Sections

Services

Information

UK United Kingdom

Victorian wind farm laws: a blow to Australia’s clean energy future?

It’s been just over one year since the Baillieu government introduced the second part of its far-reaching planning law reforms to restrict the development of wind farms in Victoria. The results are an…

Victoria’s planning laws pose a barrier to achieving national renewable energy goals. Hepburn Wind

It’s been just over one year since the Baillieu government introduced the second part of its far-reaching planning law reforms to restrict the development of wind farms in Victoria. The results are an example of how state planning law can be a barrier to achieving national renewable energy goals.

With a majority in both houses of Parliament, the Coalition was able to amend Victoria’s planning framework unhindered to deliver on its 2010 election promise to “restore fairness and certainty to the planning process for wind farms".

In pursuit of this aim, the planning amendments most notably impose a blanket ban on wind farms in many parts of the state. They effectively give the owners of any dwelling within 2km of a proposed wind farm the power to decide whether or not the development should proceed. A July 2012 amendment clarifies that these changes are targeted at wind farms generating electricity for supply to the grid, not for on-site use.

Economically, reports indicate that the impacts of these changes in terms of lost or stalled wind farm investment and employment have been considerable, in a state that has some of Australia’s best wind resources.

While promising to “give the community a greater voice” through these changes, the amendments instead render local, pro-wind initiatives, such as community wind farm projects impossible in many locations.

Not only do the planning law changes have the potential to entrench existing fossil fuel power generation in Victoria, they undermine the Victorian Government’s commitment to the federal Renewable Energy Target (RET).

The RET is designed to ensure that 41,000 GWh – close to 20% - of our electricity comes from large-scale renewable energy by 2020. It implicitly relies on implementation through state and territory planning frameworks, because decisions about what kind of development can take place and where rest with the states. The Climate Change Authority, which reviews the RET, notes

State and territory planning regulations may affect the level of renewable energy generation, its mix, and the geographic distribution of renewable power stations.

This can cause problems when state laws are out of step with national targets, as the electricity market rule-maker pointed out last year. It is of some concern that New South Wales draft guidelines also adopt the 2km consent rule and impose a noise assessment regime stricter than in any other jurisdiction in Australia, the United States or Europe.

The Victorian example illustrates the need to integrate renewable energy policies into state planning frameworks for Australia to move towards a low carbon energy future.

Germany is renowned for successfully transitioning away from fossil fuels and integrating more solar and wind energy powered generators into its grid. Like Australia, Germany has a federal system of government and it too has a renewable energy target (35% by 2020).

Planning laws conducive to wind farm development allowed community wind farm Hepburn Wind to go ahead. Hepburn Wind

In contrast to Australia, community-level planning laws in Germany must give effect to national renewable energy policy. German federal planning law imposes an express obligation on local planners to recognise national renewable targets. In Germany, all regulatory frameworks relevant to renewable energy, be they planning laws or laws regulating the electricity market, have been adapted to acknowledge national renewable energy targets.

This, and not just the very generous feed-in tariff scheme, has been a major reason for why Germany has been so successful at transforming its electricity sector.

While the division of law-making powers between the states and federal government in Australia is different to that in Germany and the current Victorian government seems set to limit wind farm development in the state, there are ways Victorian state planning law could support wind farm development and thus support national energy goals. This would be consistent with the notion of cooperative federalism which underpins many areas of law and policy where there is a shared role for the federal and state and territory governments.

Enshrining support of the Renewable Energy Target into the legally binding state planning policy could be a good start. Indeed, state planning policy before the 2011 amendments had an overarching strategic vision of facilitating the development of wind farms, and was influential in many planning permit decisions such as the approval of Hepburn Wind, near Daylesford.

Specific development controls could help promote and protect wind farm development in suitable locations. Planning controls such as statutory safeguard plans can be used to protect wind resources from interference by another type of development, such as timber plantations. This has been suggested by the planning panel for the Portland Windfarm.

Such controls can also be used to protect existing or proposed wind farms from encroachment by conflicting development or land uses. Changing zoning rules and conditions to preference renewable energy in particular areas is another way to give effect to the public interest in installing more wind power.

A stronger requirement for decision-makers to consider the principle of inter-generational equity (the interests of future generations) would help make sure the broader and longer term interests in wind farm projects are taken into account.

Planning laws and policies are meant to guide decision making on development and land use in a way that is forward thinking and strategic. They are meant to balance and integrate local, regional and state-wide community priorities and vision. The current planning framework limits the consideration of interests to a narrow set of local concerns and in so doing forgoes the opportunity to align state planning law with national renewable energy goals.

