Resource Documents: Australia (127 items)
Documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are provided to assist anyone wishing to research the issue of industrial wind power and the impacts of its development. The information should be evaluated by each reader to come to their own conclusions about the many areas of debate.
Author: Crawford, Michael
The substantial body of empirical research now available on wind farm visual impact (VI), from
very credible and impartial teams, shows a consistent and essentially linear relationship between
turbine height, distance and wind farm VI. For any degree of VI (such as the zone of visual
influence, or threshold for visual dominance), if turbine height is doubled, the distance threshold
for that degree of impact also typically doubles.
The research based distances for thresholds for key levels of VI are many times larger than
thresholds proposed by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment in its draft VI
Assessment Bulletin. The Department’s proposed thresholds are repudiated by the consistent
The research also identifies a number of other ways in which wind farm VI assessment practices
accepted by NSW planning agencies are defective, in particular relating to the neglected
importance of blade movement for VI, the fact that photomontages tend systematically to
underestimate VI, and the assessment frameworks commonly used are too simplistic to describe
real world experience.
The NSW Government has a responsibility to reassess its draft VI Assessment Bulletin explicitly in
the context of the published research and produce proposals which it can intellectually justify in the
context of that research – which at present it cannot do.
[ABSTRACT; 6th November 2016]
Author: Moorabol Wind Farm, Westwind Energy
Thank you for meeting with us on Monday to talk about the Moorabool Wind Farm.
We value all feedback received in respect of the project from you, other neighbours to the project and many other members from the broader community. We have reflected on your concerns voiced in the meeting, and have considered how we can best support your intentions to sell your property if the wind farm is built.
As part of this process, we contacted a Ballarat real estate agent to discuss his opinion on the impact of the wind farm on neighbouring property values. The agent we spoke to has 17 years experience selling properties in your area as well as properties around the Waubra wind farm. He is fully aware of the perceived impact the wind farm may have on properties, and he indicated he has no recollection of a wind farm causing a property to be sold below market value. He did indicate that it could potentially take slightly longer for the property to sell depending on the turbine locations relative to the dwellings. We advised the dwelling on the property was greater than one kilometre from a proposed turbine site, and his opinion is there will be little if any impact to the sales process or price. He also indicated rural properties in the Ballan area are in high demand from Melbourne residents looking for a sea change, as well as Geelong and Ballarat residents looking to move closer to Melbourne. We are hopeful that this information can give you some comfort that your property is desirable, in an interesting location, and is likely to be sold at market value. We would be happy to share the agents contact details with you if you would like to discuss this further with him. We also discussed fees associated with the sales and marketing of a rural property, and the services available for consultation to prepare your house for the best possible sales outcome. The agent indicated that $4,000 in marketing fees will register your property on all the major internet sales sites and list advertisements in the local and Melbourne papers. He specified that guidance on improvements required to secure the most lucrative sales price on your house is completed by the real estate agent, and this service is included as part of the 2.2% agency fees. He doesn’t know of any agencies that complete this service in your area and it is standard practice to include this assistance during the consultation process with a real estate agent.
We also discussed in our meeting that a direct financial benefit for wind farm neighbours can be achieved by entry into a voluntary participation agreement. Through this agreement, neighbours, like the host landholders, will receive a direct financial benefit from the wind farm, and in return accept some of the conditions that the host landholders also accept.
In response to your concerns as a neighbour to the wind farm, we are pleased to offer you a participation agreement on the following basic terms.
- A participation payment of $8,000 per year once the wind farm commences, to be made to you (as a neighbour) for the life of the wind farm. These payments will be made annually in advance.
- A once off sign-on payment of $25,000 to help cover the following estimated expenses if you choose to sell your property:
- Removalist fees $10,000
- Contribution to real estate agency fees $10,000
- Marketing fees for property listing $4,000
- Legal fees for participation agreement review $1,000
- Your acceptance of the same amenity standards, which the host landholders for the wind farm have accepted. [See section 4 of the Agreement, below.] The amenity standards agreed with host landholders are in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organisation, and pre-date the planning permit conditions.
