon economy, whilst also ramping up the drawdown of GHGs already in the atmosphere. Wind farms must be in that mix of renewable energies, and it, like all the others should be devised safely or as safely as we can reasonably manage, given there are no absolutes.

  26. Thank you for making these important details of your encounter with Sarah Laurie public, Dr Hanna. This is an excellent illustration of why research governance through formal institutional ethics committees is so vital to the integrity of public health research and the way in which information is conveyed to the public. The importance of disclosing competing interests is of basic, fundamental importance here and Sarah Laurie’s public attempts to argue on this blog that the Waubra Foundation is “independent” have been astonishing. It is plainly a deeply conflicted setup with major personal and financial competing interests in key individuals. The affrontery in denying these conflicts is astonishing.

    On Aug 9 2011 Peter Mitchell wrote to a government official “The Waubra Foundation is the only Australian institution actually doing work in the field, accumulating objective data as opposed to anecdotal, researching studies and technical papers from overseas (which are becoming very significant)” This is utter nonsense. There are several researchers who are active on this issue. Mitchell’s letter commenced “Existing Wind Energy Projects (WEPs) do cause serious health problems for people living nearby. This is a fact.”

    This “fact” is of course highly contested, as the most recent peer reviewed overview of the evidence shows http://www.ehjournal.net/content/10/1/78

    And what is the “work” that the Waubra Foundation is doing “in the field”? Is it gathering data from human subjects? Is it seeking to describe this as research? If so, what ethical oversight is being applied to this? If people are becoming anxious and distressed following encounters with the impartial, scientifically detached Foundation members explaining “the facts” to them, what happens? I know that as a university employee, that if I were to cause distress in people I researched, that I would be harshly disciplined and may even lose my job. And if I was to fail to declare the sort of flagrant competing interests that Dr Hanna has described, I would similarly be disciplined, published work possibly retracted by publishers, and reported to my university for scientific misconduct.

  27. Laurie has no ethical qualms with her funder’s coal seam gas and uranium conflicts of interest.

    Laurie has no ethical qualms supporting the work of the climate change denying AEF.

    Laurie says the Waubra Foundation is independent, yet The Waubra Foundation has the same address as The Landscape Guardians which has the same address as Mitchell.

    Laurie says the Waubra Foundation is independent of anti-wind interests, yet among its directors Laurie opposes Crystal Brook, Mitchell opposes Stockyard Hill, Hodgson opposes Collector, Wooldridge opposes Bald Hills and Russell opposes Mt Pollock.

    Laurie says more than 20 families left their houses in Waubra and Toora and had to sign gag orders, yet she can’t produce a scrap of evidence.

    Yet Laurie is the most credible force in the Landscape Guardians…

  28. NIMBY – Next Idiot Might Be You.
    “There is currently no published scientific evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects.”
    “There is no concrete evidence that smoking is addictive or harmful.”
    “There is no evidence that passive smoking affects your health.”
    “Although we are currently exploring the subject, currently there is no evidence that links cell phone usage to brain cancer.”
    “Radiation from cell phones can possibly cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization. The agency now lists mobile phone use in the same “carcinogenic hazard” category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform. Before its announcement, WHO had assured consumers that no adverse health effects had been established. A team of 31 scientists from 14 countries, including the United States, made the decision after reviewing peer-reviewed studies on cell phone safety. The team found enough evidence to categorize personal exposure as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
    Note carefully “a team of 31 scientists from 14 countries”. Who are the authors of the NHMRC rapid review? Was it a panel of expert reviewers? No, it was Dr Geoff Leventhall and Professor Simon Chapman. Was that an unbiased review? Where the authors disclosed to the public? One of the references used in the rapid review is Simon’s own blog on crikey. Credible? The fact that this document is set up as a key reference from which the wind industry denies health effects is, to say the least, extremely troubling. Bias is in direct opposition to the NHMRC’s mandate regarding conflict of interest and statutory responsibility. Who commissioned the NHMRC review?

    Renewable energy in Australia is currently powered by trading on a guaranteed return on investment (Mandatory Renewable Energy Target) and mark to market accounting principles. I suggest that all of you investigate “Enronomics” the economics that make wind turbines appear viable. “On May 10, 2002, following the Enron scandal, General Electric acquired the assets of Enron Wind Systems which is continuing and thriving as GE Wind Energy.” GE wins the international award for non-compliance with generally accepted accounting principles. GE is one of the biggest marketers of wind turbines.
    “It was the nation’s biggest ever corporate collapse, with losses totalling upwards of $10 billion. But those responsible for the debacle that was Babcock & Brown are now in the process of buying their way out of trouble.” On the 4th of May 2009, Babcock and Brown Wind Partners Group changed its name to Infigen Energy. Infigen currently owns the following wind farms: Alinta Wind Farm (WA), Lake Bonney 1, Lake Bonney 2, Lake Bonney 3 (SA), Capital Wind Farm and Woodlawn Wind Farm (NSW). “Infigen’s financial outlook remains clouded by the continuing low wholesale price of electricity, with little chance of any improvement in the year ahead. Debt remains at twice the level of shareholder funds, with interest payments of $87.9 million in the latest year alone a continuing constraint on its financial performance. A further $250 million in debt is to be repaid over the next two years, after which the balance sheet will still remain stretched. For most investors, Infigen remains a punt on the effect of the federal government’s proposed carbon tax.”

    What exactly are you saying yes to? The development of wind farms in an entirely unregulated environment driven by enronomics? The discrediting of the whistleblowers? Wind turbines may fit with the ideals of renewable energy, the real measurements are an entirely different matter. May I suggest that friends of the earth may do some “on the ground” investigating and live in one of the affected homes for a week to discover for yourselves what is actually going on? Then tell me there is no evidence.

    Simon, if you where to fall on your sword, and instigate credible research, you would be able to ensure that Australian resources are directed toward the development of viable renewable energy solutions. Thank you for smoking.

    1. *Yawn*

      While you’re on about economics Daphne, why not apply the same scepticism to fossil fuel industries being subsidised with taxes from the public?

      So Babcock & Brown sold off assets, it doesn’t diminish the effectiveness of wind farms, it only calls into question the double standards employed by state and federal governments where they happily bend over backwards for the fossil fuel industries while making it difficult for renewable energy companies to get a start.

      And of course you don’t acknowledge the fact that existing coal-fired generators are opposing clean energy every step of the way, assisted by selective government legislation that only half-heartedly supports green energy. Generators who bought what were once publicly owned and financed assets. Generators and distributors who haven’t committed to any ongoing network upgrades for the last couple of decades but of course are now screaming how tough they are doing it because they have been forced to deal with the new kid on the block, renewable energy.

      Generators and distributors who are using all sorts of excuses to jack up electricity prices because of their own incompetence and lack of investment.

      When it comes to NIMBYs, you guys do double standards better than anybody.

