Greens MLC Mark Parnell slept under a turbine at the Waterloo wind farm in South Australia overnight to experience conditions similar to local resident, and woke up this morning none the wiser.
The local Member of Legislative Council and board member of a parliamentary wind farm monitoring group told 891 Breakfast he ‘slept pretty well’, reporting his only problem was the wind strength pulling the pegs out on his tent.
Mr Parnell said you could certainly hear the sounds of the turbines.
“In some ways it reminded me of camping down at Port Elliot and places by the sea where you have got this constant drone of noise in the background.”
He said he also experienced feeling some vibration from the turbine as he slept on the ground.
Mr Parnell said that at one stage the wind was blowing from due north, and with ‘at least 20 wind turbines upwind’ of him, he believed he had experienced a ‘full dose’ of the effects.
He pitched his tent between the turbine array and the township of Waterloo.
After meeting the residents of Waterloo yesterday afternoon and discussing their concerns about the wind farms Mr Parnell said, “I don’t doubt for one minute the experience that these people have, the symptoms that they feel, the lack of sleep, the buzzing in their head.
“What is problematic is trying to ascertain whether there is medical evidence that these symptoms are caused by wind farms.”
Mr Parnell said that he had spoken with concerned residents in the area yesterday, a population he estimated to be at about 75 homes within five kilometres of the wind farm, and found various views from local residents he spoke with at the local pub afterwards.
“There are a range of views, but most of the people I spoke to at the pub didn’t have a problem with it.”
Mr Parnell was invited by local residents who had expressed concerns with the emissions from the wind farms, some of who had left their homes, to spend a night in a house that had been abandoned.
He had previously agreed to do so, with plans to stay in a vacant house on a following visit.
“These things are divisive, but I’m not convinced that calls like moratoriums, stop building these wind farms, I don’t believe that is the way to go.”
Those supporting the removal of the wind farms believed Mr Parnell’s views were ‘green power at all costs’.
He refuted the claims, saying he believed blanket rulings could not be enforced for all wind farm plans as local topography would require case-by-case rulings.
“I don’t think that any of the people that I met with yesterday expected me to say ‘well as a result of listening to you I am going to call for this wind farm to be closed down’; that is not going to happen.
“What we do need to do is make sure that when new wind farms are being sited, they’re located in a way to minimise adverse impact.”