What will it take for facts to overcome fear about wind turbines?

Published by Environmental Law & Litigation. View original article by Dianne Saxe.

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People who actually live with and host wind turbines on their properties are rarely heard in the emotional debate on wind farms and health. Australian filmmaker and researcher Neil Barrett is giving this critical group a voice in his excellent short film,The way the wind blows. Evidence around the world has shown that those who earn money from turbines don’t get sick from them.

In the film, 15 hosts from the central Victorian district near Waubra tell what it’s  really like to live surrounded by large wind turbines generating renewable power. Waubra has become a byword for allegations about adverse health effects, because of a well funded lobby group, most of whom reportedly don’t even live there.

Those who do live there explain that turbine hosts at Waubra earn A$8,000 a year for each turbine on their land. This means that wind power can “drought-proof a farm”: a land owner with ten turbines can ride out a tough year, thanks to the reliable income from wind power. And those who get paid from turbines don’t get sick from them.

This film adds to the ever growing evidence that so called “wind turbine syndrome” is a contagious nocebo effect caused by fear and dislike of turbines, and not by the turbines themselves. See more at The Conversation. There is also a great supporting clip at Ontario’s http://www.whitepineswindfarm.ca/.

38 thoughts on “What will it take for facts to overcome fear about wind turbines?

  1. Perseverance and evidence, two resources in abundance among clean energy proponents. Every day turbines operate is another day exposing the lies of wind energy opponents. It might take another five years but by then, the fiction and denialism of wind farm opponents will be easily visible to all. The only thing propping them up at the moment is the current intransigence of Conservative governments. They won’t stay in power forever. In a decade or two, people will look back and wonder what all the fuss was about and why some people scared themselves stupid inventing all sorts of horror stories about clean, renewable wind energy. I just hope they are also made to pay for the unnecessary damage they inflicted on the community.

    1. I love that last sentence.And likewise the fossil fuelled wind companies will pay in the end for the damage done to rural areas and people.And yes the facts will win in the end but not as you have been dreaming.

  2. Well your hearing from a victim right now. My Dr. now has me on two med’s just trying to sleep in my own bed. The noise can be simply life altering. surrounded by vesta’s v-82’s one .less than 1000′ from my HOME. You want to now what it will take, stop making victim’s like me.

      1. How do you explain the fact that the vast majority of hosts don’t suffer any problems from turbines and that most of the people complaining about noise are in areas where wind farm opponents are active, or have been active? Do you have any evidence to demonstrate you did not have some adverse effect from sound before the turbines were constructed? Were you active in supporting other people in cities and under the aircraft flight paths, along highways and railway lines on the issue of noise or did you only suddenly become interested when you believed you were affected? Which wind farm do you live near?

  3. I can tell mr Donaldson is not strong on facts if he did a bit of looking he would join the dots of wind companies oil companies and fuel generators.Some of them are all the same company.But he dosent want anyone to know that.You really need to get your head out of your own backside it is shameful Donaldson.The clean green companies you adore are some of the biggest fuel users of all.Look I will make it easy for you BP owns wind farms do you know who they are ?????.So now you can fill the car up at BP and have that feel good feeling that you desire so much idiot.

    1. Chris, please point out anywhere that I might have claimed wind farm developers were not related to or associated with fossil fuels? As for facts about wind energy, I think I have probably forgotten more about aspects of wind energy than you have ever bothered trying to learn. I’ve been following wind energy developments since the 70s, what about you? Why didn’t you mention AGL or Origin Energy who have interests in renewables and fossil fuels? Maybe you didn’t know?

      Why do you ignore the fact that companies like Pacific Hydro deal only with clean energy sources? A group of companies the Australian Stock Exchange refers to as “ethical investments” – I realise ethics isn’t your strong point but I digress – virtually all those companies deal with environmental, clean energy/renewables at some level Are you saying they don’t exist?

      You’d be surprised what I know about BP, you apparently can only read headlines and make up the rest from there.