  29. The wind industry is mch bigger than one company, so trying to smear them – and the basic technology itself – by some kind of “guilt by association” relating to Enron doesn’t really prove very much.

  30. Dear Daphne,

    A few responses: First, there IS plenty of evidence that smoking is addictive & harmful. But there isn’t credible evidence that exposure to wind turbines is harmful. Check this review out http://www.ehjournal.net/content/10/1/78 and then get back to me. Note particularly one statement: ” People who economically benefit from wind turbines had significantly decreased levels of annoyance compared to individuals that received no economic benefit, despite exposure to similar sound levels.” Sound familar?

    Your next example — about mobile phone causing cancer — is also a problem. In 2006 I worked in Lyon, France at the WHO’s nternational Agency for Research in Cancer (IARC) where the international study on cell phones was coordinated. One of the lead scientists on it works in my School now and has presented on it here often. I’ve myself published on public fear about mobile phones & cancer, so I’m very interested in it. The finding that mobile phones are “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” is in fact one of the very weakest statements that IARC ever issues about a possible carcinogen. You should read the langauge they use when something DOES cause cancer. Here’s a graph from the Australian Institute of Health & Welfare’s cancer data cubes showing what has happened to the incidence of brain cancer in Australia in the years before and since mobile phones became almost universally used.
    You would be hard pressed to look at that and see any evidence for a rise in brain cancer, despite nearly everyone in the cvommunity having used them now for many years. And the rate in women is actually going down! (women spend more time on the phone than men).

    So your rhetoric that “these scientists finally worked out what we always knew” is I’m afraid wrong.

    I have spend several weeks near windfarms in the Languedoc region of southern France. They didn’t bother me at all.

    I don’t understand your final paragraph. Last sentence was rather unnecessary, no?

  31. Firstly, thank you for posting my comment and allowing the discussion. It is widely unknown that the authors of the rapid review are Dr Leventhall and Simon. This does not constitute an unbiased panel of experts. I am very aware that there is a huge amount of evidence regarding smoking. My point was that the statement, “There is no concrete evidence that smoking is addictive or harmful,” was used by the Tobacco industry and supported by government for a long time.
    I stayed near one in France is not going to cut it. Smoking is a choice. Using your phone is a choice. Living next to a wind farm is a choice only IF you can afford to relocate or are relocated by the industry.
    Blaire, “assisted by selective government legislation that only half-heartedly supports green energy”. The only current legislation I am aware of is very supportive of green energy.
    Ben, “this is not guilt by association”. These are hard facts about the industry. There is a pattern of heavy investment, followed by share price falls and bankruptcy. This would be normal business except that there is an extraordinary level of fraudulent profiteering occurring. That is, the funds are relocated to the private accounts of the CEO/board before the bankruptcy. The force that drove the wind industry in the USA is Enron. Please don’t take my word for this, investigate it yourself. Read “GE Decades of misdeeds and wrongdoing”. As far as the Australian experience goes, Infigen is the only company that I have studied, so it is not the basis for comments or generalisation. It is the basis for further investigation. Is anybody investigating?
    Many people believe that the existence of wind farms makes them economically viable. Is this true? I am asking you to question what is going on. Wind farms have been operating in Australia for over ten years. We have ten years of real measurements and data to study the amount of renewable energy that is generated, and at what cost. There is a dramatic difference between the claims and the reality.
    Simon, I have read your reference already, I will study it more closely in order to debate it with you. I will however, comment regarding, “People who economically benefit from wind turbines had significantly decreased levels of annoyance compared to individuals that received no economic benefit, despite exposure to similar sound levels.” Yes, it does sound familiar; I’ve heard you say it repeatedly in interviews. Have you read the confidentiality clauses contained in the contracts?
    As for my last paragraph: ‘Falling on one’s sword’ is now restricted to the figurative usage when someone takes personal responsibility for a group action. If you where to instigate and support credible research, research that has been recommended by every single person in the debate, including the wind industry and the government, you would be able to change the direction of our clean energy future. Our government will look at supporting the research “in five years”. In five years there will be a very large number of turbines operating across a huge area of our environment and affecting many rural residents.
    You are right, my last sentence was unnecessary. If you had understood it, you would not have pointed out that there is evidence of the harmful effects of smoking.
    P.S. Who did commission the NHMRC review?

    1. Daphne said, “ The only current legislation I am aware of is very supportive of green energy.”

      Then clearly you aren’t very aware of important details. Don’t you know that the Baillieu government has effectively nobbled any new wind farm projects in Victoria? Meanwhile the Queensland government is making it dead easy for coal seam gas projects to go ahead despite real concerns about polluted aquifers, leaking gas and the destruction of productive land? No rights of veto for the landholders.

      And then we have the New South Wales government and its leader who has publicly declared he doesn’t want to see any windfarms constructed in that state.

      As for your conspiracy theories, I know of two local landholders who signed confidentiality agreements and while they didn’t disclose the contents, they assured me they had no qualms or problems signing the agreement. As far as they were concerned, the agreements were perfectly reasonable. What they did have issue with was the vandalism of their properties from a few NIMBY hotheads who opposed windfarms. Unfortunately the project was dropped.

      Does climate change concern you or not?

  32. It’s widely unknown that I was an author of the NHMRC rapid review because I wasn’t an author of the NHMRC review. This is so amusing, I can’t tell you. I send a submission to the review and a tiny fraction of what I submitted was included in the final report — maybe one or two sentences. Please pass this to your list, Daphne & let them all know that their silly conspiraciy theories have come yet another cropper. I can send anyone who wants it my submission in about 10 seconds.

    I have 4 blank confidentilaity agreements I have obtained from four Australian companies. None of of them have “confidentiality claues in them”. This is what I suggest we do Daphne. You send me a copy of a contract with a confidentilaity agreement in it (ink out the names of the people concerned) and I’ll send you one in return (with the names of the companies inked out) for each one you send me. My email is simochapman@gmail.com (simo .. not simon .. that was already taken). Send this to as many people as possible in your movement and let’s see how many we get.

    Somehow.. I think I’ll be waiting a very long time, because I suspect that this is an “urban myth” (well, a rural myth”) being spun on country people by the city fossil fuel lobby who are behind the Waubra Foundation & the Landscape Guardians & are taking decent country folks like you for a giant ride while they laugh all the way to the bank.

  33. Daphne could you please provide some basis for your statements? even just a little bit would be useful to try and back up your claims. Without this unfortunately your comments are unbelivable. For example it is widely known that Enron failed due to trading of gas and electricity contracts. Enron controlled the gas generators, which they turned off to cause a shortage and a spike in electricity prices which they profited massively from – did you see the movie “the smartest guys in the room”? Are you putting as much effort into campaiging against gas generation?

    At least Sarah Laurie gives references. This has allowed me to look them up and see how blatently she takes statements out of context and selects only the information that suits her causes. Many of her references actually demonstrate why wind turbines do not cause health problems. Simon has also been good enough to clearly state the basis of his assumptions.

