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Resource Documents: Australia (131 items)

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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.


Date added:  August 12, 2017
Australia, Health, NoisePrint storyE-mail story

Speaking Notes for Ryan’s Hill Planning Panel

Author:  Coffey, Jacinta

My name is Jacinta Coffey, and I live, with my family, on a multigenerational farm that has been in my husband’s family for over 160 years. Our home, which is also our workplace, is 4 km from the proposed wind farm.

I am very concerned about the implications the proposed amendments to the planning permit being considered by this hearing will have on our health if any of our family or workers are affected by wind turbine noise. We choose to live here because of the peace and tranquillity our area provides, visitors to our home always comment on how quiet and peaceful it is.

On the basis of the well documented individual experiences of other Australian farming families living out to 10km from existing wind farms with smaller less powerful wind turbines, I have good reason to believe this amenity, specifically our ability to obtain a good night’s sleep will be more likely to be taken away from us if these amendments for larger more powerful wind turbines are approved.

Recent first hand reports from Finnish residents exposed to much larger wind turbines support my concerns. There are currently no wind turbines 180 metres tall in Australia. No studies, let alone long term studies have yet been done with turbines this size, so the distance of acoustic impact is currently unknown, but likely on the basis of current limited population noise impact evidence to be greater than 10km.

I am also concerned as to the detrimental effect the proposed turbines of 180m will have on our “worlds most liveable town” Port Fairy. Our beautiful town is commonly known as the “Jewel in the Crown of the South West” and attracts large numbers of visitors year round who come here to enjoy the natural beauty and tranquillity of the area, and to escape the industrialisation and cacophony of the cities. We own and operate accommodation in Port Fairy, so I have direct first hand knowledge of the reasons why people visit our town.

My own observation when visiting the UK and Europe some years ago is that when driving in the countryside and spotting Wind Turbines in the distance we always headed in a different direction as we wanted to experience the quiet scenic beauty of the countryside, not the industrialisation of it. I have no doubt that in time, some visitors will take the same approach when seeing these monstrosities in the distance, which will be further damaged if noise pollution from larger wind turbines also affects Port Fairy ie the visitors will turn away and in turn destroy our town’s main industry, and a significant local employer – being tourism.

For some years I have been following the growing scientific evidence about the adverse health effects from wind turbines, as well as the increasing number of people speaking out about the serious health problems they have endured, living near Australian Wind Farms. In particular the regular and worsening sleep disturbance, and the repeated physiological stress symptoms including repeated examples of the fight flight response, or startle reflex – eg the common description of “repeatedly waking up at night in an anxious frightened panicked state” are a concern. These sleep and stress problems are in addition to the symptoms of a seasickness like illness affecting balance in people who are prone to motion sickness, and worsening migraines in people who suffer that affliction. These problems and others were described by Dr Nina Pierpont in her study, published in 2009.

I note that in 2008, staff from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences writing an editorial for the journal Perspectives in Environmental Health stated the following:

“Even seemingly clean sources of energy can have implications on human health. Wind energy will undoubtedly create noise, which increases stress, which in turn increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer”

I also note that Victorian GP, Dr David Iser, conducted his study at Toora in 2004, after the turbines had only been operating for a year, which illustrated that sleep disturbance and stress were the main problems for those people who reported adverse effects. He tried to warn Victorian government authorities back in 2004, but was ignored.

More recently Dr Wayne Spring, who was a sleep physician for over thirty years based in Ballarat, gave an interview to the Hamilton Spectator and was quoted on 29 April, 2017 as saying that “as a sleep specialist he only saw patients who were referred to him by their GPs and therefore the actual number of patients who were suffering from wind turbine health impacts was probably far greater”. Dr Spring noted that “some affected people go to other locations to sleep in an effort to cope and some people have just sold up and moved away”.

I have also talked directly to residents who have been seriously adversely affected by the noise and vibrations – including people forced to leave their homes regularly, and sometimes permanently, because of that damage to their health. These people are now reporting that they become unwell when exposed to other noise sources – in other words they have now become noise sensitised. They are people just like me, and my family. I do not want this to happen to me, or to any member of my family, or indeed, any member of my community.

Sometimes animals, including working dogs, have also been affected, and in some instances, including in Victoria, this has been confirmed by their veterinarians.

