Ill wind: The real cost of pseudo-scientific scaremongering

First published on Renew Economy by Ketan Joshi, 20/06/2013.

wind farm cartoonOn October 22nd, 1844, a man soared from the roof of a barn, with his eyes squeezed shut. William Miller, a Baptist preacher, had told him that Jesus would be returning to Earth on that specific day, and he leapt from his perch, expecting to be whisked upwards in a rapturous flurry of salvation. Jesus did not return, and the man was not saved.

As Miller gazed on the chaos resulting from what came to be known as the ‘Great Disappointment’, he was probably thinking deeply about the problems with prophecy. Namely, that he had chosen to predict something entirely out of his control. If Miller wanted advice on daunting foreshadowing, he may have benefited from the tactics deployed by Australia’s anti-wind lobby. Continue reading “Ill wind: The real cost of pseudo-scientific scaremongering”

Pollie Watch: MP urged to rethink anti-wind protest

Craig_KellySutherland Climate Action Network has urged Federal MP for Hughes Craig Kelly to “rethink” his involvement in an upcoming anti-wind farm rally in Canberra.

Mr Kelly has agreed to speak at the Wind Power Fraud Rally on June 18 organised by a group calling itself Stop These Things. Rally organisers claim wind power is a “fraud” and low-frequency infrasound from wind turbines is “driving people out of their homes.”

However Mr Kelly confirmed that he supports renewable energy, including wind farms, at a meeting last Friday with Sutherland Climate Action Network members Sue McKinnon and Jonathan Doig.

He also supports Coalition policy to retain the Renewable Energy Target for generators to supply 20% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

“Why is Mr Kelly speaking at a fringe rally against renewable energy, when our surveys show nine out of ten Shire residents want more renewable energy across Australia?” asked Mr Doig. Continue reading “Pollie Watch: MP urged to rethink anti-wind protest”

Vic Dept of Health gives wind farms a clean bill of health

Published by VicWind. View the original article.

A new Victorian Department of Health review gives wind farms the tick of approval when it comes to public health.

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 1.51.44 PMThe Department of Health review investigated the potential for infrasound to adversely affect human health. The review supports the findings of existing studies, yet peer-reviewed evidence dismissing such concerns hasn’t stopped anti-wind farm campaigners who frequently claim inaudible sound from wind turbines causes wide array of health problems.

The latest review concludes “there is no evidence that sound which is at inaudible levels can have a physiological effect on the human body.”

As it turns out, infrasound is not something new to human experience. “[T]here are many sources of infrasound in the environment and it is even produced by the human body, at much greater levels than infrasound from external sources such as wind farms,” the review notes. “Humans have been exposed to high levels of infrasound throughout our evolution, with no apparent effects.” Continue reading “Vic Dept of Health gives wind farms a clean bill of health”

Get off the coal train and on track with renewables, Denis!

Published by Quit Coal. View the original article.

flinders-st-banner-e1367821943759When Napthine stepped up to the plate after Baillieu’s swift and teary departure, we saw a glimmer of hope for a state that seemed doomed to a future shadowed by mountains of dirty coal. After all, Napthine’s electorate houses the biggest wind farm in the state and numerous times he has publicly lauded the benefits of wind energy.

Yet, only two months in office and Napthine has proved that he too is willing to trade away the state’s environment and the health of its residents for a future in bed with the coal industry. Continue reading “Get off the coal train and on track with renewables, Denis!”

Who’s happy to see Lal Lal Wind Farm kick off?

Published at VicWind. View the original article.

PicIt’s a favorite line of people opposing particular wind farm developments – ‘Wind Farm X is causing great concern in the community’.

Now and again, it’s worth remembering just how many people there are in the community who are not at all concerned.

Our letter in today’s Ballarat Courier…

WIND FARMS BRING LOCAL WINDFALLS

Ballarat Courier, May 1, 2013

It would be unusual for a $300 million investment in a regional area to be greeted with ‘a lot of community concern’, as John McMahon suggests about the Lal Lal Wind Farm ($300m wind project begins, 27/4/2013).

A good portion of the $300 million will be spent locally. Long after construction has ended Moorabool Shire residents will enjoy the project’s substantial contribution to rates revenue and around a dozen permanent jobs. Continue reading “Who’s happy to see Lal Lal Wind Farm kick off?”