      PS your desperation to try and look relevant and informed is showing. You have failed on both counts. Look in the mirror before you accuse others of not being strong on the facts. Those who know me would laugh at your stupid, childish, grossly uninformed comments.

      1. Pretty close. Do you deny Peter Mitchell has financial interests in mining and fossil fuels? Or do you just ignore the inconvenience of evidence that highlights your denial? While you’re at it check out the funding sources for the so-called Australian Environment Foundation and the IPA.

      2. So now that we have established you have a faulty memory and poor comprehension skills, can I assist by answering any other questions you may have? I know you and TCW have limited attention spans so I’ll try to keep the responses brief. Fire away…

  4. There are hosts in this windfarm that are having problem but they are not allowed to complain, It’s in their contract. I have lived in this home for 17 years, and know full well what the noise level was in my bedroom before the turbines were put here. My long time physician wrote a letter to the Fond du Lac county board of Health with her opinion on how this windfarm has hurt me, that board voted unanimously followed by the County board to send a resolution to the state asking for a health study to be done on wind turbines and health.
    I live surround by turbines, 8 within 2000′ in the Blue Sky-Green field wind ghetto in Fond du Lac Wisconsin

    1. “There are hosts in this windfarm that are having problem but they are not allowed to complain,”

      I am truly sorry if that’s the case. It certainly isn’t the case here in Australia. There is nothing to stop any host from complaining or demanding something be done about mitigating noise – the evidence for this is the fact that a very small number of people do publicly complain. The only contractual restriction is on public discussion of hosting payments for the use of the property. Commercial in confidence. Ideally there would be no need for even this but that’s the way the lawyers operate these days.

      Did you receive much information for or against the project before it was commissioned? If so what?

      For your information, because of personal experiences with threats, blatant lies and silly propaganda from wind farm opponents here, generally using some variation of “guardians” in their name, and having done a lot of surveying around the community, I know resistance to projects is nowhere near as great as opponents would have us believe. Nor do hosts and adjoining land holders have any issue with sound from the wind farms. I also know that no amount of evidence will convince opponents.

      These same guardians who claim to be especially concerned about their environment have been completely silent on issues such as the expansion of coal mines and coal seam gas projects in the region. A little investigation revealed that some of them had interests in those same projects. In any case it does highlight their hypocrisy and special pleading when it suits. One family in particular is notable because both brother and sister (Mary and Michael Wooldridge) have been in state and federal politics respectively. Both are climate change denialists and both have (or had) property interests near one of the local wind farms. The brother is also a director of a sham research foundation (Waubra Foundation, funded by Peter Mitchell, investor in fossil fuels and minerals) that claims to be doing research on renewable energy. In reality it’s nothing but a fossil fuel funded scam promoting misinformation for purely self-interested purposes.
      http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Waubra_Foundation
      http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Sarah_Laurie
      http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Peter_Richard_Mitchell

      Unfortunately there is also a non-practising doctor from South Australia parroting the nonsense from Nina Pierpoint, going around the countryside frightening people unnecessarily and filling their heads with pseudoscience. For this and other reasons mentioned above I have become very skeptical about claims made by wind farm opponents. Where opponents are not active, no complaints have been registered. The correlation is revealing.

      I know wind farms are not silent but for most people, the sound is not significant, nor does it affect their lives. Case in point are the owners of our local bookshop who moved from Melbourne to a quiet rural retreat. Their block of land was purchased around five years after the wind farm was constructed. The home is modest and has no special sound reduction material built into it. It has five turbines easily visible from their house and the turbines can be heard when the wind is blowing in the right direction. Distance to the closest turbine is around 800 m., maybe a little more.

      I have visited their home on several occasions unrelated to wind turbines but I did ask them what they thought of the wind farm near by and if it affected them. Their answer was a definite no and they honestly do not understand why people claim to be affected.

      I sincerely hope you find some appropriate assistance to mitigate the sound and/or have the option of a fair buyout if you decide that it’s in your best interest. Thank you for your civility.

