Renew Economy: More wind energy myths debunked: Madigan claims put to the test

Since entering the Australian Senate in July 2011, lone Democratic Labor Party senator John Madigan has emerged as a staunch opponent of wind farms. The Senator’s anti-wind farm position is articulated clearly in a short policy statement published on the DLP’s website.

Those of you who follow the wind energy debate closely will spot the whoppers a mile off. For those of you who are new to the debate, wind energy observer Mike Barnard has published a thorough debunking of Senator Madigan’s position at Renew Economy.

Barnard’s article addresses the claims listed below with forensic detail. But before you read on, I’d like to remind Victorian readers that you are one of Senator Madigan’s constituents. If you are troubled by the Senator’s position on wind energy, you are entitled to let his office know about it. The Office of Senator Madigan can be contacted in the following ways:  

Ballarat Office: 17 Albert Street, Ballarat, VIC 3350. Phone: (03) 5331 2321.

Canberra Office: S1.24 Parliament House,Canberra 2600. Phone (02) 6277 3471.

Wind Reality 1:  Wind is not heavily subsidized in Australia or the rest of the world

  • The claim: The Democratic Labor Party (DLP) opposes this highly subsidised method of generating electricity

Wind Reality 2: Wind farms are financially viable and are reducing consumer electricity costs in Australia

  • The claim: Senator John Madigan has questioned the viability … of these expensive, ugly machines

Wind Reality 3: Wind power improves the health of Australians, unlike coal energy

  • The claim: Senator John Madigan has questioned … so-called reports that have been commissioned on the health effects of  … of these … ugly machines. The DLP will push for the retention of our cheap, clean and efficient coal fired power stations.

Wind Reality 4: 100% of people polled agreed that wind farms are much more aesthetically pleasing than diseased lungs on a stainless steel tray

  • The claim: Ugly blights on our landscape

Wind Reality 5:  There are about 200,000 wind turbines operating today, and maybe a thousand inactive (and rapidly being replaced) world-wide

  • The claim: California, which once boasted some 80% of the world’s wind generation and operated in some of the world’s best wind sites now has over 14,000 abandoned wind turbines scattered around there [sic] countryside. As Andrew Walden from “American Thinker” …

Wind Reality 6:  Replace all fossil fuel generation with wind energy, save 70 million birds a year

  • The claim:  As Andrew Walden from “American Thinker” put it, they are “spinning, post-industrial junk which generates nothing but bird kills.”

Wind Reality 7: Wind energy has been a tremendous success story in Europe and continues to provide clean, safe economical power there

  • The claim: Germany has moved back to building new coal-fired power stations and Holland recently slashed their renewable subsidies there.  European taxpayers have reportedly wasted over 285 Billion Euros on subsidising renewable energy and this alone should be a warning to our government and the taxpayers of Australia. 

9 thoughts on “Renew Economy: More wind energy myths debunked: Madigan claims put to the test

  1. Thanks for posting this Leigh, Mike’s article is fantastic but I wonder if Sen Madigan is even interested in objective, factual evidence? He seems to be more interested in making a name for himself than helping Australians get cheaper, cleaner, reliable energy.

  2. These machines make chronic noise when you stand 1 km away. People leave there homes. They don’t do this for fun. Senater Madigan just wants something fair for people who are forced to live next to these properties. It’s easy to tell everyone what to do when it’s not you who’s family farm looses its value and you can’t sleep.

    1. Mark, have you ever been near a wind turbine? Probably not seeing as you rely on anecdotes from others. Yes a few people have managed to convince themselves that wind turbines affect their health but they are a definite minority. I doubt you’ll find anybody who argues they should not be assisted.

      The vast majority of people who live near windfarms have no problems with them. How do you explain that? Keep in mind that most of these people do not derive any direct financial benefit. I’m curious as to why you are willing to believe a few very selected anecdotes but you choose to ignore 17 reviews showing no link between wind turbines and ill-health. Then there is the inconvenient fact that around the world, millions of people live close to wind farms without any problems?

      Are you a member any of the so-called “Guardian” groups? Those same concerned citizens who are silent on issues like CSG and coal mines, industries that are known to cause real health issues.

      Have you considered the possibility that Sen Madigan is really only interested in raising his profile to help improve his re-election prospects?

  3. Thanks for the comment Mark. I’ve heard many accounts of people sleeping just 1km from wind turbines without any problems.

    Do you think Senator Madigan has any political motivations for campaigning against wind farms?

  4. A wind farm is not unobtrusive. But neither is a coal-fired plant. Anything that generates hundreds of megawatts of power needs to be treated like the major industrial operation it is.

    On the other hand, anyone who takes his cues from is asking to be seen as a joke. There seems to be little there besides invective and deep-sounding but unfounded prophesizing.

  5. Madigan is completely captured by the antiwind lobby. The guys running the show, Mitchell, Wooldridge, Hodgson & Co all despise and deride him privately, but hey, your enemy’s enemy is your friend!

    1. Having watched his efforts in the Senate hearing committee on windfarms and health, he doesn’t seem to be the brightest jewel in the collection. I think he’s just trying to make headlines in case of a double dissolution election in the next couple of years.

  6. It looks as though Senator Madigan has replaced Senator Fielding – possibly on the basis of manipulation of numbers associated with second preference voting.
    I can hardly believe that the DLP is popular enough in its own right to deliver a senator.
    Is this an argument against preferential voting?

    I have put the question before on this site!
    Do the opponents of wind farms have an alternative that will preserve the livability of the planet for the future of life in its miriad forms?

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