This observational evidence from animals, backed up by scientific research in animals (badgers and geese) that shows objective biological evidence of increased physiological stress in animals exposed to wind turbine noise puts a lie to the excuse used by the wind industry and its lawyers and medical experts that the symptoms in humans are all due to a nocebo effect.

The other excuse used is that the reported problems are all due to pre existing conditions, and “never” the noise. This atrocious lie is exposed when people describe what happens when the wind turbines are not operating – they sleep well, and do not have the distressing symptoms they experience when the turbines are operating. Community based researcher Mary Morris has formally documented this cross over comparision between “operating”, and “not operating” states in individuals at Waterloo, in South Australia.

Recent field research conducted in Australia by Dr Bruce Rapley, Dr Huub Bakker, Ms Rachel Summers, reported by Steven Cooper in June 2017 at the International Conference into the Biological Effects of Noise in Zurich, and then in Boston at the American Acoustical Society meeting, has provided scientific evidence suggesting that dynamically pulsed amplitude modulation with a high peak to trough ratio (known as “strong AM) is triggering what is known to science as the “startle reflex”. This is an example of the direct causal relationship between an acoustic trigger, and the consequent physiological stress response.

The scientific data confirming the “startle reflex” event at the Taralga Wind Farm is consistent with the observed devastating and rapid effects of wind turbine noise on children with autism, and adults with post traumatic stress disorder. There is already scientific research showing that children with autism, and adults with PTSD have an enhanced startle reflex reaction to some sounds. I, and so should you, be concerned for the more vulnerable members of our communities who have autism or PTSD and will no doubt have their quality of life affected by these massive wind turbines, because of their increased vulnerability via the startle reflex response to the physiological stress effects of the noise the wind turbines emit.

Previous Swedish research, reported in Buenos Aires last year, showed that “strong AM” caused sleep disturbance, even in young fit healthy people. This is yet more evidence of a direct causal relationship between an acoustic trigger from a wind turbine, and physiological effects, which if repeated and prolonged, will cause damage to health from sleep deprivation alone. Sufficient good quality sleep is well accepted by health authorities and the medical profession to be a biological necessity for everyone – that is why noise pollution regulations and standards exist. Rural residents living near wind turbines or any other industrial noise source should not have their sleep quality and health sacrificed.

Steven Cooper also demonstrated in Boston, using the actual acoustic recordings from his Pacific Hydro funded Cape Bridgewater study, that the precise times that were independently reported by the residents to be so bad that they had to leave their homes (called “sensation level 5”) showed this “strong” dynamically pulsed amplitude modulation. As the immediate past Director of Acoustic Standards of America Dr Paul Schomer told the June Boston meeting in his presentation, Cooper has demonstrated evidence of a direct causal relationship between symptoms and turbine operation.

So, in summary, the reported adverse health effects from operating wind turbines, including sleep disturbance and progressive noise sensitisation, are real and have been known to Victorian authorities for 13 years.

Independent scientific evidence is now confirming the longstanding reports of harm from residents and Victorian Medical Practitioners, and is identifying the acoustic triggers.

The physiological mechanism of the startle reflex is already well known to science, as is the fact that repeated activation of the startle reflex in mammals leads to sensitisation.

These adverse health effects are being increasingly recognised in courts internationally – with noise nuisance cases being run, and then settled with gag agreements, in jurisdictions such the High Courts in the United Kingdom, and Ireland, and in the United States of America. In the most recent Irish High Court case, the developer admitted liability for noise nuisance prior to the cases brought by seven Irish families being settled, with gag agreements.

I should add that these gag agreements, also known as “nondisclosure” clauses have also been used in Victoria since 2004 – to silence sick people forced out of their homes because of the effects of wind turbine noise – for example at Toora, (publicly confirmed by their law firm, Slater & Gordon) and at Waubra. Increasingly these non disclosure clauses are also being used pre emptively by wind power operators in so called “community benefit agreements” or “good neighbour agreements” to silence people for the lifetime of the project, before they have any idea what the adverse impacts will be for themselves and their families.

So, what happens when wind turbine planning panels agree to change planning permits to increase the size and power generating capacity? Industry independent medical and acoustical experts at previous Victorian panel hearings have advised previous panels that the known and admitted adverse health effects from wind turbine noise including sleep deprivation will worsen if these changes are made. This opinion is partly based on research by Danish expert Acousticians Professors Moller and Pedersen, published in 2011, that found that the low frequency noise will predictably increase as a proportion of the total sound emitted, and so too the already known adverse effects for neighbours – which acousticians call “annoyance”. This expert opinion is also based on the observed, reported, and partially documented effects on residents’ sleep of larger wind turbines at Waterloo, and Macarthur.

