Australia’s first comprehensive study into health issues and social impact of wind farms will be held at Hamilton to provide scientific answers on issues which have divided rural communities.
A team of researchers is preparing to carry out what will be a multi-million-dollar independent investigation to help determine if controversial claims about turbine noise being unhealthy is fact or fiction.
“We need to get to the bottom of this issue,” project spokesman Dr Sean MacDermott told The Standard yesterday.
“No previous study has comprehensively looked at all the factors involved in wind farms.
“My phone’s been running off the hook all day that’s how much interest there is in this issue.”
Dr MacDermott is a research fellow at RMIT’s Hamilton campus which studies how to make regional communities more sustainable.
“South-west Victoria has been identified as a high wind-resource region and our proposal is to conduct research around current and proposed wind farms,” he said.
“Being based in south-west Victoria is an ideal place to conduct credible unbiased research on this important issue.”
He said initial approaches had been made to tap into the federal government’s clean energy funding.
“We are not aligned to the pro or anti-camps. We need to be absolutely independent,” he said.
Dr MacDermott said accurate debate was difficult because previous research was based on European data.
“The Australian landscape is different and wind farms here are larger and higher capacity than in Europe,” he said.
“Social attitudes as well as noise, health, sleep and other problems will be included in the wide-ranging study.
“We’ll be using expertise from RMIT Melbourne which has some of the best acoustic equipment in Australia.
“We would be talking about a couple of million dollars to kick it off and it would run for at least three years.”