A Tale of Two (more) Studies

Published by the Victorian Wind Alliance

If there are two things about wind farms that we know from decades of experience both here and overseas, it’s that wind is quiet and having more wind in the grid reduces the cost of power.

It’s a source of constant frustration that when opponents of wind try to argue that the opposite is the case, they routinely ignore the wads of credible research that exist if that research doesn’t suit their argument. People living in wind communities deserve better treatment than this and deserve to have access to real information.

Two reports that provide just that kind of information were released recently. Continue reading “A Tale of Two (more) Studies”

Independent Australia: Wind taken out of protesters’ sails in Canberra

Published by Independent Australia. View the original article

Callum Davidson and deputy editor Sandi Keane report from Melbourne and Canberra on a tale of two cities and three rallies — or rather two and a sorry fizzer.

R4R1Web
The pro-wind rally organised by Friends of the Earth’s Yes 2 Renewables campaign and GetUp!
Anti Wind Web
The anti-wind rally organised by Andy Gabb and supported by the anonymous blog, Stop These Things.

THE GLOVES CAME OFF today in Melbourne in the phony war waged against wind farms whilst in Canberra, the pro-renewables rally stole the show from the shadowy anti-wind pressure group, Stop These Things.

Morten Albaek, Senior Vice-President, Vestas Wind Systems, chose Australia, the hotbed of anti-wind activity, to launch its fight against the campaign by vested interests and climate skeptics:

“The wind industry is being attacked by media-savvy and politically influential adversaries who often display a brazen disregard for factual information. The “Act on Facts” campaign is our way of fighting back.”

Speaking at the University of Melbourne today, Albaek said the industry has been too conservative:

“Today it’s gloves off. We’re stepping up our game to fight back but with one big difference — it will be fact-based.”

An impressive line-up of speakers including the master debunker of the mythical “Wind Turbine Syndrome”, Professor Simon Chapman, attracted a large crowd of enthusiastic renewables supporters. Chapman’s reading of the public mood that the community is no longer buying the fear campaign was certainly played out in Canberra, as Callum Davidson’s photos show. Continue reading “Independent Australia: Wind taken out of protesters’ sails in Canberra”

Anti-wind power politicians set to blow hot air in Canberra

143321-110827-alan-jonesAustralia’s radical anti-environmentalist element is coming out of the woodwork this Tuesday for a Tea Party-style rally against wind farms. Organisers allege wind energy the “greatest economic fraud in Australian history,” criticising the Howard government-established Renewable Energy Target (RET), which aims to have 20 percent of Australia’s energy coming from renewable sources by 2020.

Shock-jock Alan Jones has put his hand up to MC the event that will feature the marginal independent Senator John Madigan. Of concern is the fact that a contingent of rogue Coalition politicians have jumped on the bandwagon.

Ostensibly, the Abbott-led opposition supports renewable energy. Greg Hunt, the Shadow Minister for Climate Action, reiterated his support for the RET in an interview with the ABC. Yet due to his reluctance to commit to the 41,000 GWh target, the Coalition is creating policy uncertainty.

Meanwhile, the following members of Hunt’s party are actively campaigning against wind farms. Continue reading “Anti-wind power politicians set to blow hot air in Canberra”

A night under the Waterloo Wind Farm turbines

ImageOn the night of May 28, Mark Parnell (Greens MP for SA), Daniel Spencer, Leonora Herweijer and I (the latter three all being participants in the Walk for Solar Power – Port Augusta to Adelaide, September 2012) slept under the turbines at Waterloo wind farm.

Mark had a meeting with some people who objected to the Waterloo wind farm in the afternoon before the sleep-over.  I believe he visited one or more of the houses that the wind farm opponents claim have been abandoned due to noise from the turbines.

Mark is more generous than I am in that he keeps a very open mind to the claims by the opponents.  After having visited the township of Waterloo around ten times, listening for noise from the turbines and hearing nothing, I’m more inclined to think that the opponents are suffering from over-active imaginations.

Getting back to the night beneath the turbines, it was quite breezy, with the turbines operating all night and averaging about 60% of their 3MW installed capacity in the early hours of the morning.  At this time the sound that I was hearing was very similar to the sound that would be heard from a considerably stronger wind and no turbines, or the sound of heavy surf on a beach.