These issues are discussed in more depth in Lisa Caripis' and Anne Kallies' article, Planning away, in the Environmental and Planning Law Journal.

Join the conversation

124 Comments sorted by

  1. John Newlands

    tree changer

    If the economics of windpower stacked up without the unfair leverage of the RET then siting decisions would be solved by negotiation. For example the decision on a tree plantation vs wind farm would come down to expected profit.

    If a State or region foregoes wind farms the Federal mandate means that some other area gets the business instead. Perhaps wind friendly South Australia could pay Victoria for refraining from competition. Then again SA has some of the most expensive electricity in the world. Why is that?

    report
    1. Nicholas Aberle

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Newlands

      John, it actually means that the cost of delivering electricity goes up. Victoria has vastly superior wind resources than most of the NEM region. So these regulations effectively mean that more expensive wind projects in NSW go ahead to meet the renewable energy target, when chepaer/better ones in Victoria get shelved.

      report
    2. Zvyozdochka

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to John Newlands

      You must have be horribly disappointed when the SASDO 2011 report came out then John.

      "The 2010/11 South Australian wholesale electricity market price is at its lowest since the start of the NEM." pp IX - Key Findings.

      They credit the 20% wind pentration for the drop in emissions and the low price.

      report
    3. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Nicholas Aberle

      Tasmania has superior wind resources than Victoria and a smaller population. All they have to do is chop down all those tall trees and it would be able to provide renewable power.

      report
  2. Michael Brown

    Professional, academic, company director

    A few weeks ago Germany opened the first of 23 planned coal fired power stations, following their decision to phase out nuclear. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/08/28/germanys-new-renewable-energy-policy/

    And here, we discover that the brown coal fired generators in the Latrobe valley have to burn exactly the same amount of coal, regardless of how many wind turbines are operating. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/hopes-of-slashing-greenhouse-emissions-just-blowing-in-the-wind/story-fn59niix-1226462745494
    The turbines would appear to be having no impact on CO2 emssions at all.

    report
    1. Zvyozdochka

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Michael Brown

      Anyone prepared to link to WattsUpWithThat can be safely ignored.

      report
    2. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Michael Brown

      "...it is more efficient to keep a brown-coal power-station running than turn it down and then back up."

      His analysis was done before the ETS. Wind conditions can be predicted ahead of time.

      Germany produces 26% of it's electricity from renewables. Up from 14% in 2007.
      http://cleantechnica.com/2012/07/26/germany-26-of-electricity-from-renewable-energy-in-1st-half-of-2012/
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy_in_Germany

      report
    3. David Osmond
      David Osmond is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Wind Engineer

      In reply to Michael Brown

      Wind power will displace the highest marginal cost energy producers. Before the price on carbon came in, brown coal in Victoria was the lowest cost fossil fuel. Thus wind power from Victoria has been primarily displacing gas power in Victoria and brown coal from NSW. The article in the Australian was looking in the wrong place in its search for emission savings due to wind power.

      report
    4. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Michael Brown

      Hey boys and girls,

      First Angela Merkel rains on your parade by saying go-go-go on 20 new coal fired power stations and now Gillard has decided not to close Hazelwood power station.

      Finally, the world is seeing the ETS and the carbon tax for what it is, a artificial mechanism to make it LOOK like we are reducing fossil fuel usage, while we actually increase our usage.

      The best analogy is how many readers so The Conversation are passionate believers in tackling climate change and reducing fossil fuel usage. These same readers are the same people who then visit the Jetstar site to book their European holiday or quick flight to Bali.

      They don't have to burn JetA1 fuel to fly to Europe. They can stay home. But they don't.

      That is why Hazelwood is staying open and Merkel is building the power stations.

      Gerard Dean

      report
    5. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Zvyozdochka

      The usual factual put down Mr Zvyozdochka,

      It might be better to raise some facts to rebut the Watts Up With That website's views. I believe it is the most read scientific website in the world, but I could be wrong.

      That is a minor matter though, because something far more important happened to day. The Gillard government says they won't close Hazelwood Power Station in Victoria. Hazelwood burns brown lignite coal, the same coal that some of Angela Merkel's new power plants will burn.

      Looks like Ms Gillard had a 'Merkel Moment"

      Thank you

      Gerard Dean

      report
  3. George Papadopoulos

    logged in via LinkedIn

    One thing the authors of this article forgot to discuss are the issues with regards to noise nuisance, shadow flicker etc. What are the social and environmental costs of these problems?

