Wind turbines are quieter than a heartbeat, acoustical experts find

Published by Climate Progress by Ryan Koronowski. View original article.

article-2274483-17630517000005DC-645_468x353One complaint voiced by wind turbine opponents is that the turbines create too much noise — even noise below the range of human hearing, known as infrasound. These concerns fuel claims about “Wind Turbine Syndrome,” which advocates say is a medical condition that involves mental health problems, heart disease, and vertigo.

A study by an acoustic engineering group in Australia found that that infrasound generated by wind turbines is less loud than the infrasound created by a listener’s own heartbeat. It found that wind turbine infrasound does increase as wind speed increases, but this is often masked by the natural noise of wind moving through the area. Continue reading “Wind turbines are quieter than a heartbeat, acoustical experts find”

Wind turbine would help RSPB fight climate change

Countering the argument that wind turbines heavily impact bird numbers, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is planning to erect a single wind turbine to almost completely power it’s UK headquarters. The move is a powerful symbolic gesture of support for wind energy.

Published by the Biggleswade Today. View the original article here.

turbine birdA wildlife charity says erecting a wind turbine is “the single biggest step it can take to reduce its carbon emissions.”

The RSPB has submitted its planning application for a wind turbine at its UK headquarters in Sandy.

If approved by Central Beds councillors it will be situated in an area of acid grassland, which is attracting small songbirds and insects.

Paul Forecast, the RSPB’s regional director for eastern England, said that The Lodge is one of only three reserves which are suitable for a wind turbine. It was chosen because it has the largest offices and these will benefit from a direct electricity line from the turbine.

The electricity generated should power two thirds of the charity’s reserves.

Continue reading “Wind turbine would help RSPB fight climate change”

Pollie Watch: Where do Coalition MPs stand on wind farms?

windpowerssCrikey has conducted a survey of sitting Coalition MPs on the issue of wind energy. The news service has found just one pro-wind energy MP in the government’s ranks, Leichhardt’s Warren Entsch. Reporter Andrew Crook notes: “It seems like Entsch is to wind as Julie Bishop is to women among senior Coalition ranks.”

So what else did Crikey find? There are a few Coalition MPs ‘on the fence’, some who ‘show promise’, and several retired pro-wind energy Liberals:  Continue reading “Pollie Watch: Where do Coalition MPs stand on wind farms?”

Waubra locals set record straight on wind farm

WIND1_STORY_-_DEEP_HORIZONTAL_WIDE_F11671310_989459Those who have followed the rollout of wind energy in Australia would have heard of the quaint Victorian town of Waubra–the location of one of Australia’s largest wind farms. Producing enough clean electricity for 143,000 households, more than enough to power Ballarat, Waubra’s 128 wind turbines offset a massive 635,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year which would have been generated by burning coal in the LaTrobe Valley.

While the town should be known for its leadership role addressing climate change and repowering Australia with renewable energy, its name has been tarnished by anti-wind farm lobbyists.

In 2010, the Waubra Foundation was formed  by Peter Mitchell–a fossil fuel investor and wind farm opponent–and has unleashed a scare campaign about the alleged health risk of wind energy ever since. The organisation coopted the town’s name without consent of it residents. Unfortunately for locals, the town is linked to a so-called wind farm noise disease rather than its strong community and quality produce.

This all could be about the change.

Over a year in the making, independent filmmaker Neil Barrett has interviewed Waubra wind farmers, neighbours and locals to test the prevalence of negative views. Barratt has produced a short film entitled The Way The Wind Blows which counters the myths and gives locals a voice for the first time. The short film is a must view.  Continue reading “Waubra locals set record straight on wind farm”

The nocebo effect, and why it’s much more dangerous than wind turbines

Published by Renew Economy. View original article.

Group-Photo-72dpiAnti-wind energy activists have shifted the goal posts over the years, with aesthetic, birdlife, carbon abatement and even economic issues getting a run. But by far the most cutting attack has been around noise, and the supposed health impacts that result.

There is no question that wind turbines create sound, and that in some circumstances this sound can be heard at nearby residences. Rigorous noise standards are designed to give a reasonable level of protection against sleep disturbance, taking into account the location of turbines, the model, and existing background noise. This approach is not unusual, and similar standards are applied to a range of man-made noise sources, from pubs to freeways.

While this is good enough for most people, some still find the residual noise levels annoying. At this point, noise level alone isn’t a good predictor of annoyance — personality and existing attitudes tend to dominate. Those residents with a clear view of the turbines tend to find them more annoying, while those receiving an economic benefit are more tolerant . Compounding this, residents with negative-oriented personality traits tend to perceive turbine noise as being louder. At the extreme, I’m aware of at least two wind farms where complaints have been received about excruciating, intolerable levels of noise, only for the resident to be told that the wind farm was shut down at the time.