    To be sure not to be hypocritical, here is a reference of my own for you to look up…..

    Click to access 20110915_SouthAustralianWindPower_DO_LHO.pdf

    In short wind is working fantastically in South Australia to lower emissions and provide much needed energy without increasing prices.

    I look forward to your references.

  34. hi all, given the original post that we are all commenting on was about honesty and disclosure, I thought I might just add this note about ‘Daphne’.

    He/ she is posting from the Department of Parliamentary Services ISP, Canberra. That does beg the question, are they one of our nuttier MPs who are opposed to wind energy – there are a few that come to mind, or a staffer of one of them?

    Please feel free to tell us your real name, Daphne. If you believe what you’re saying then don’t hide behind a screen name, please show the courage of your convictions. The truth will set you free.

  35. Good morning everybody,
    I’ll address each issue: Firstly apologies to Simon and Dr Leventhall for stating they are the authors. I was wrong. Are they the peer-reviewers? Is that a panel of experts? Is that credible? Remembering that we are speaking of references that include Simon’s own blog on crikey. This post is about disclosure. This is a matter of public health. It is not the fault of any particular person. Whoever would have imagined that wind turbines could make people sick?
    I am aware of the actions of the Baillieu government. a) Is it legislated already? b) would you describe that action as adopting a precautionary approach as is recommended by the NHMRC?
    I am not saying anyone has a problem with signing the confidentiality agreements. I am asking if they can speak freely once they are signed? Simon, I have noted your request for proof of the clauses. I am aware that this does not involve every development company in Australia, I know of one company that does not It will take me time to do this, but I will do it. If you refer to Trish Godfrey and Spain, you will note that she can only speak when subpoenaed to court. Do I have your word that if I do this:
    a) you will make public the results? and
    b) you will answer the question raised above as to the peer-review? and
    c) you will attempt to investigate and /or disclose who commissioned the review?
    Richard, I will reference my claims. I was hoping that you would all look into this yourselves and form your own opinions. Here’s a small start, there is a lot more information available:
    Quote: “The President of the Renewable Industry in Spain (wrote a column arguing that) …the only way [to get our country out of debt] is finding other countries that will give taxpayers’ money away to our industry to take it and continue maintaining these jobs.” Here’s a great idea, let’s volunteer Waubra.

    Click to access calzada.pdf

    I am aware that the media is hardly a credible reference. However, I would like us to discuss this aspect of the industry further.
    Simon, I have read your submission and I will read it again.
    Am I concerned about climate change? ABSOLUTELY. I care enormously about the environment and every person and animal that lives in it.
    What exactly is the conspiracy theory to which you are referring?
    With regards to my identity, Who is Daphne Sinclaire?? On what grounds is he/she asking these outrageous questions? You have plenty of clues 😉
    Kind regards,

    1. ah, the plot thickens!
      “With regards to my identity, Who is Daphne Sinclaire?? You have plenty of clues”

      Daphne is a bit too coherent to be my first guess…. a certain federal MP we have recently been sparring with.

      1. Cam, maybe, just maybe “Daphne” is Barnaby Joyce posting when his meds wear off? 🙂

        Daphne, I note you did not address the fact that Ted Baillieu has killed new windfarm projects in Victoria, windfarms are opposed by the New South Wales Premier, and in Queensland, coal seam gas projects are getting a free ride while wind is being assisted only marginally. Do you still claim legislation is supportive of green energy – in spite of the evidence against your claim?

    2. Just to clarify, when Daphne wrote: “Quote: “The President of the Renewable Industry in Spain (wrote a column arguing that) …the only way [to get our country out of debt] is finding other countries that will give taxpayers’ money away to our industry to take it and continue maintaining these jobs.”

      She is not directly quoting the President of the Renewable Industry in Spain, but the author of a thoroughly discredited study claiming that for each job in renewable energy, about 3 more are lost in the rest of the economy.

      I don’t know enough Spanish to search for the original article in Spanish I’m afraid, so we don’t know how accurately this rather partisan source is referencing and paraphrasing the original article.

      Not a useful quote for the purposes of our present discussion.

  36. Yes makes alot of sense to me now. When ever I have had a chance to dig through anti-wind rhetoric there is either not much in it, with a few lines taken badly out of context, or is based on reports writting by parties with conflicts of interests. I’m getting stronger in my belief that wind energy is now a real and genuine threat to traditional energy sources. The last thing you’d want to own right now is an old coal fired power station!

    1. Spot on Richard, why else would the anti-wind mob spends so much time whipping themselves into a frenzy if wind energy was as useless as they claim? Their actions betray their rhetoric.

  37. The old Spanish study eh…. The guardians were waving this around years ago – before they focused on more emotive poppycock. Job loss claims from Spain were slammed by the government and slammed by trade unions. But hey, don’t let that stop you!

  38. Ben, I gave you the reference to the original paper above. Here it is again. It is in English.

    Click to access calzada.pdf

    For the record, non-compliance with generally accepted accounting principles is not a conspirary theory. Better put the REC price up again until carbon pricing begins…
    I notice that no-one has commented on a blog on crikey being used as a reference for an important public health document.
    Why did a large company withdraw their support of the clean energy council? If it possible that they know there is a health issue?
    Anyone looked at the output data in MW hours yet?
    Perhaps, just perhaps, I may have be giving some credible people and credible organisations a “heads up.”
    Nevermind, I must have forgotten to take my meds again.

    1. Daphne.

      What are you trying to say with:

      “Why did a large company withdraw their support of the clean energy council? If it possible that they know there is a health issue?”

      Is that some convoluted conspiracy theory about Origin Energy and Grant King?

      If you have a credible, evidence-based argument to make about the Clean Energy Council, what is it?

      The CEC is a cautious and prudent supporter of the wind industry and quite open to engaging with sensible critics. What are you alleging?

  39. Albphne,
    What is the point that you are making about the HNMRC having referenced a blog? I edited an international reseach journal for 17 years and can assure you that these days, referencing material on the internet is very common. You seem to subscribe to a rather archaic view of what a “proper” reference is.

  40. My point is that during the review process, there was a large amount of information that was not included in the review on the basis [note: basis, not fact] that it was not published in a scientific peer-reviewed journal. This is to ensure the credibility of the statement. i.e. ensure that it is free of compromise/bias. So my question is: If all of that information was screened by the process of review, how was a blog by the peer-reviewer included in the reference list? That reference list is a disgrace. This puts to question the credibility of a statement that has played a key role in the siting of turbines and the development of wind farms across Australia. I apologise for my naivety in the support of the archaic process of peer review. I am aware that the latest trend across all parties of Government is pal-review. Are you going to take that 10 seconds to email me a copy of your submission?
    Anybody asking who commissioned the writing of the public statement yet?