So far, the decisions by other Victorian planning panels about upsizing existing permits have not protected the health and amenity of residents, ever. Unfortunately, I have no reason to think that this panel will behave any differently.

So, let me tell you all what I am going to do to protect my family from noise nuisance. I am going to do what other Australian residents are starting to do – which is to learn how to conduct environmental noise monitoring via registered training courses now available, as well as to install good quality acoustic recording systems and sound level meters which will accurately collect full spectrum acoustic data inside and outside my home, and my family’s workplace. This will give us hard objective, legally admissible evidence of acoustic exposures, pre and post construction, and will also demonstrate just how quiet our existing background noise environment is. As we will collect WAV file recordings, they will be able to be played back in court.

When the wind turbines are built, and start operating, our full spectrum acoustic monitoring will continue.

We will also all be getting thorough health checks done, prior to construction, and we will be keeping detailed diaries, and collecting objective physiological data to supplement the diary evidence.

If my family is harmed by your decision, it is our intention to protect our common law legal rights, and that all those involved in causing and enabling that predictable harm from noise nuisance will be held legally liable.

Mrs Jacinta Coffey
Monday, 7th August, 2017

[34 references, with links, are included in the original PDF (download).]

[Attached:]
1. Article – Hamilton Spectator April 29, 2017 [link to original press release]
2. Article – National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences – North Carolina June 2008 [link | download]
3. Report – Waterloo Case – Mary Morris September 2013 [link]
4. Letter from Dr Sarah Laurie MBBS CEO Waubra Foundation [download]

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Date added:  July 5, 2017
Australia, HealthPrint storyE-mail story

My 101st formal complaint to AGL

Author:  Hetherington, Jan

Dear AGL,

I am making my 101st formal complaint to AGL.

As you are aware, I relocated to Port Fairy at the beginning of January 2017, as I was forced to leave my home at Gerrigerrup, because of the constant exposure from the excessive pulsing infrasound, low frequency noise and vibration emitted from the 140 3MW turbines at the Macarthur wind farm. Because of that constant exposure over those 4 years from 2012 to 2016, I soon became and continue to be sensitised. This sensitisation will never go away.

My awareness of this sensitisation was when I spent 2 nights in the newly built Western Private hospital in Melbourne in 2015, where I experienced severe vibration in my body and bed, in my hospital room. They were the exact same symptoms that I experienced back on the farm. The CEO of the hospital investigated this problem, after receiving a formal complaint from me, and engaged an independent acoustician to test the room, and found there were high levels of infrasound and low frequency in my room.

Now, when I visit public places, cafes, restaurants, supermarkets etc. I am sometimes affected, experiencing heart palpitations, vibration, ice-pick headaches and have to quickly remove myself from that situation.

I even get affected by the fan on my new “gas log fire”. I can only run it on low, as when I run it on medium to high, I experience vibration and ice-pick headaches, and my body starts to “hum” leaving me extremely anxious and upset.

This should not be happening to me in my new home. It should not be happening at all, but I am sensitised and the damage was done between 2012 and 2016 while being exposed to the excessive pulsing infrasound, low frequency noise and vibration from the turbines at the Macarthur wind farm.

My life will never be the same and I would hate to think what the long term impact of this constant harmful sensory bombardment could possibly be.

Since I have left the farm I have made many entries into my diary of my sensitisation experiences.

Even though I have moved away from the Macarthur wind farm the sensitisation persists.

I’m not the only one, there are many others who have had their health damaged because of the constant barrage and exposure to the infrasound and low frequency from these turbines.

My life will never be the same because of the sensitisation, so my compensation claim against AGL still stands.

I feel I have lost 4 years of good health and wellbeing between 2012 and 2016, unwillingly being subjected to the impact of infrasound and low frequency from AGL’s 140 turbines

I would like a formal complaint number thank you.

Jan Hetherington.
July 4, 2017

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Date added:  May 8, 2017
Australia, Noise, TechnologyPrint storyE-mail story

Reproducing wind farm infrasound for subjective testing – Just how accurate is the reproduced signal?