    Another consideration is health - the consequences of noise nuisance, infrasound/low frequency noise and EMF. The recent decision to reject the Stony Gap wind development proposal shouldn't be just forgotten: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-08-20/wind-farm-snub-tipped-to-be-test-case/4209862

    Furthermore, the best backup for wind energy is gas. Do we really want more CSG wells?

    It is time to get over this eros with horizontal axis wind turbines and onto something else that won't destroy rural Australia for the sake of some carbon savings.

    report
    1. Lennert Veerman
      Lennert Veerman is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Senior Research Fellow, School of Population Health at University of Queensland

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      The available evidence indicates that "wind turbines can annoy a minority of people in their vicinity, but that there is no strong evidence that they make people ill."

      Simon Chapman had a good article on this recently: http://theconversation.edu.au/wind-turbine-syndrome-a-classic-communicated-disease-8318

      And solar towers with molten salt could back up wind, as the salt can power turbines at peak demand. Just like gas.

      report
    2. Nicholas Aberle

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Ever live down-wind of a coal-fired power station, George? What about those health effects? The ones that are actually supported by evidence? Rather than those documented in shabby, unscientific "epidemiological studies"?

      If you want a fair side-by-side comparison of coal v wind, I don't think it will be much of a contest in terms of undesirable side-effects. Unless of course you feel compelled to include NIMBYisms such as "wind turbines are ruining my view (of the heavily modified agricultural landscape intersected everywhere by highways)".

      report
    3. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Nicholas Aberle

      Nicholas, surprisingly I have spent 4 weeks of my life a few kms away from a coal plants. Frankly, it was a sooty experience.

      On the other hand I also make many trips past the Cullerin Range Wind Farm. Can you explain why on overcast windy days I feel my sinuses and ears painful and as though they are under pressure? Can you also explain why my head, under these same conditions, feels as though I have a vice clamped down on it? Mass hysteria perhaps? I don't live close to wind turbines, but do live close enough to hear their horrible nocturnal rumble.

      You could spend the rest of year mining through research, but unless you wish to get the point, then is it no surprise you choose to rubbish anything that suggests wind turbines are causing health problems.

      report
    4. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Lennert Veerman

      Thank you for telling me what I have heard a thousand times over and over.

      As an academic you should recognise that NO study has specifically looked at the "hypothesis creating" research of Sarah Laurie.

      The current "17 international reviews" that Chapman keeps flashing look more like papers, back in a timezone, trying to prove that thalidomide didn't cause deformities because no one had published any such research... YET.

      Whilst solar thermal "could" be used to back up wind, but that isn't happening is it? (special emphasis on "could" - shame we don't see things the same way with wind turbines and health!) See: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/answer-to-nsws-power-problems-is-blowing-in-the-wind-says-report-20120819-24gjh.html .

      report
    5. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      We have the largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere not far from where I live. I've spoken the with the people who live on the wind farm and those near it, none have had any problems. Noise is not an issue unless you are right next to them (within 50m) and not more than wind blowing trees at +100m. http://files.gereports.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/larg-wind-turbine.jpg

      Shadow flicker is only an issue where turbines have been poorly placed relative to houses.

      The high frequency noise thing has been widely debunked, as has the turbine illness. People who complain of this also seem to have a high correlation to people who missed out on having the wind farm on their place.

      report
    6. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      There are plenty of faces who have appeared on TV over the last year complaining of ill heath since the wind turbines went in. Shame you missed out speaking to them.

      Don't know how you came up with the "high freqency noise thing". Do you mean people are complaining of ultrasound? I haven't heard of that claim before.

      report
    7. Lennert Veerman
      Lennert Veerman is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Senior Research Fellow, School of Population Health at University of Queensland

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      "Whilst solar thermal "could" be used to back up wind, but that isn't happening is it?"

      Well, don't blame me for that not happening. But if you're keen, you could help make it happen by supporting this project: http://repowerportaugusta.org/. The aim is to replace old coal plants with Australia's first solar thermal plant. You can sign the petition of even donate!

      report
    8. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Lennert Veerman

      Well, that's the reality of wind turbines: CSG for backup, and not solar thermal. Why? Because the proponents of wind turbines keep arguing they provide the cheapest source of renewable energy. But in the words of Origin Energy's CEO: “But the problem with the renewable energy, most likely wind and solar and more wind than solar, is it’s what we call somewhat contradictory ‘interrupt of the base load’. So, this provides energy, but it doesn’t provide firm capacity in the system”.

      http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/kgb-origins-grant-king?utm_source=Climate%2BSpectator%2Bdaily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Climate%2BSpectator%2Bdaily&utm_source=Climate+Spectator&utm_campaign=523fec4728-CSPEC_DAILY&utm_medium=email

      Read more
    9. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Lennert Veerman

      I will listen to Simon Chapman as soon as Sydney University installs wind turbines on its campus to power itself, as an example to others.
      Wouldn't this be a wonderful example?

      report
    10. Lennert Veerman
      Lennert Veerman is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Senior Research Fellow, School of Population Health at University of Queensland

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      "Because the proponents of wind turbines keep arguing they provide the cheapest source of renewable energy."