- The participation agreement shall be capable of being transferred with the property. It will also be transferred on sale or transfer of ownership of the wind farm. Any transferee will need to be notified and agree to the participation agreement prior to (and as a condition of) sale or transfer. This will ensure that a new owner of the wind farm and any potential buyer of a neighbouring property is informed of the terms of the participation agreement, including the participation payment.
As indicated in the meeting, this agreement does not have ‘gag clauses’ or take away your right to complain about the wind farm. However, you will see in section 4.7 [see below] of the agreement, that the landholder agrees not to object to any development approval or other application or procedure made or initiated by the developer. Given the wind farm already has got a planning permit this clause is probably of little consequence for you. In addition to this clause section 9 [see below] does require the terms of this letter and attached agreement to remain confidential.
4.1(a) The Landholder acknowledges and agrees that the Annual Fee is adequate compensation and consideration for all matters contemplated by this Agreement including (without limitation) any nuisance caused by the construction, use and operation of the Wind Farm.
4.1(b) Without limiting the generality of clause 4.1(a), in consideration of the Annual Fee the Landowner agrees that the Landowner will not:
(i) require the Developer to provide any acoustic suppression or treatment measures in order to minimise any noise impacts resulting from the Wind Farm on the Property or any Dwelling or Permitted Dwelling on the Property (Acoustic Suppression); or
(ii) require the Developer to provide any landscaping treatment to the Property in order to minimise the visual impact of the Wind Farm on the Property or any dwelling on the Property (Landscaping); and
(iii) make any request under the Planning Permit:
(A) for any Acoustic Suppression or attenuation measures; or
(B) for any Landscaping for visual suppression or attenuation measures.
4.3 The Landholder shall not carry out, or allow to be carried out, any development or use of the Property that is likely to unreasonably diminish the security or utility of the Property or the Site for use as part of the Wind Farm. In particular, without the prior written consent of the Developer, the Landholder shall not:
(a) construct any dwelling on the Property additional to the Dwelling and Permitted Dwelling;
(b) erect any device to convert wind energy on the Property, other than a water pumping or other windmill no higher than 25 metres above ground level solely and exclusively for the generation and supply of electricity to the Dwelling, Permitted Dwelling or other buildings and uses on the Property; or
(c) otherwise obstruct or interfere with the potential operation or efficiency of wind turbine generators that form part of the Wind Farm.
4.6 To the extent permitted by law, the Landholder releases the Developer and its Related Persons from any damage, loss, cost, expense or Claim arising from or relating to any impact or effect of the Wind Farm on the Landholder or the Property, including but not limited to impacts or effects created by the construction, use and operation of the Wind Farm.
4.7 The Landholder must not object to any Development Approval or planning or other application or procedure made or initiated by the Developer or any other entity for any use or development of the Site or any neighbouring property that is related to or necessary for the Wind Farm, and must provide all reasonable assistance requested by the Developer for the purposes of obtaining approvals.
9(a) The parties expressly acknowledge that the contents of this agreement (and any documents or information provided by one party to another pursuant to or in connection with this agreement) are confidential and shall not be disclosed to any person except …
Author: David, Antoine
- Acoustics problem[s] associated with wind-farms are due to the infrasonic and low frequencies harmonics and their interaction between several turbines. Those generate annoyances and to higher intensities health effects.
- By using both a time average and frequency weighting, by definition, all those harmonics disappear and as such no assessments ofthe impact of those harmonics can be made.
- To assess those harmonics, it is necessary to use unfiltered data and no time average.
- The low frequencies and infrasmmd effects cannot be assessed by dBA. By design, the A filtering process takes away low frequency and infrasound. Low frequencies and infrasound need to be assessed by dBlin which is unfiltered data according to frequency.
- Annoyance has not been considered in either guideline[.]
- Wind masking has been applied as if it was masking noise of similar frequencies[,] and this is not the case.
- The distance of 1500m as a buffer will not be sufficient for the current size of wind turbine. This distance had originated years ago for much smaller size turbines and at the time was probably a correct distance.
- The noise criteria proposed in the draft wind farm s[t]ate code [will] most likely not protect residents for their health and well-being and will not protect their environmental values.
- It is uncertain and unlikely that the noise criteria proposed in the draft wind farm s[t]ate code will protect animals such as farmed animals for their health and well-being from low and infrasonic noise exposure.