    October 1, 2011
    To the Editor of the New York Times:
    ‘Not So Green Mountains’ [9/28/10] exposes environmental destruction that should serve as a conscience call to environmental groups that support wind energy. Vermont’s desecration is as earth friendly as as Cape Wind plans to pile drive 130, 445’ foot wind turbines into Essential Fish habitat, squid spawning ground, in the North Atlantic Flyway, with endangered species present.
    Wind turbines require one ton of the rare earth metal, neodymium, per megawatt of generating capacity [note: name plate capacity – not actual output – Richard, have you got real-time data on this yet?]. Greenpeace Toxics expert Jamie Choi states:
    ‘There’s not one step of the rare earth mining process that is not disastrous for the environment.”
    A 10/25/10 White House Briefing by Carol Browner and Larry Summers that mentions Shepherd Flats $2 billion dollar wind project offers a clue:
    “Skin in the game: The government would provide a significant subsidy, (65+%), while the sponsor would provide little skin in the game (equity about 10%).”
    It’s not about the environment.
    Thank You,
    Barbara Durkin
    48 Moore Lane
    Northboro, MA 01532
    Telephone: (508) 612-4133 (day and evening)
    Reference for rare earth mineral requirements for wind turbines:
    Quote from Greenpeace Toxics expert Jaimie Choi:
    White House Briefing Browner Summers Oct 25, 2010:

    Click to access WH-loan-guarantee.pdf

  41. Must be a slow day in Canberra with the tax forum and all….
    ‘There’s not one step of the rare earth mining process that is not disastrous for the environment.”
    So what. This is an issue for all electrical generators (regardless of what spins them) all electric motors, computer, hard drives, headphones, speakers and “LASERS.”
    Wind turbines, like all human activities, have an impact on the environment. Its just that they have the least impact on the environment and human health in their manufacture and operation than all other forms of electricity generation…

  42. Hi Albphne,
    You seem to be rather excited about what you perceive to be a some sort of conspiracy within the NHMRC to somehow corrupt the process by which the review was undertaken. Your puerile remarks about “pal review” are a further indication of your naivety, I’m afraid. Obviously the NHMRC is going to select people with appropriate expertise to review its work. And obviously people who work in a field like public health often know one another because we meet at professional meetings, committees etc. The community would want to be very concerned if none of us ever knew or communicated with each other.

    I was invited by Prof John McCallum to be a reviewer and was sent the draft statement for comment. I have known John for many years (as I have known 100s of people in Australian public health), but would have had cummulatively perhaps 30 minutes of conversation with him in the past 10 years on all topics. I don’t recall who else were the reviewers, but it would be no secret — I suggest you ask the NHMRC for a list of who they used. I have a long career in public health and have published several papers on risk perception and communication, and used to lecture our postgraduate students at Sydney University on this area. Since (as many researchers have pointed out) there is plainly a major sociogenic component to claims about wind turbines causing illness, including a reviewer who was a social scientist was appropriate.

    The NHMRC’s conclusions are consistent with every review on this issue known to me (there are at least 5 now).

    I will gladly email you a copy of my comments to Prof McCallum when you have the courage to declare who you are. I somehow think you might have to live with the moniker “Daphne” thereafter.

  43. Hi Simon
    There is nothing conspiratorial about the NHMRC. I am simply asking who commissioned the review.
    The NHMRC has been asked who the peer-reviewers where. Yourself and Dr Leventhall. According to the NHMRC, this is not public knowledge at the reviewers’ request. From your posts, I would read between the lines that it was not your request. That has confused me, considering that you are one of only two peer reviewers.
    You are right, the NHMRC’s conclusions are consistent with all other industry reviews.
    The NHMRC statement is pivotal to the development of the industry and the denial of health effects and it has not been peer reviewed appropriately. My understanding of peer review is that it is a process of self-regulation by a profession involving a panel of experts.
    Of further concern is that yourself and Prof. McCallum have only had 30 minutes to discuss “a major sociogenic component to claims about wind turbines causing illness”, and all other health matters over the past ten years. There is nothing conspiratorial about that. It is purely: did not have time/ did not happen.
    Is a sociology degree a basis for disregarding a growing number of medical diagnoses?
    I will remain Daphne. I will still ask you to post or email your comments to Prof. McCallum as this may lead to protective factors being included in the research.
    Thank you.

  44. Hi Albphne,
    I’ve no idea who “commissioned” it. It wasn’t me. The NHMRC keeps its fingers on the pulse of public health issues, both serious and hysterical, and presumably does not need “commissioning”. I sign all my reviews for journals (many prefer anonymity) as I think anonymity is a coward’s castle.
    Medical diagnoses (insomnia, hypertension, anxiety) are one thing. The cause of those (very common) conditions, quite another. Have any of the handful of GPs doing the diagnoses got any epidemiological or social psychological research training, or do GPs including unregistered ones with zero research publications just “know”?

  45. Dear Daphne,

    Thankyou for providing the references for your statements. However I think they say more about corporate behaviour in the USA than anything about wind energy – the Financial Crisis is testomony to that! The articles you reference even touch on one of the reason for Enron’s failure – getting the gas market rules changed then playing them to their own advantage. Enron getting into Wind had nothing to do with their failure and GE’s issues described in the articles also had nothing to do with wind energy. It’s notable that the only business unit from Babcock and Brown to survive was the wind section (that became Infigen). Presumably this was because that was the only company that had any decent assets in it. Once again I find that the arguements against wind are tenuous and links to the fossil fuel industries are evident.

    Here is a very interesting link to a story on a web site that is pro-nuclear and usually critical of wind energy. They have fairly given a right of reply to articles written by Peter Lang that are based on info from the Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States reports that criticise wind. It is revealing indeed.


    Note that the conclusions in this article: that wind energy actually reduces CO2 by MORE than what was expected, is consistent with Windlab’s findings on the South Australian electricity market when market data from the system operator was analysed, as per this study:


    Here is also a great story on the positive spin offs of wind. There are many cases like this in Australia too. It’s a shame these benefits to rural communites are being held back by a noisy (and often wealthy) few.


    I also find the rare earth issue to be interesting. The use of permanent magnets and therefore rare earth metals in wind turbines is very new and mostly used in Chinese manufactured wind turbines. Most manufactured outstide China still use traditional generators without permanant magnets. Linking polllution in China to the wind industry as a whole is a big stretch.

    Keep the references comming! The more disclosure the better!

    (PS if us taxpayers are paying your wages don’t we have a right to know who you are?)