Author:  Cooper, Steven

In response to investigation of residents’ complaints concerning the operation of wind turbines, independent acousticians have identified the presence of a discrete infrasound/low frequency signature associated with the operation of the turbine to be present when such turbines are operating.

The discrete signature of turbines when using narrowband analysis reveals peaks at the blade pass frequency (and harmonics of that frequency) to occur in the lower portion of the infrasound frequency band, generally below 10 Hz and a peak with sidebands around what may be the gearbox output shaft speed.

Attenuation of infrasound over distance occurs at a lower rate than that of normal sound, resulting in the discrete infrasound signature of turbines being recorded up to 7 km from wind farms, and in some situations even greater distances.

Infrasound measurements of the natural environment in rural areas free from the influence of wind turbines whilst revealing similar broadband levels of infrasound (for example using dBG or even 1/3 octaves) do not experience a discrete periodic pattern similar to that associated with rotating blades on wind turbines when assessed in narrow bands.

In seeking to assess the audible characteristics of wind turbine noise, being different to that of general traffic or environmental noise, laboratory studies have sought to use speakers to generate or to reproduce recorded signals for test subjects in a controlled environment. …

As the impact of the turbine’s inaudible infrasound on people has not been studied in controlled studies, of critical importance in the laboratory assessment of wind turbine “noise” is the question as to whether the source signals generated in the laboratory are full spectrum and reproduce the original signal (that includes by narrowband analysis infrasound). …

Tachibana [Yokoyama S, Kobayashi T, Sakamoto S & Tachibana H, “Subjective experiments on the auditory impression of the amplitude modulation sound contained in wind turbine noise”, International Meeting on Wind Turbine Noise, Glasgow 2015] used a set of reverberation chambers to evaluate full spectrum sound of wind turbines. However, the primary issue presented in the paper was looking at the A-weighted level with different low pass filtering and modulation. Reference [5] did not examine infrasound specifically but concluded that frequency components below 25 Hz are not audible which is to be expected for the levels that were tested. As a side issue to the investigation of the A-weighted levels and audibility of the modulation, the audible modulation effects were identified as associated with low frequency.

Walker [Walker B & Celano J, “Progress report on synthesis of wind turbine noise and infrasound”, 6th International Meeting on Wind Turbine Noise, Glasgow 2015] provided results of generating infrasound signals synthesised from narrow band Leq analysis to find no impact. No frequency response was provided to define the output of the synthesised infrasound signal generated by a speaker. There is an assumption the system equalisation curve resulted in a flat spectrum.

Walker [Hansen K, Walker B, Zajamsek B & Hansen C, “Perception and annoyance of low frequency noise versus infrasound in the context of wind turbine noise”, International Meeting on Wind Turbine Noise, Glasgow 2015] started with external wind farm noise samples from the Waterloo wind farm that were then synthesised from the narrow band frequency spectrum to provide the source signal.

Tonin [Tonin R & Brett J, “Response to simulated wind farm infrasound including effect of expectation”, International Meeting on Wind Turbine Noise, Glasgow 2015] used a synthesised infrasound signal applied to a pnuematic driver connected to modified hearing protectors.

Crichton [Crichton F, Dodd G, Schmid G, Gamble G & Petrie K, “Can expectations produce symptoms from infrasound associated with wind turbines?”, Health Psychology, 33(4), 360-364 (2014); Crichton F, Dodd G, Schmid G, Gamble G, Cundy T & Petrie K, “The power of positive and negative expectations to influence reported symptoms and mood during exposure to wind farm sound?”, Health Psychology, American Psychological Association 2013] used single infrasound tones inserted into broad band noise for an assessment of “wind turbine infrasound”. …

Issues of concern with the use of simulated “infrasound” are:

Steven Cooper, The Acoustic Group, Lilyfield, NSW, Australia

171st Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Salt Lake City, Utah, 23-27 May 2016. Noise: Paper 4aNS10

Download original document: “Reproducing wind farm infrasound for subjective testing – Just how accurate is the reproduced signal?

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Date added:  February 11, 2017
Australia, Impacts, LawPrint storyE-mail story

Senators Back and Leyonhjelm on government response to wind turbine inquiry

Author:  Back, Chris; and Leyonhjelm, David

Thursday, 9 February 2017.