From: Dr Antoine David, PhD, MEng, MAAS, Technical Specialist (Noise), Technical Support Unit, Regulatory Capability and Customer Service, Department of Environment and Heritage Protectsion
Sent: Wednesday, 26 August 2015
To: Paul Roff, Manager, Environmental Planning, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection
CC: Corro EHP ESR RCaCS, Lindsay Delzoppo, Lawrie Wade, David Cook
From: Tony Roberts, Deputy Director-General, Environmental Policy and Planning, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection
Sent: Monday, 7 September 2015
To: Paul Roff, Lawrie Wade (Planning Support)
We have reviewed the draft code (noting that it is based on independent technical advice) and have no concerns.
From: Paul Roff
Sent: Monday, 24 August 2015
To: David Cook, Manager, Technical Support and Community Response, Regulatory Capability and Customer Service, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection
Cc: Carro EHP ESR RCaCS, Lindsay Delzoppo, Antoine David, Carro EHP EPP DDG, Lawrie Wade
I also have been asked to prepare a response to this letter. Lawrie Wade tells me there was a previous letter stating out position that wind farms should not be an ERA. The reply letter needs to restate out opposition to Wind Farms being an ERA.
Author: Australia Senate Select Committee on Wind Turbines
FULL LIST OF FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS
The committee recommends that an Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Industrial Sound (IESC) be established by law, through provisions similar to those which provide for the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development.
The provisions establishing the IESC on Industrial Sound should state that the Scientific Committee must conduct ‘independent, multi-disciplinary research into the adverse impacts and risks to individual and community health and wellbeing associated with wind turbine projects and any other industrial projects which emit sound and vibration energy’.
The committee recommends that the federal government assign the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Industrial Sound with the following responsibilities:
- develop and recommend to government a single national acoustic standard on audible noise from wind turbines that is cognisant of the existing standards, Australian conditions and the signature of new turbine technologies;
- develop and recommend to government a national acoustic standard on infrasound, low frequency sound and vibration from industrial projects;
- respond to specific requests from State Environment Protection Authorities for scientific and technical advice to assess whether a proposed or existing wind farm project poses risks to individual and community health;
- provide scientific and technical advice to the relevant State Health, Environment and Planning Minister to assess whether a proposed or existing wind farm or industrial project poses risks to individual and community health;
- provide advice to the Clean Energy Regulator on whether a proposed or existing wind farm project poses health risks to nearby residents;
- provide advice to the federal health minister on whether a proposed or existing wind farm or industrial project poses health risks to nearby residents;
- publish information relating to the committee’s research findings; and
- provide to the federal Minister for Health research priorities and research projects to improve scientific understanding of the impacts of wind turbines on the health and quality of life of affected individuals and communities; and
- provide guidance, advice and oversight for research projects commissioned by agencies such as the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation relating to sound emissions from industrial projects.
The committee recommends that the following provision be inserted into a new section 14 of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000: If the Regulator receives an application from a wind power station that is properly made under section 13, the Regulator must:
- seek the advice of the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Industrial Sound whether the proposed project poses risks to individual and community health over the lifetime of the project; and
- confer with the federal Minister for Health and the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer to ascertain the level of risk that the proposed project poses to individual and community health.
If the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Industrial Sound finds that the wind power station does pose risks to human health, the Regulator must not accredit the power station until such time as the federal Minister for Health is satisfied that these risks have been mitigated.
The committee recommends that a provision be inserted into Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 stipulating that wind energy generators operating in states that do not require compliance with the National Environment Protection (Wind Turbine Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise) Measure (NEPM) are ineligible to receive Renewable Energy Certificates.
The committee recommends that the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Industrial Sound (IESC) establish a formal channel to communicate its advice and research priorities and findings to the Environmental Health Standing Committee (enHealth). The IESC should explain to enHealth members on a regular basis and on request:
- the national acoustic standards for audible noise and infrasound and how these standards are set and enforced to monitor industrial projects;
- the methodology of its research and findings relating to how infrasound and vibration can impact on human sensory systems and health; and
- research priorities and possible strands of research that the National Health and Medical Research Council (a member of enHealth) could fund and commission.