  46. Hi Everybody,
    I do not have evidence of this as the telephone conversations where not recorded. I have spoken with three employees from Origin. One ex and two current. All confirmed (again, not evidence based as not recorded) that the company is aware of the health problems. They have been trouble-shooting on low frequency noise issues with the Uranquinty gas fired peaking station (acquired from Babcock and Brown) and the Crockwell Wind Farm for some time. With such senior people involved in noise issues, is it any wonder that Origin doesn’t want to be involved with the Clean Energy Council who are knowingly putting residents health at risk through fraudulent claims, poor planning and facetious development applications in rural Australia.
    To be associated with such companies as: Acciona (Spain propping up their green jobs with Aussie dollars), Suzlon (Indian – you better comment on that yourselves), and GE (Enronomics) is not a clever move for a company with a conscience.
    Reference for fraudulent claims (this is just one example):
    Around 80% of the submissions where positive…
    52% of the submissions where positive.
    I have emailed you a copy of the Suzlon contract (Doc 20091007).
    The most relevant clauses are;
    • 6.5 Noise Impact – Whereby the Landholder is required to accept that “the Wind Farm will create noise” and they therefore, indemnify the operator against any claims, and
    • 17.7 Confidentiality – Which states: “The Landlord may not conduct interviews with media organisations or other members of the public or issue press releases or other announcements unless the Tenant has first approved the content.”
    More contracts to follow. When Suzlon was asked, “why are you doing it, knowing that people are getting sick? The reply was: “the law allows us to.”
    Simon, how do you relate the protective factors (those not benefiting financially are the only ones getting sick) to landholders that have been offered the hosting of turbines and rejected them? In these cases, there clearly is no jealousy due to not being offered promises of payment and no animosity for missing out.
    To those in the industry:
    Stop denying the health effects that you know exist. Stop sacking employees that know about the health effects. Stop changing ownership of the wind farms so that the residents have to start the complaints process again with a new company. It is in your best interests to start investigating the complaints EFFECTIVELY without the cover of the NHMRC statement which is a concocted perjury.
    May I go on to suggest that a system like this needs to be set up for tracking noise measurements:
    Airservices Australia also has an effective complaints process. Call the noise control unit on 1800802584.
    All of the above is fact based. Here’s a conspiracy theory for you:
    Clean Energy Council = Clean Energy Finance Corporation + ARENA fund (13.2billion), or is that too obvious?
    Here’s some light reading:
    It is notable that a very large number of the submissions sent to the Inquiry into Australia’s Clean Energy Future have been supressed from publication:
    “The committee has received your email as correspondence. While the committee considers the views in correspondence, it does not publish correspondence on its webpage. This does not lessen the importance of your contribution, however only those documents that went to specific detail about the Bills were published as submissions.”
    Who the *#!^ is Daphne Sinclaire?? (Oh sorry, that was your question) 

    1. Hi Albphne, “how do you relate the protective factors (those not benefiting financially are the only ones getting sick) to landholders that have been offered the hosting of turbines and rejected them? In these cases, there clearly is no jealousy due to not being offered promises of payment and no animosity for missing out.”: Well, obviously I’d want to first have written evidence that they indeed were offered to host turbines, and not just a stat dec — I’d want to see the offer. And then, assuming authentic cases existed, I would want to research the medical records of those people to see if they had a previous history of the complaints they now attribute to turbines; and I’d want to question others about whether those people had pre-turbine opposition to turbines (because this is known to be correlated with illness claims; I’d want to see medical record histories of those people post-exposure, to see how long they had been exposed to turbines before they claimed to be ill; and I’d want to do this is a population case-control or (ideally) cohort longitudinal study, not just on a case-by-case basis. In any community, common health problems like sleep disturnbance, anxiety, first diagnosis of hypertension happen every week. So I’d want to be able to see if the “actual” rate in the community of such problems in people exposed was any different to the “expected” rate in those people calculated from the known rates in the general population.

      As to the “gag” clauses, pretty obviously any company is going to want to prevent those hosting turbines speaking publicly about certain matters such as how much a landowner is being paid — because this can vary & allowing those contracted to publicise the money they are getting can affect the ability of the companies to negotiate one-on-one with each landowner. You are obviously suggesting that these clauses would somehow extinguish a hosting landowner’s common law rights to claims of negligence. My legal colleagues tell me that this is absolute nonsense. The turbines are not silent, and plainly any company is going to want to protect themselves from fortune-hunting vexatious complaints, so they get people to acknowedge that they are not noise-free.
      The claim you people make is that people with contacts who claim to be really sick because of the turbines cannot tell anyone. This is rubbish, as I exepct you know.

    2. dAPHne writes:
      “To be associated with such companies as… Suzlon (Indian – you better comment on that yourselves) … is not a clever move for a company with a conscience.”

      So they are indian and therefore we should dissociate from them. Is it the colour of their skin? The accents they speak with? How can this be construed as anything other than a crude racial slur? What charming people campaign against the wind industry.

  47. On second reading, its best to post the whole clause of Suzlon’s contract 17.7 Confidentiality:
    17.7 Confidentiality
    (a) The parties acknowledge that this Lease and all information relating to or incidental to it, supplied to or obtained by them is confidential.
    (b) The parties must take reasonable steps to ensure that they, their employees, advisers and agents do not disclose any part of this Lease or any information relating to it without the prior consent of the other party or otherwise as required by law.
    (c) The Landlord may not conduct interviews with media organisations or other members of the public or issue press releases or other announcements unless the Tenant has first approved the content of the disclosure and has otherwise consented to the use of the Tenant’s name in association with that disclosure.

  48. Remembering that this post is about disclosure…

    From: “Committee, New Taxes (SEN)”

    Date: 7 October 2011 1:52:22 PM AEDT

    Subject: RE: SCID Online Submission Received: Carbon Pricing 2010

    Dear Mr ,

    The committee wishes to thank you for your email.

    Due to the content of your email being outside the terms of reference for this inquiry, the committee has declined to accept your email as a submission.

    However, the committee has accepted your email as correspondence, so that it may help inform the Senators in their consideration of the Carbon Tax.

    Please note that your email has not been published or made available to the public. Please also note that your email is not protected by Parliamentary Privilege.

    Thank you again for your contribution to this inquiry.

    Yours sincerely

    Committee Secretary

    1. Albphne: Are you saying that the Department of the Senate is in on some sort of conspiracy?

      As for the CEFC and ARENA, you are way ahead of me, again.

      Are you saying that the CEC supported CEFC and ARENA because of the money that would go to renewables like wind?

      1. Dank, nice one to use the mug shot of a punk icon with cigarette as your motif.
        Wasn’t a diehard fan of the Clash’s music, but I saw the Pogues in concert at the
        Cambridge folk festival in ’85 – memorable high energy stuff.

        Sadly, I gather Joe died from an undiagnosed heart defect. Probably not helped by the cigarette.

        I guess like cigarettes, turbines were also cool once upon a time, but current evidence suggest that turbines also pose cardiac risks. Urgent research is required.