Of course we all had a good night’s sleep. Mark’s tent partly blew down – a windy ridge is not an ideal camp site.  I hardly need say that none of us suffered any ill effects from the experience. Continue reading “A night under the Waterloo Wind Farm turbines”

Invest carefully: wind energy innovations are rarely kosher

Published by Barnard on Wind. View the original article

Wind energy is a big business world-wide, with billions of dollars flowing around at various levels. And as in any large and growing market, a wide variety of people are attracted to it.  Most are solid, competent professionals. Some are superstars.  A slightly larger percentage than in other fields are engaged in part because it’s the right thing to do, not just something they can do well and make money. Continue reading “Invest carefully: wind energy innovations are rarely kosher”

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”

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?”

Farmers’ dreams realised at Macarthur

Published by the VicWind Alliance. View the original article.

Andrew_Bray_and_Macarthur_wind_farm_land_owner_Tom_RobertsonWhen the Macarthur wind farm, the southern hemisphere’s largest wind farm, was officially launched on Friday it marked the completion of a remarkable journey for local farmers Tom Robertson and Hamish and Anna Officer.

In 2001 Tom, Hamish and Anna began their search for companies who would build a wind farm to generate clean, renewable energy on their properties, 20km east of Macarthur in South Western Victoria.

In the 12 years since then, with long months of challenging negotiations, a global financial crisis and numerous twists and turns there were several times when all seemed lost. But finally in 2011 luck started running their way and the contract for the project we see today was signed.

As Vestas global Chief Executive Ditlev Engel, who traveled from Copenhagen for the opening, said, quoting Walt Disney, “if you can dream it, do it.”

AGL Chief Executive Michael Fraser described the Macarthur wind farm as a “nation-building” project that had the wider support of the surrounding community. Continue reading “Farmers’ dreams realised at Macarthur”

King Island wind farm proposal: a case study in community engagement

A wind farm proposal for King Island has emerged as a case study in community engagement.

The wind farm proponent, TasWind, are seeking the support of the community from the earliest stages of the project. The public-owned energy company is giving the community the power to decide whether a two-year feasibility study is conducted. TasWind is on the record in the King Island Courier assuring islanders it would only proceed with the wind farm if it is supported by the majority of the community. Put simply, TasWind is allowing the community to determine the fate of the project.

King_Island_Currie_Power_Station_Wind_Farm

The TasWind approach may eventually be regarded as a best practice model for community engagement. Yet this fact hasn’t stopped King Island from becoming the latest battleground for anti-wind farm campaigners. These interests are seeking to kill the project before a feasibility study is even conducted.  That is, before the community has the facts, figures and evidence it needs to make an informed decision. Continue reading “King Island wind farm proposal: a case study in community engagement”

Independent Australia: Anti-wind farm lobby claims break all laws of physics

Published by Independent Australia. View the original article

By Stephen Luntz. 

renewable-energy-electrical-capacity-increase-USONE OF the first questions science writers get asked is: what is your favourite field to write about? I usually say behavioural zoology, but I am at heart a physicist. I retain some elements of the view that produced such arrogant statement’s as Rutherford‘s claim that:

“physics is the only true science, all else is stamp collecting”.

I do not believe this, but I do indeed believe that chemistry is, at base, a specific application of physics. Biology, in my view, is a specific application of chemistry (plus a little direct physics). One of the things that leads to it is the conclusion that the most well established laws of physics take precedence over anything some might claim about biology, particularly medicine.

This is why I regard homeopathy as evil nonsense, while I am fairly open minded about lots of other “alternative” medical theories. For homeopathy to work as anything more than placebo, most of what we think we know about chemistry and a lot of physics must be deemed wrong. There’s no other option.

One of the most basic principles of physics is the inverse square law.

For anything that obeys this law, and that is an extensive list, doubling your distance from a source reduces your exposure by a quarter. In some cases it’s more complex than that. Some things can bechanneled or obstructed – the shape of the sea floor can mean an island further away from the source of a tsunami is harder hit than one closer in – but a simple inverse square relationship is almost always the starting point.

I’d say this wasn’t rocket science, except you’ve got Buckley’s chance of understanding the behaviour of rockets without grasping the inverse square law.

The idea of “wind turbine syndrome” doesn’t stack up against the science. Continue reading “Independent Australia: Anti-wind farm lobby claims break all laws of physics”