New research shows anti-wind farm activists are polluting Victorian communities

Anti-wind farm activistsA study released today suggests that anti-wind farm scare campaigning is the real culprit behind the perceived health impacts associated with wind energy projects.

Research conducted by the University of Sydney shows that communities throughout Australia start to register complaints when the anti-wind brigade come to town.

The national study states, ‘an estimated 120 individuals have complained out of an estimated 32,677 nearby residents: a rate of about 0.3% or 1 in 272’ (see page 10).

University of Sydney researchers found that Australian communities were healthy and happy to live with wind farms for a decade, before there were any so-called ‘wind turbine sickness’ complaints (see page 12). Continue reading “New research shows anti-wind farm activists are polluting Victorian communities”

Pollie Watch: Victorian Senator says ‘misinformation’ causes harm not wind turbines

Victorian Senator Richard Di Natale of the Australian Greens has defended the role of science in policymaking during the debate on the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Amendment (Excessive Noise from Wind Farms) Bill. Yesterday morning, the Australian Senate was considering the request … Continue reading Pollie Watch: Victorian Senator says ‘misinformation’ causes harm not wind turbines

Where is the truth in the infrasound debate?

Question markUPDATE, Feb 27. We have now had 2 editions of the Weekend Australian, without the letter being published.

Even the most charitable person could be forgiven for drawing the conclusion that neither the paper or the journalist have the slightest interest in providing balance on this issue.

The Australian Acoustical Society provides a source of expertise in acoustics to the public, private corporations, small business, the legal system, standards organisations and government. Any reasonable person could be forgiven for thinking they may have something to contribute on the matter of infrasound and noise.

Apparently the Australian does not share this opinion.

Graham Lloyd, the environment editor of The Australian, has his work cut out for him. On the one hand, the paper has a clear line which it runs against climate science and renewable energy. On the other hand, all the science, economics and social research shows that renewables are winners and climate change is real.

As a person I have good regard for Graham and his motivations as a journalist. Faced with the need to provide balanced coverage for a paper with such clear political agendas, I ask myself, what’s a good man to do?

Sometimes, it would seem that he doesn’t even get a chance to make the right call. Take the case of ‘infrasound sickness’, which is the most exciting scare-mongering concept of the Landscape Guardians /  Waubra Foundation. Continue reading “Where is the truth in the infrasound debate?”

Anti-wind farm campaigner’s infrasound argument crumbles

Screen shot 2013-02-06 at 10.52.38 AMThe Environmental Protection Authority of South Australia’s report on wind farm infrasound released last week (February 1) has gained considerable media coverage, and has led to an embarrassing media performance by anti-wind farm spokesperson Sarah Laurie.

For years, opponents of wind energy have maintained that wind farms increase infrasound and that this infrasound causes adverse health impacts for humans and animals. Now, both of these assertions have been exposed as false.

Before looking at the aforementioned embarrassing performance, let’s look at what the SA EPA’s research tell us. The EPA commissioned independent acousticians to compare the infrasound experienced by houses in urban and rural settings as well as those situated near wind farms. The study concluded “the level of infrasound at houses near the wind turbines assessed is no greater than that experienced in other urban and rural environments, and is also significantly below the human perception threshold”  (2013:41).

Among the media coverage of the EPA report, I’d like to point Yes 2 Renewables readers to ABC Radio National’s thorough story that contains an interesting interview between journalist, Timothy MCDonald, and well-known anti-wind farm campaigner, Sarah Laurie. The exchange reveals the weakness of the claim wind farm infrasound causes adverse health impacts.

Here’s the transcript:  Continue reading “Anti-wind farm campaigner’s infrasound argument crumbles”

Wind farm infrasound ‘significantly below the human perception threshold’, EPA Report

EPA_South Australia 80The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) South Australia has released an important independent report on wind farm infrasound. The EPA commissioned Resonate Acoustics to conduct a comparative study into the level of infrasound in urban, rural, and wind farm environments.

The field research reveals infrasound from wind farms is not above levels typically experienced in urban and rural settings, and in some cases was found to be lower. This finding quashes the claim of anti-wind campaigners that farms increase infrasound and further undermines the unfounded argument that wind farm infrasound causes adverse health impacts.

Here are some excerpts from the reportInfrasound levels near windfarms and in other environments: Continue reading “Wind farm infrasound ‘significantly below the human perception threshold’, EPA Report”