        ( I am sure Disease Investigator can fill you in)

      2. What evidence is there that turbines pose cardiac risks? Next you’ll be saying they give people diabetes.

  49. I am saying, FOLLOW THE MONEY. The reference to the CEC and CEFC/ARENA can be viewed as a conspiracy theory as the connection between the three is not yet fact. The other very important points I have aired are FACTS. People reading this should be OUTRAGED. I am also posting the evidence of the suppression of very important, incriminating evidence regarding the Inquiry into Australia’s Clean Energy Future which did not have terms of reference (therefore all information should be included, processed, published and investigated). This site has not suppressed my posts, therefore we have an open and transparent discussion occurring. This is not the case with the Inquiry into Australia’s Clean Energy Future. The Inquiry has suppressed a very large number of submissions addressing of a number of probity issues. Therefore the people that are asking questions about these very important issues and are privy to confidential information are not protected by parliamentary privilege (and therefore can not DISCLOSE information without legal or personal threat.) This industry is unregulated. Where is the energy ombudsman? What is the Attorney General’s office doing about this (apart from stopping the ACCC ruling on a government advertisement)? Where are the forensic accountants? What are the Economic Regulators saying? (see ref. below). What the blazers is the Office of Renewable Energy Regulator regulating? (when asked about the million dollar solar rebate fraud in Queensland, the answer was “its not our job, small businesses have to carry out their own due-diligence.”) What happens when the regulators don’t regulate, the accountants don’t audit, and all parties of government support the industry?

    Click to access 20110810%20Public%20Version%20-%202010%20Annual%20Wholesale%20Electricity%20Market%20Report%20for%20the%20Minister%20for%20Energy.PDF

    (Read the executive summary. – N.B. that’s the public version. While you’re there, check the nameplate capacity of wind farms against the actual output in MW hours. And start asking what that figure (based on real, measurable data) applies for SA, Vic and NSW.
    Each and every one of you reading this needs to start investigating this mess before the carbon pricing model crumbles. Either that or you can continue firing at the whistleblower and claiming that its not your responsibility. Lets get this cleaned up before Australia’s Clean Energy Future dissolves into taxpayer robbery.

  50. P.S. Simon, you said that I wouldn’t be able to produce those contracts. I now have, and I am collecting more. Now you’ve changed your request, saying I have to produce a turbine host with serious symptoms and a medical history. I will. I have noted that you haven’t sent me one of your contracts as you promised.

  51. @D. The CEC welcomed CEFC/ARENA but the idea did not come from them.

    The new Chair, from AGL, has expressed concerns about ‘crowding out’ private investment in RE.

    That’s the ‘money trail’ is it?

    You seem upset about the WA SWIS situation. Its not something I have looked into.

    What exactly is the allegation you are making about WA?

  52. @Dan. I’ve told you that:
    Wind turbines are making people sick. The industry is denying this repeatedly. The NHMRC statement is concocted purjory. There where only two peer-reviewers, both are extremely biased. One of the references is a blog by Simon Chapman (the peer-reviewer) when the NHMRC claims that many peer-reviewed references were ignored on the basis that they were not peer reviewed. That almost all of the references used in that document are compromised (one is listed twice.) That the NHMRC has recommended a precautionary approach that has not been adopted. That the industry is knowingly making people sick, hiding behind confidentiality clauses and is supported by fraudulent trading practice. That the planning guidelines are dangerous. That the government is not regulating planning conditions or the industry.
    That the government is suppressing information that should be made public and refusing to protect witnesses with parliamentary privilege.
    That it is highly debatable (open to discussion) whether there are any measurable benefits to wind turbines at a massive cost to the environment (Ask Acciona about their employee/contractor that is a dog trainer – bird kill retriever), (Hepburn Wind’s Leonard’s Hill turbines are erected in a protected bird corridor). Etc.
    That the entire Great Dividing Range is mapped out for wind turbine development. That this includes 8-10,000 turbines.
    That a wind turbine could not power a kettle on its own.
    That the carbon pricing mechanism is going to take $105 billion out of Australia’s economy by 2020.
    AND YOU THINK I’M UPSET ABOUT THE SWIS in WA?? That is a reference discussing the economic contribution of intermittent generators. Please read the executive summary. I was just asking if anyone can tell me what the actual output measured against the nameplate capacity in MW hours is. My research shows it is AT BEST 38-42%. The money trail is much bigger than the CEC.

  53. Daphne, what’s the big deal about capacity factors? There’s no lie or deception there. Snowy Hydro has gas turbines with capacity factors below 10%. Junk them? What exactly is your point, other than to show that you are very confused.
    As for bird kills, Acciona’s performance has been reported on this blog before. The average turbine at Waubra kills about two birds a year. None listed, protected or endangered. Mostly magpies. Chances are you kill more birds each year in your car. Difference being that each turbine generates about as much energy as 1000 houses use in a year (do you dispute this?), while you only generate conspiracy theories and taxpayer-funded hot air.


    Dear dAPHne, please keep your long rants to the point. Working the word DISCLOSURE in capitals into every point you make does not make it more relevant. And try not to go over things that have been thoroughly covered elsewhere on this blog. For example, the point about nameplate capacity is an old bogey that’s thouroughly discredited as a criticism of wind. You write bucketloads of assertions and insinuations, little new info. Try to be concise and to the point if it isn’t too hard.

  55. @Daphne
    “Wind turbines are making people sick.”

    Absolute rubbish. Are you sure you aren’t an anti-vaccine proponent looking to spread your unsupportable claims into other fields?

    The fact of the matter is that nobody has been able to demonstrate a wind turbine has caused ill health. No doubt some people have managed to convince themselves (or been convinced) that wind farms are bad for them but that doesn’t equate to a direct cause.

    Seeing as you haven’t answered my earlier questions I won’t be holding my breath waiting for an honest, objective, rational answer from you to the following questions – but I live in hope.

    Why aren’t people who are getting paid to host turbines on their properties getting ill?
    Why are you not apoplectic at the huge number of animals and birds dying each day on our roads?

    Please try and keep your conspiracy theories out of your reply. Ditto for conjecture and all your unproven claims. Just address and answer the questions honestly if you can. Thank you.

  56. The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russel

  57. Sadly the Waubra Foundation are at it again – theres a letter in our local paper (Castlemaine Mail) without any disclosure about their connection to anti-wind groups.

    And, of course, the ‘guardians’ continue to remain completely silent about the growing risk of CSG and new coal operations here in Victoria. What a surprise. If you want to see health impacts, try living near a coal mine.

  58. Best quote yet from Daphne:
    “a wind turbine could not power a kettle on its own”.

    You do realise that all the time s/he spends writing their long raves on this website means at least they are not stuffing up the country by actually doing anything in Parliament, yes? So please keep responding to her/his comments, it keeps them busy!

