Jonathon Upson of Infigen Energy (proponent for the Flyers Creek Wind Farm) in replying to my letter of 2nd August, again wheels out the tired old platitudes about industrial wind turbines and apparently thinks that if you repeat rubbish often enough it will miraculously transform into fact.
There are several myths that the wind industry must support in order to survive:
Myth 1: Why is it that people who complain of noise and health issues from wind turbines are only Australian whingers and nobody overseas has any problem with them?
Fact 1: Internationally there are many reported health effects from wind turbines and there are a large number of people in many countries protesting the destruction of their environment, by both their governments and the wind power companies. To verify, just google organisations such as Ontario Wind Resistance, an umbrella group representing over 60 groups (and growing) in that Canadian province. Or the North American Platform against Wind Power which represents groups in the USA, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America. Or the European Platform against Wind Power which has 540 signatory organisations from 23 European countries. There are many desperate groups out there fighting for their democratic right to decide for themselves whether they want wind turbines in their communities and a real say in their health. You will be surprised at the depth of feeling and frustration that is apparent.
Myth 2: It is not necessary to have any setback distance because there are no health effects from wind turbines. After all the NSW Health Department supports this.
Fact 2: Victoria has and NSW soon will legislate a setback distance of 2 kms. Why this distance if there is no health concerns? NSW Health Department has done no independent research into the health effects. It slavishly states there is no evidence of health effects based on the 2010 Rapid Review performed by the National Health and Medical Research Council. This review has been severely criticised both nationally and internationally as being flimsy and inadequate. The CEO of the NHMRC in the 2011 Federal Senate enquiry into wind turbines stated that the review had not meant to imply there were no health impacts but bureaucracy and the wind industry choose to not tell you the full story. Meanwhile the NHMRC has decided it must repeat the exercise and are currently revisiting the whole issue. Why, if the first report was so accurate and comprehensive?
The Federal Senate enquiry found that there were health effects that needed addressing and recommended that independent research should be carried out. Are they wrong?
Overseas there have been several court cases and/or legal proceedings which have looked at the issue of health. In a court in Ontario for instance the judges found on the basis of extensive expert evidence that wind turbines can cause harm to health if wind turbines are placed too close to residents. The debate has now evolved to only one of degree. Are they wrong?
The South Australian Supreme Court found the SA Industrial Wind Farm Guidelines (as currently still used in NSW) inadequate and referred a legal case to be re-examined in the Environment, Research and Development Court. Are they wrong?
Mr. Upson mentions the 15 wind turbines at the Blayney Wind Farm. It is not generally realised that the 44 turbines set to dominate the hills at Flyers Creek and environs will be about 2.5 times the height of the Blayney turbines – higher than the Sydney Harbour Bridge!
Mr. Upson will undoubtedly tell us that the new, modern turbines, despite their gargantuan size, have been engineered so that they make minimal noise and certainly don’t produce infrasound at all. However, that has not been the experience of many communities in Victoria and South Australia which have suffered significantly. In some instances residents (both surprised hosts and their neighbours) have been forced to leave their homes either permanently or at night, or have been bought out by the wind company and gagged. Let’s not forget the wind industry (AGL) denied “tonality” (a very annoying form of noise) in wind turbines in South Australia (Hallett 2) prior to the SA Supreme Court case. 16 out of 34 wind turbines were switched off at night to ensure noise compliance.
Of course the wind industry, and locally Infigen’s Mr. Upson, will never admit there is any problem with industrial wind turbines, be it noise, health, economic, environmental including habitat destruction, wild life death or visual amenity. Why would they? The wind industry needs your tax subsidy to make significant profits. Profits that disappear from Australia overseas.
The Federal Government is intent at all costs in having 20% renewable energy by 2020, and sees wind power as being the answer. It is not, being intermittent and requiring coal or gas fired power as back up. Wind power can never supply base load power and has not resulted in any coal or gas fired power stations closing. But State and Federal governments are not listening.
Industrial wind turbines are grossly inefficient, an economic disaster and destroying our environmental and human health. The rest of the world is waking up to the subsidies, and the economic and health realities. For proof just check out the share prices for these wind companies, or note that Infigen has actually gone into liquidation in the UK. This industrial scam must stop!
We are the patsies who will bear the brunt of the ill effects of these turbines. And some in our community actually invited them to the party!
Dr. Colleen Watts OAM
Carcoar NSW 2791
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