Senator BACK (Western Australia):

… During the time since we had the inquiry, we have seen the wheels come off the wagon of the renewable sector, particularly that which resides in industrial wind turbines. You do not have to think back too far—you only have to think back to this time yesterday when, as usual, in South Australia, where some 40 per cent of energy is now supplied by renewables if the wind blows, the wind did not blow, so South Australia suffered what probably might be its fifth blackout since August-September last year. At the time, in the minds of many people this particular issue was unimportant. In fact there was a degree of ridiculed associated with this inquiry, the conduct of it and the people who were appearing. I can assure you that the people of South Australia are not laughing today. They are very, very concerned about the circumstance of a state that cannot keep the lights on and cannot keep the power up: businesses losing staff, losing money and going to the wall. This is probably not the most important in terms of overall scale, but in the big blackout in the spring of 2016 they were so ill prepared in South Australia that the airport could not operate, hospitals could not operate, surgeons had to stop operating in theatres; but, worst of all, the Flinders Medical School, which held the frozen embryos and hopes of so many families in South Australia, could not keep up the power, and those frozen embryos were destroyed. I think that is a real personal indication of what we are talking about and the impact on families that occurred.

In the time left to me I want to focus on two of the recommendations. Recommendation 14 was:

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.

It has to be done. We are getting so much conflicting information from so many different sources around this country from those who support renewables, particularly industrial-wind-turbine-generated power, to those like me who do not, although I declare myself to be a strong supporter of renewable energy, for example through solar, tide, wave action and of course hydroelectricity. But it is the case that this analysis has not been done. We are 16 years into a renewable energy scheme and nobody knows the cost.

We do know that the cost of subsidising industrial wind turbines is massive. As we draw closer to 2020 the shortfall charge payments could reach $1.5 billion a year, or more than $20 billion by 2030. Indeed, it is possible, if the policies of some of the governments of this country come into place, that we could be seeing a figure of $40 billion in cost by 2030. That is $1,600 for every man, woman and child in this country. I do not think consumers know that when a wind turbine generates electricity in this country they are paying $850,000 per wind turbine per year by way of subsidies. That is when they actually generate anything and sell any power. As I said, only yesterday we had a situation in which South Australia could not keep the lights on. The spot price for electricity hit $14,000 per megawatt hour. In any event the forward spot price for electricity in South Australia at the moment is $150 per megawatt hour, while it is only $50 in Victoria. But do not let the Victorians get any relief out of this, because their state Labor government, having made the decision to close coal-fired power stations, is also rushing towards a so-called renewable platform. I can tell them that they are rushing towards an absolute train wreck. A cost-benefit analysis of the effect of wind turbines has never been so important. The results will show that the nation, now and certainly should the federal Labor Party come to government and enact a 50 per cent renewable energy policy, is absolutely and utterly unsustainable.

The second recommendation to which I refer is recommendation 15:

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—

—accepting the grandfathering of those that were already in existence. Indeed, because we have the excellent system of the Emissions Reduction Fund organised by the coalition government through direct action on climate change, we do have Australian carbon credit units. I believe and the committee believed at that time that there is a tremendous opportunity to morph from these renewable energy certificates, which at the moment are at a cost of about $88 per certificate and apparently relieving about one tonne of carbon dioxide, through to the carbon credit units, which are about $10 to $11 per unit and again are giving about one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent.

At the time, the comment kept being made, and even in its response the government said that it ‘notes that wind farm approvals are a matter for individual state and territory governments’. I have had long discussions with the federal minister. I have spoken in this place and in the public arena. If we look at the events in South Australia in the last few days and the events that we are going to see in Victoria, Tasmania and particularly in Queensland, which says that it is going to 50 per cent renewables, I have to say that the community of Australia expects the federal government to take a leadership role in the provision of safe, sustainable, reliable and economic power. It is fundamental to all Australians that this happens. The states who have undertaken this have failed, and I believe the recommendations of this report remain current today.

Senator LEYONHJELM (New South Wales):

I rise to speak on the government’s response to the final report of the Senate select committee report on wind turbines. I was a member of that committee and contributed significantly to both its interim and final reports. I have taken a keen interest in ensuring that those reports did not gather dust, like so many other reports have done. In fact, we had some success in getting the government to respond to the interim report. But I regret to say its response to the final report has been anything but praiseworthy.