  59. @ Ben, I apologise profusely for the comment regarding India. I should have been aware that that could be misconstrued as a crude racial slur. I don’t have an excuse for that.
    @Alex, My point is that I would like to see some real output data. Clearly, I require more information. For example, if the advertisement states that x wind farm generates enough electricity to power x homes, is that based on the nameplate capacity or the actual output over 12 months?
    @Blaire, read these for the latest discussion on legislation: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/jscacefl/report.htm – keeping in mind that there where 4500 submissions made to the Inquiry and only 70 of these have been published and are covered by parliamentary privilege. That’s less than 1.5% of the submissions.
    @Cam, Can a 2MW wind turbine power a kettle without base-load power? What would you like me to be doing in Parliament? I am very concerned about CSG, that it appears the land-owner can not stop this from occurring, and the very toxic affect on our ground water. Here’s today’s questions for you: Corexit has now been used in NZ, as an oil dispersant known and found to kill sea life and people. Why has this been allowed? Who sold the Corexit to NZ, how much is NZ paying for it, who authorized the use of Corexit in NZ, who is going to do the clean-up of the clean-up of the Corexit and who’s going to be responsible for it just drifting away with the tides? Apologies Ben, I know that’s off the point.

    1. Apology accepted, although I still don’t quite get what you were trying to say, if it wasn’t calling all Indians corrupt.

      And yes you really are drifting off the topic. You can make any general comments you like if you just go over to the soapbox (click on link at top right of page).

    2. “What would you like me to be doing in Parliament?”
      – not spreading weird conspiracy theories about wind energy would be a nice start.

      re your Question on base load: not going to dignify that with a response.

  60. both are extremely biased – didn’t tell you what you wanted to hear?

    protected bird corridor – no such thing

    wind turbine could not power a kettle on its own – yet to see a kettle rated at 33kv to test this
    confidentiality clauses – antis have yet to produce one. Apparently Dr. Seuss gave a copy to the Senate behind closed doors.

    recommended a precautionary approach – do nothing anywhere, other than CSG and open cuts

    Great Dividing Range is mapped out for wind turbine development – that would be great if it were true

    tell me what the actual output measured against the nameplate capacity in MW hours is – call Australian Energy Market Operator – ask them about hydro and solar too. See what they have to say about South Australia [other than pie-floaters]

    The bird-dog at Waubra died – probably from infrasound

    Oil dispersant known and found to kill sea life and people – as does the oil it is trying to disperse.

  61. Well I’ve got the easiest to answer.

    “My point is that I would like to see some real output data.”

    All the real output data (for every significant generator) is available free of charge from AEMO, in excruciating detail. The antis have even built a website where you can view it: http://windfarmperformance.info

    But to understand what it means, check out http://www.windlab.com/sites/default/files/20110915_SouthAustralianWindPower_DO_LHO.pdf

    Hang on, you won’t trust that because Windlab’s name is on it. So read AEMO’s “South Australian Supply Demand Outlook”. It says the same thing but in another 100 pages. http://www.aemo.com.au/planning/SASDO2011/sasdo.html

    “For example, if the advertisement states that x wind farm generates enough electricity to power x homes, is that based on the nameplate capacity or the actual output over 12 months?”

    It is based on the actual output, though in the planning stages it is using the predicted output. Simple. No deceit there. How silly the antis look for continually asking this question when the answer is so boringly and consistently honest.

    As for whether a wind farm could power a kettle? Most wind farms produce energy more than 80% of the time (not at the nameplate, but who cares?). So the answer is yes, most of the time. But that’s a silly question because NO-ONE has ever said that wind farms are base load generators.

    Look at SA. They are making a BIG difference and there’s been no reduction in reliability, just a reduction in emissions and cost.

    Yes, energy is complex. But if you are going to represent us in discussions about our energy future, you owe it to all of us to get up to speed.

    (a) The Landowner may not disclose any information in relation to this Agreement (including, but not limited to, the existence thereof) and the transactions contemplated in this Agreement to any person.
    (b) Despite clause 9(a), the Landowner may disclose information in relation to this Agreement and the transactions contemplated by this Agreement in the following circumstances but only to the extent and the persons necessary:
    (i) If the disclosure is required by law;
    (ii) If the disclosure is to the Landowner’s legal or business advisers, to members of the Landowner’s family, or to the Landowner’s insurer;
    (iii) If the information is required to be disclosed to the Landowner’s business partners and the disclosure is covered by a confidentiality agreement;
    (iv) If the information is required to be disclosed for the purposes of applying for planning approval for the Wind Farm;
    (v) If the information is already in or comes into the public domain (other than as a result of the party’s breach of this clause);
    (vi) If the disclosure is required in order to perform its obligations under this Agreement;
    (vii) If the information is required to be disclosed to a mortgagee in order for the mortgagee to consent to any action required by this Agreement; and
    (viii) If it is require to be disclosed to a bona fide prospective purchaser of the Lease Land (where GRWF has consented to the sale).
    @Alex, Thank you. Point taken. I will study this diligently.
    @Simon, You haven’t emailed a copy of the your contracts as promised.

  63. Daphne the clauses you are quoting are very normal confidentiality clauses that accompany most commercial arrangements. They are in the documents to protect all the work and knowledge (Intellectual Property) that goes in to developing each wind farm. If someone has a genuine health complaint these clauses could not stop them speaking out about it. OH&S law in any state in Australia would prevent any kind of hiding behind such contracts. A true ‘gag’ clause would probably not be enforceable. I’ll leave you to research the law.

    The issue hear is that there arn’t any health issues caused directly by wind turbines. I would accept that there probably are health issues caused by anxiety created by people making up rubbish!

  64. Richard is right. The clauses Daphne posted are completely normal for any commercial contract (across all industries) and would not prevent anyone from “going public” with a health complaint. Those common law rights just can’t be contracted away.

    This was discussed in the senate inquiry. Dr Seuss was asked to prove that there are gag clauses. She requested the hearing closed to the public while she replied and the subsequent senate report had nothing to say on the matter. Obviously the good doctor’s evidence was no stronger thank the Epuron snippet above.

    Don’t agree? Why don’t you use your parliamentary privilege to expose these evil gag contracts?


  65. Speak of parliamentary privilege, Alby has said some offensive things about climate scientists being like Nazis etc, from behind the proection of the House.

    I don’t think this is a misuse of privilege He should be disciplined, in good time but until then, he could restore his credibility by repeating the assertions outside Parliament and having them tested in the courts, for libel and defamation.

    Until then, he is a coward and the public may begin to wonder if he tells the truth, or if he does not.

  66. Confidentiality clauses were posted re:
    “I have 4 blank confidentilaity agreements I have obtained from four Australian companies. None of of them have “confidentiality claues in them”. This is what I suggest we do Daphne. You send me a copy of a contract with a confidentilaity agreement in it (ink out the names of the people concerned) and I’ll send you one in return (with the names of the companies inked out) for each one you send me. My email is simochapman@gmail.com (simo .. not simon .. that was already taken). Send this to as many people as possible in your movement and let’s see how many we get. Somehow.. I think I’ll be waiting a very long time, because I suspect that this is an “urban myth” (well, a rural myth”) […]” Simon Chapman.
    You are right they are normal confidentiality clauses. They are not a myth, nor a conspiracy theory. Confidentiality clauses of this nature are standard in contracts where technology and IP are involved. It would appear to be unreasonable for them to operate to prevent someone disclosing a health complaint to the wind farm operator.