Continue reading “The nocebo effect, and why it’s much more dangerous than wind turbines”

Pollie Watch: Liberal candidate for McEwen backs coal, bags wind energy

Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 6.51.01 PMOver the last few weeks, Yes 2 Renewables has brought attention to several Liberal candidates who are staunch opponents of wind farms.

In the final days of the campaign, we’d like to highlight the Liberal candidate for the marginal Victorian seat of McEwen, Donna Petrovich.

Former state MP Donna Petrovich has railed against wind farms during her time in the state parliament while trumpeting the benefits of polluting fossil fuels. Petrovich is “proud of” the stringent wind farm planning laws introduced by the Baillieu government. Continue reading “Pollie Watch: Liberal candidate for McEwen backs coal, bags wind energy”

Planning body dismisses anti-wind farm lobby claims. Will VCAT follow suit?

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Trawool in Central Victoria, location of a proposed 15 turbine wind farm.

As the VCAT hearings on the Cherry Tree Range wind farm proposal is scheduled to resume at the end of the month (September 27), another Infigen wind farm has received the tick of approval from a planning commission.

The NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) has ruled in favour of the Bodangora wind farm and dismissed health concerns brought to the attention of commissioners by anti-wind farm campaigners–including the likes of Sarah Laurie, who Crikey describes as a “well-known anti-wind farm campaigner.”

The PAC’s approval of the Bodangora wind farm shows that planning authorities base their decisions on credible research, not pseudoscience claiming that wind farms harm human health.

Given that there are 19 reviews by credible health bodies that show wind farms are clean and safe, the PAC’s decision to approve the wind farm is no surprise.

Friends of the Earth would hope VCAT take the ruling of the PAC into account when deciding the fate of the Cherry Tree Range proposal. Continue reading “Planning body dismisses anti-wind farm lobby claims. Will VCAT follow suit?”

Systematic review: A new guide to wind/health evidence

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 10.42.00 AMMike Barnard, the blogger with an unmatched ability to dismantle anti-wind energy spin, has reviewed 50 pieces of evidence often cited in the wind energy/health debate. Barnard has summarised, categorised, and ranked 50 papers to “assist interested laymen, journalists and others trying to understand the knotty problem of wind energy and its health impacts.”

The review is a useful aid when considering the evidence presented by both sides of the wind energy and health debate. As someone who has attended town hall meetings organised by anti-wind farm activists, community forums on wind farm proposals, and VCAT hearings, I know I’ll be taking a printed copy of Barnard’s review to events in the future.

Here’s a table summarising Barnard’s results: Continue reading “Systematic review: A new guide to wind/health evidence”

Infrasound report: Wind turbine syndrome is everywhere and nowhere

Published by RenewEconomy. View the original article.

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When I was eight years old, I was on the verge of being eaten. Terrified, I buried myself underneath the blankets, and nervously listened to an unearthly howling directly outside my bedroom window. I realised soon that the noise I had heard was the wind passing through the eaves of my family’s aged London terrace house, a noise that had sounded eerily sentient. My fear was simply related to a lack of data – those few extra seconds of dogged listening eased my concerns. We are evolutionarily wired towards the sensation of threat – a sensation that is overridden by taking time to pause, and listen closely.

Objections to the installation of wind farms have, in the past four years, played on this aspect of our nature. Claims have arisen that inaudible, infrasonic noise emissions have a direct effect of human physiology, bypassing our conscious percept and wreaking biological devastation. For this hypothesis to hold true, two basic principles need to be demonstrated conclusively:

  • Infrasound emitted from wind farms has to be markedly higher in amplitude than infrasound produced by other sources;
  • This amplitude has to be causally linked to a direct and demonstrable pathological effect on human physiology.

The South Australian Environmental Protection Agency (SA EPA) recently took some time to investigate the first premise: that wind farm infrasound measures higher than that from other sources in the environment. If the premise were found to be true, then wind turbine syndrome might well be a reality. If it were found to be false, then it serves as firm evidence that ‘wind turbine syndrome’ is deeply improbable. Continue reading “Infrasound report: Wind turbine syndrome is everywhere and nowhere”

First anniversary of carbon price, ‘brown’ tape stalls renewables in Victoria

Today marks the first anniversary of the national carbon price which is driving a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy in Australia. Yet In Victoria, ‘brown’ tape is preventing more renewable energy projects getting built–costing jobs, investment and income for regional areas.

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Ted Baillieu’s anti-wind farm laws–which still stand–create a minefield of ‘brown’ tape that unfairly target renewables. A right of veto allow just one individual to block a wind farm proposal. Arbitrarily-established ‘no-go’ zones for wind energy ban wind farms in large swathes of the state. In Victoria, there’s more regulation for wind farms than coal mines and power plants.

Continue reading “First anniversary of carbon price, ‘brown’ tape stalls renewables in Victoria”