    1. No Joan, it was directed at Donaldson, don’t bother arguing with him, it will get you no where.You have my full sympathy, his kind great take delight in mocking people who are suffering the effects of wind turbines, that is why we show them no mercy when they rear their ugly heads.

      TCW.

    2. Joan, what TCW is really saying is that she would rather you didn’t hear both sides of the story. Inconvenient things like easily checkable, independent evidence is an anathema to them.

      1. Joan, how exactly does the wind farm affect you? Is it only the sound, the visual aspect or a combination? Is it worse with certain wind directions? What’s the name of the wind farm you are talking about?

  5. Thanks blair for confirming I was right.Fossil fueled wind companies.You are so good you even answered your own question.10/10 you got full marks and sorry I thought you you were an idiot I was wrong its just you ego that’s bigger than texas.I too know a great deal on wind power but im not looking for a medal and don’t choose to tell the world how good I am.

      1. Gerard, you seem to be as confused as TCW and Chris, you lot are so practised at exaggeration and distortion, you don’t recognise a straightforward answer.

      2. No Blair I am not confused you are a bully that likes to play the man (or woman) when they do not agree with your narrow view of the world

      3. And Blair before you go looking for conspiracies I was using Peter’s ( a near neighbour) computer at his place and I did not realise it had his email address permanently attached to response.

      4. No need to worry Gerard, but thanks for your concern. I know that conspiracy theories are the sole province of climate change denialists, alternative medicine wackos, anti-vaxers and fundamentalist religionists. I.e. categories that describe you.

        Did Petey breathlessly rush over to your place to update you on my latest post? Never mind, next time don’t trouble yourself to respond, neither of you are able to offer anything of value to the discussion if you discount your ego stroking, distortions and insults. It’s bloody funny that you even need to explain yourself. Feeling guilty maybe? You guys are a crackup, you should be on the stage.

      5. Blair, talk about egos they don’t come much larger than yours. We all hold our breath until we get a learned utterance from you.

    1. TCW, unlike your world which is flat, the rest of us live on a revolving planet and in different time zones, we have other things to do other than immediately responding to your childishness the minute you post something. The only reason I answer any of your questions is for the benefit of objective readers and those who aren’t poisoned by the ignorance and stupidity you display.

      As for “my story”. It’s nothing special, I’ve been interested in and followed renewable energy developments since the early 70s. I grew up on a farm that was bought by the government because of the coal under the ground. Once very productive land is now a bloody great hole. A bit like the one in your head. While the coal-fired generators have had to clean up their act, they still pollute the water and the air and are able to receive government funding while avoiding Environmental Protection Agency requirements that no other industry can. Wind farms by comparison are clean and the energy source is renewable, forever and free.

      As for people complaining about wind farms, I have no doubts that a very small number of people are adversely affected but local experience suggests even some of those affected individuals are in part suffering from believing misleading information spread courtesy of cranks like yourself. There are approximately 7000 people living living within a 3000 m footprint of the two existing wind farms in this area and nobody is ill because of them.

      One thing I have noticed is that proponents of renewable technologies are generally optimistic, informed, intelligent and humanitarian while opponents of green technologies, like yourself, tend to be selfish, uninformed, and lacking any real, testable evidence to support your rants, resort to ad hominem attacks.

      I worked in a medical research laboratory and saw many people suffering from a variety of truly horrible cancers – not that there are any good ones, compared to those people, wind farm opponents haven’t got a clue what real suffering is like.

      Finally, I respect the scientific method unlike you and I am concerned about the effect profligate living is having on the planet and how it will affect the generations of people and other species that follow us. The IPCC is providing advance warning that we need to moderate and change how we obtain energy. The researchers are well-qualified and know what they are talking about so I will defer to their better judgement rather than believing the hideously insane comments from people like yourself.