  67. Thats whos’who map really does show how much Simon knows about the Antis. He forgets to mention people who have kicked more wind industry heads than the rest of them put together.

  68. If you think those confidentiallity clauses are “normal” in any business situation you clearly have not done much business!
    They are one of the number one reasons why many windfarms have never made it past the stage of trying to get gullible farmers to sign up. I know of at least 5 families who were chased by would be hawthorn president andrew newbold with his dodgy contract, needless to say none of them would sign it which equally no windfarm.

  69. Almost 400 years ago Francis Bacon wrote about illnesses:
    “If you fear them, you call them upon you.”

    Would work well in the Waubra Foundation’s business plan.

  70. So Sarah you are now lobbying journalists about wind farms and property values?? – straying well away from the health debate I see – or do reduced property values make you sick too?(see below….) How about being honest about your motives. The sickness theory is just a way to opose wind farms isn’t it?

    From: Sarah Laurie [mailto:malpasarah@westnet.com.au]
    Sent: Wednesday, 16 November 2011 1:19 PM
    To: Dr Sarah Laurie
    Subject: concerns or hard evidence about what happens to property values around wind developments

    Dear All,

    There is a journalist who is interested in investigating and exposing what is really going on with property values in and around actual and proposed wind developments, to provide factual information as distinct from the all too familiar “no evidence of a problem” line espoused by the developers, the clean energy council and others with a vested interest in this industry. She has just written a piece in the Australian on the weekend about the issues down in the South East of SA with Richard Paltridge. She is based in Mt Gambier, but covers stories nationally.


    If any of you have had property on the market for ages and can’t sell, or valuation notices which clearly show that values have dropped, or formal valuations from real estate agents which show the difference between the value if there is a wind development compared to no development, that would be really useful information for her – she does NOT necessarily need to provide details of who you are and where you are, although that would help give the story credibility if you can provide those details.

    If anyone is interested in getting in contact with her, please feel free to contact her directly – details are below:

    Here is Liz’s details.

    email: lcotton.rns@gmail.com

    Ph: 040 185 4638


  71. Why not compensate the people around the wind farms? then this wouldnt be a issue would it?
    At least the victorian government have made that part of the new rules within 2km, makes it much easier for everyone and they know where they stand.
    Although the way wind farms are falling over everywhere at the moment i would doubt to many of the developers have got a cent to rub together these days.

  72. I see that the Boorowa district landscape guardians has posted a u-tube video suggesting that wind energy does not reduce CO2 emissions on their web site (ie this one….. http://www.atinstitute.org/ati-environmental-law-center-v-state-of-colorado-renewables-mandate-pt-1-pollution/). This article is based on a report by gas consultant BENTEK that was funded by the ‘Independant Petroleum Association’ in Colorado. It was intentionally comissioned to criticise the integration of wind energy. This is NOT an independant study and its findings go against government data. (see here for a critique…

    Here is another very good critique of anti-wind farm guff…

    BDLG are you now going in to bat for the petroluem industry? What type of energy do you really support?

  73. In the interests of transparency; it is of more than passing interest that Dr Sarah Laurie brings tobacco into the windfarm argument.

    In her Dec 2011 submission to San Diego Dept of Planning (Wind Energy Zoning POD 10-007) Dr Laurie cited a paper by Professor Carl V. Philips PhD. This is the same Professor Carl V. Philips who runs tobaccoharmreduction.org, a site promoting smokeless tobacco supported by big tobacco companies such as Philip Morris and BAT Co. Prof Philips has given evidence that chewing tobacco doesn’t cause cancers of the mouth, very much a minority view.

    Here above (Sept 25 2011) Dr Laurie posted a reference to the DEFRA (UK) review by Professor Geoffrey Leventhall. In an article (“It’s an Ill Wind That’s Blowing”, Ballarat Courier 30/5/2012) she cited Professor Leventhall’s 2003 DEFRA study of the health impact of infrasonics from windfarms as “relevant” and “credible”. She wrote; “This review detailed symptoms and a pattern of their occurrence, which the author has subsequently publicly admitted is identical to ‘windfarm syndrome'”.

    Only two minutes with Google showed that due to persistent misrepresentation of this study Professor Leventhall issued a statement in September 2004 which concluded “I can state quite categorically that there is no significant infrasound from current designs of wind turbines.”

    Given that this direct rebuttal has been public and widely quoted for eight years, and appears on the very first page of a Google search on Prof Leventhall’s name, it is simply implausible that Dr Laurie is unaware of it, or that she has been unknowingly misrepresenting Prof Leventhall’s work.

    In the same article Dr Laurie is deceptively critical of the NHMRC “inexplicably” failing to cite Prof Leventhall’s 2003 work in its 2010 “Rapid Review”, which she calls “now infamous”. The reason is very simple; the review repeatedly cites Prof Leventhall’s more up to date 2006 work.

    I must also contrast Dr Laurie’s favorable May 2012 characterisation of Prof Leventhall with “Daphne Sinclaire’s” vitriolic attack on him here above (Sept 29 2011).

    In the Courier article Dr Laurie also claimed consistent symptoms of windfarm syndrome up to a range of 10 kilometres.

    Professor Styles et al study of the Eskdalemuir/Dunlaw windfarm detected ground vibrations at a range of 10 kilometres. Again, because of persistent and gross misrepresentation of this study by windfarm opponents, in February 2008 Styles and team issued a lengthy statement of rebuttal that said in part “There is no possibility of humans sensing the vibration [at 10km] and absolutely no risk to human health. … There is no scientific evidence to suggest that infrasound has an impact on human health.”

    I have now repeatedly found that Dr Laurie’s representation of citations cannot be taken at face value and must be checked at source, and that they typically resolve to being misrepresentations, as above.

    A more up to date report is “Wind Turbine Health Impact Study: Report of Independent Expert Panel”, January 2012, Prepared for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

    The eight “Expert Independent Panel Members” included experts on Sleep Medicine, Public Health, Environmental Health, and Epidemiology. The panel conducted a very wide ranging and exhaustive investigation focused on the topic of the potential health impacts associated with wind turbines, the review including the Ambrose & Rand “Bruce McPherson study”, the Leventhall et al “Expert Panel” review, and Nina Pierpont’s 2009 “Wind turbine syndrome”.

    It found, in part;
    “There is no evidence for a set of health effects, from exposure to wind turbines that could be characterized as a ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome.'”

    It is a sad fact that, lacking real evidence, windfarm opponents have resorted to misrepresentations of research as supporting their contentions when in fact they do the opposite. Nina Pierpont did it with a technical paper by van den Berg, Dr Laurie continues to do it with Leventhall, Styles, and the NHMRC, and Hepburn Wind opponents have done it with Chouard, C. H. (2006). “Le retentissement du fonctionnement des éoliennes sur la santé de l’homme.” Report to National Academy of

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