The committee recommends that the proposed Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Industrial Sound develop National Windfarm Guidelines addressing the following matters:
- a national acoustic standard on audible sound (see recommendation 2);
- a national acoustic standard on infrasound, low frequency sound and vibration (see recommendation 2);
- a national standard on minimum buffer zones (see recommendation 6);
- a template for State Environment Protection Agencies to adopt a fee-forservice licencing system (see recommendation 9, below);
- a Guidance Note proposing that State Environment Protection Authorities be responsible for monitoring and compliance of wind turbines and suggesting an appropriate process to conduct these tasks;
- a Guidance Note on best practice community engagement and stakeholder consultation with the granting and holding of a licence conditional on meeting this best practice;
- a Guidance Note that local councils should retain development approval decision-making under the relevant state planning and development code for local impact issues such as roads;
- national standards for visual and landscape impacts;
- aircraft safety and lighting;
- indigenous heritage;
- birds and bats;
- shadow flicker;
- electromagnetic interference and blade glint; and
- the risk of fire.
As per recommendation 4 of the committee’s interim report, eligibility to receive Renewable Energy Certificates should be made subject to general compliance with the National Wind Farm Guidelines and specific compliance to the NEPM.
The committee recommends that the Australian Government amend the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 and the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act Regulations 2000 to enable partial suspension and point in time suspension of renewable energy certificates for wind farm operators that are found to have:
- breached the conditions of their planning approval;
- had their operating licence suspended or cancelled;
- establish powers to be used when breaches of statutory obligations occur that require energy generators to ‘show cause’; and
- link the issuing of renewable energy certificates with certified net greenhouse gas reduction in the electricity sector.
The committee recommends that the Clean Energy Regulator cannot accredit a power station until it is wholly constructed, fully commissioned and all post construction approval requirements have been met.
The committee recommends that all State Governments consider shifting responsibility for monitoring wind farms in their jurisdiction from local councils to the State Environment Protection Authority.
The committee recommends that State Governments consider adopting a fee-for-service licencing system payable by wind farm operators to State Environment Protection Authorities, along the lines of the system currently in place in New South Wales.
The committee recommends that the federal Department of the Environment prepare a quarterly report collating the wind farm monitoring and compliance activities of the State Environment Protection Authorities. The report should be tabled in the federal Parliament by the Minister for the Environment. The Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Industrial Sound should coordinate the receipt of State data and prepare the quarterly report. The Department of the Environment should provide appropriate secretarial assistance.
The committee recommends that the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) continue to monitor and publicise Australian and international research relating to wind farms and health. The NHMRC should fund and commission primary research that the Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Industrial Sound identifies as necessary.
The committee recommends that under circumstances where the regulatory framework provided for pursuant to recommendations 8 and 9 cannot be enforced due to a lack of cooperation by one or more states, a national regulatory body be established under commonwealth legislation for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing wind farm operations.
The committee recommends that the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) conduct a performance audit of the Clean Energy Regulator’s (CER) compliance with its role under the legislation. In particular, the committee recommends that the CER examine:
- the information held by the CER on wind effectiveness in offsetting carbon dioxide emissions at both 30 June 2014 (end of financial year) and 3 May 2015;
- the risk management and fraud mitigation practices and processes that are in place and whether they have been appropriate;
- whether all public monies collected in respect of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 are appropriate;
- whether there are financial or other incentives, including but not limited to, the collection of public monies under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 that are distorting the CER’s role in achieving the objectives of the Act; and
- whether the expenditure of public monies by the CER has been appropriately focused on achieving the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 objectives.
The committee recommends that the Australian Government direct the Productivity Commission to conduct research into the impact of wind power electricity generation on retail electricity prices.
The Renewable Energy Target should be amended so that all new investments in renewable energy between 2015 and 2020 will be eligible to create renewable energy certificates for a period of no more than five years. Existing investments in renewable energy should be grandfathered so that they continue to receive renewable energy certificates under the Act subject to annual audits of compliance.
The Government should develop a methodology for renewable energy projects so that they can qualify for Australian Carbon Credit Units. The Government should develop this methodology over a five year period in consultation with the renewable energy industry and the methodology should consider the net, lifecycle carbon emission impacts of renewable energy.
If the Government does not adopt the above changes, the Government should instead limit eligibility for receipt of Renewable Energy Certificates to five years after the commissioning of turbines.