      I hope that answers your question. So what’s your story, where do you live and if you had your way, what energy sources would you prefer to see developed? (I’m assuming here that you are capable of dropping the aggro for a few minutes and responding in a sane manner – it’s a big call but as I stated earlier, I’m mostly an optimist)

  6. Sound and vibration’s. The wind direction has a very big influence on the effects. when your home is in the wake of the blades our walls and windows will shake. As I have mentioned before our home is surrounded by turbines with one less than 1000′ from my homes foundation, that one Sir I believe will be the death of me.
    The Industry is in the public realtions nightmare they are in because of the Heartless Manner
    in which they have disregarded those of us left in the wake of this nightmare.

    1. Thanks for the information Joan. Can you tell me the company who owns the wind farm and the name of the project?

      Did you get the option to have sound mitigating modifications to your home? Insulation, double glazed windows etc?

      Is it audible sound that worries you or infrasound?

  7. Bluesky Greenfield northeast of Fond du lac Wi. you can figure the rest, i do not trust them. And No, no one here has been offered any type of mitigation at all. As to the sounds, the physical noise they produce can be horrible to try and sleep with, they are always at their worse in the middle of the night. but I do believe there is more to. something is causing a good number of us to have migraine headaches, with no history of them..Go out of the footprint they go away. return they return. Is it the infrasound? I don’t have a clue. That is why we have asked our state to come in and test us. both my teenage son and I have developed high blood pressure too. No family history. Something is very wrong here.

    1. Joan he really doesn’t care about your problems.Blair just wants to get as much information from you so he can twist the truth and use it to rubbish you and call you a nutter.Keep strong and carry on it will all come to an end soon.And forget about blair he will never admit there is a problem he is like the tobacco industry it is all good for us.

    2. Thanks Joan, not being a US resident I don’t know much about Wisconsin, hence my questions. How far from the turbines do people experience the effects you describe?

      Despite the childish comments from Chris, I am interested in how you are affected and what you believe the cause is. Unlike Chris, I try to look at things objectively based on evidence along with my own experience with the two local wind farms near where I live.

      I don’t doubt your claims or that you may be hypersensitive to certain sounds, your comments are similar to the claims made by the small number of people here in Australia regarding turbines.

      The problem is figuring out the exact cause and finding a way to mitigate it. The fact is, as much as you and some others would wish the turbines disappeared, they won’t and in time, more will be constructed in your state, country and around the world. If you and others cannot beat them, somehow you’re going to have to learn to live with them. It probably doesn’t seem fair to you, believe it or not for an entirely different reason I can relate to your frustration, but in both our cases, the problem won’t go away and in my case, I try to find solutions that are acceptable to everybody.

      I think it’s best to work with companies and while I cannot speak for US-based ones, there are none here in Australia that do not try to work with the local communities and those who had some problems. No doubt some others here will try to tell you differently but if they do, they are lying. The other problem is that here in Australia at least, we have an unqualified, unregistered doctor (Sarah Laurie) running around the countryside spreading fear among communities where turbine projects are proposed. The natural thing for most people to do is believe what a supposed doctor is telling them and become weary of conflicting advice. It’s perfectly understandable. But she never told them she is unqualified on the subject of sound, she never tells them 19 separate reviews of research papers relating to wind farms has shown no conclusive link between turbines and ill-health. She never tells them she cherry picks information and deliberately misrepresents the findings of some audiologists who have criticised her claims and methodology.

      To date Sarah Laurie and her fellow wind farm opponents have claimed over 100 health complaints supposedly directly caused by wind turbines. Never mind that every condition is found quite commonly in any community. The claims are not very different from those who say they have RSI, ill-health from cellphone towers, mobile phones or aircraft flying overhead from nearby airports.

      Because I know what is happening here where a total of over 7000 people are living within 3 km of two separate wind farms and nobody is raising health concerns, I’m skeptical about many of the claims.

      That is why I asked you if you had any pre-existing medical conditions before the wind farm was built. I’m attempting to eliminate all possibilities before forming a conclusion. Is that so wrong?

  8. He just seemed so clueless as to the reality of the life we live now I thought maybe he could be taught the truth but it’s hard to fill a cup that is already full. I’m done.. Thank You Chris.

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