The committee submitted its final report to the Senate on 3 August 2015. On 16 March 2016, the chair of the committee, Senator John Madigan, moved a motion signed by the Senate crossbench calling on the government to respond by 10 May 2016. No response was received, and parliament was dissolved the day before that. On the first sitting day of the 45th Parliament, 30 August 2016, I lodged a motion signed by every single member of the new Senate crossbench asking for the government’s response to the inquiry to be laid on the table by 21 November 2016. On 21 November there was still no government response. In fact, the government did not respond until 8 December 2016—16 months after the report was tabled. The required time for responding to Senate reports is three months. This is a mockery of our Senate process.

Now that it has responded, there are several aspects about its response that warrant comment. One of the priorities of the inquiry was to examine the impact of wind farms on those living and working in close proximity to them. The committee heard how some of these people were suffering ill health, that their health improved when they moved away and deteriorated when they returned. It heard how these health effects were not understood by the medical world, were commonly dismissed and that the suffering of those affected was made worse by their shabby treatment. It heard how the wind industry and its cheerleaders in the media, academia and health belittled those adversely affected. One retired academic with no qualifications or even expertise in medical matters promoted the lie that only people in English-speaking countries were claiming to be adversely affected.

Some plausible explanations were put forward to explain the ill-health effects, mostly relating to infrasound or very low-frequency soundwaves. Evidence was given that infrasound is a known cause of ill health in humans and that wind turbines emit infrasound. What we do not have is confirmation that the infrasound emitted by wind farms is sufficient to cause adverse health effects. Not everyone is affected, and those affected are not always invariably affected. As one who is easily affected by seasickness when others are not, I did not find that very difficult to understand. But, apparently, it is good enough for the wind industry, or ‘big wind’, as I describe them and their shills, to discredit those poor individuals who are made ill.

The committee also heard how the process for approving wind farms was a farce, with state policies ranging from non-existent to something that might as well not exist. It heard about: buck-passing between state governments and local governments, with nobody accepting responsibility for outcomes; how, once a wind farm is built, nobody is interested in whether it complies with its approval conditions; and that those approval conditions do not even include infrasound.

Some of these problems were highlighted in the interim report of the committee. Based on that report, I led a crossbench delegation to see then Prime Minister, Mr Abbott, to accept some of the recommendations. That led to the creation of the position of wind farm commissioner, the establishment of an independent committee to advise the minister and the commitment of funds to a proper scientific investigation of the health effects of wind farms. The wind farm commissioner has made some progress towards dealing with some of these issues. Complainants now have someone who will listen, and at least some wind farm operators now realise they should cooperate in investigating why people are getting sick. I understand they might even agree to release their operating data so that it can be correlated against symptoms. That would, indeed, be progress.

But, beyond that, very little has changed. In particular, there were some very important recommendations in the final report that have not been treated seriously by the government in its response. The government has observed that wind farm approvals are a matter for individual state and territory governments and that it, therefore, cannot address the manifest inadequacies in their regulatory regimes. This is profoundly wrong. Unless a wind farm meets Commonwealth requirements, renewable energy certificates cannot be issued. Without the certificates, the wind farm cannot sell them to electricity retailers. And selling certificates is its source of revenue. A wind farm needs the Commonwealth government more than it needs a state government. The Commonwealth is abdicating its responsibilities.

The government response says state government planning regulations require a noise monitoring regime as part of wind farm development approvals for both approval and operational stages. This is not always true. And, in any case, no state requires monitoring of infrasound. The response says the government is moving to develop national wind farm guidelines. This should be a priority, given its significance to state governments. It is a golden opportunity to address the impact of wind farms that were raised in evidence. And, yet, the government is dragging the chain.

The response says the government does not want the Productivity Commission to examine the impact of renewable energy, of which wind is the main component. Its impact on electricity prices was discussed by Senator Back in the previous address. The government says that the Australian Energy Market Commission produces an annual report on retail electricity price trends and that it does not believe further analysis is required by the Productivity Commission at this time. When is the right time to find out how much this utterly indefensible policy is costing the Australian economy or what the social harm being caused by energy poverty is? Do poor people have to die of cold or heat exhaustion before the insanity of ever-rising electricity prices is stopped?

Australia’s postwar prosperity is attributable to the fact that we had a reliable source of cheap energy. Cheap, coal-fired power is what has kept the lights on and people in jobs for over a century. It also ensured that everyone could afford to stay warm in winter and cool in summer, no matter whether they were poor or rich. That is no longer the case. How many dead people are an acceptable price for Australia’s contribution to combating climate change?

Download original Hansard: “Senators Back and Leyonhjelm on government response to wind turbine inquiry”

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