      Well, make a positive difference, George! Support that solar thermal project I mentioned. That can provide base load power, or peak power, as required, and no greenhouse gas emissions, noise or anything! Did you sign the petition?

      And your Origin boss also said this: "If there’s capacity withdrawal in Victoria around, say, Hazelwood, it doesn’t require another base load power station to be built because you’ve got this energy coming from wind for example, quite a bit of it in Victoria." So not all bad for wind.

      report
    11. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Lennert Veerman

      Lennert.
      Renewable energy companies are going bankrupt all over the world. As are countries and states who funded "pie in the sky" energy projects.
      We would all like the world to fit in with a fairy tale view of the world. However it doesn't. We must face up to reality however unpleasant.
      Michael Clarke Duncan's untimely death warns us for example of the danger of vegetarianism.

      report
    12. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      I take it from the negative responses that people think that Sydney University should be exempt from the intrusions of wind turbines. I suppose that they are too important to be inconvenienced like normal rural people are by wind turbines.

      report
    13. Philip Dowling

      IT teacher

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      As the sun sinks into the horizon, and the sky turns from bright red ...
      I wonder how far shadow flicker extends from wind turbines located on the tallest hills in the locality, and for how long. And on a seasonal basis how many degrees are involved?
      Are there any mathematically literate renewable energy proponents out there?

      report
    14. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George, I meant the low freq sounds, which I'm sure you are aware is what I meant. As I said, unsupported and widely debunked.

      "Complaining of ill health since the wind turbine went in" I also noticed that storks bring babies. http://www.uni-marburg.de/fb21/motologie/mitarbeiter_seiten/ls/storks.pdf
      Essentially what you are claiming is a myth brought about mass hysteria. http://media.beyondzeroemissions.org/wind_turbine_sound_FactSheet.pdf
      http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4028112.html
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_hysteria

      report
    15. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Philip Dowling

      You mean basic maths? Do you want to know if highly skilled engineers who choose sites based upon long term wind speeds, offset patterns, eddy gusts from tower placements, sound levels, mechanical and materials limits, zoning laws, development laws, community consultation, etc, etc, etc, have figured out shadows?
      Of course they do, it is part of their visual impact assessment. http://www.masstech.org/Project%20Deliverables/MillburyWECWindSiteAnalysisJune09.pdf

      report
    16. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Lennert Veerman

      Lennert, who told you that I don't support solar thermal projects? Who said Origin Energy is my "boss". Is this the standard of modern academia?

      Let's however return to a point more relevant to public health. I mentioned above something about thalidomide.

      Consider the hypothetical, albeit rather realistic scenario:

      Many years ago, a group of women blame their babies deformities on thalidomide. A doctor starts supporting their case. The Health authorities, NHMRC and the pharmaceutical manufacturers start digging into the hay stack looking for evidence of thalidomide and deformities in the published literature when of course there ABSOLUTELY NONE.

      The public then gets bombarded with 17 international reviews telling everyone that thalidomide is safe. The deformities are considered as coincidental - poor mothers are just hysterical.

      We certainly know what the real situation is now. But do you want to be part of this same evil, cynical process of denial?

      report
    17. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Well then Tim, here's your link to literature that discuss wind turbines and low frequency noise: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/your-health/wind-farms-and-human-health/catalogue-literature-already-available-reviewers

      I also draw your careful attention to the research down by Alec Salt. http://oto2.wustl.edu/cochlea/wind.html

      There's a lot of wind industry myths out there. I think one of them is a hysterical claim that all anti-wind people are right wing, coal miners popping up all over the place like mushrooms. Next time the pro-wind industry guys tell you something is "debunked" start asking LOTS of appropriate questions.

      report
    18. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Nicholas Aberle

      Nicholas

      Why don't you turn off your power switch. That will show those nasty brown coal fired plants in the valley you mean business.

      Gerard Dean

      report
    19. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George, Sarah Laurie hasn't done any research. Get your facts straight. All she has done is interview a few people, collected some anecdotes and proposed a non-existent health condition as a result.

      She has not conducted any double-blind tests or done anything remotely objective to test her claims. She is little more than a glory seeker who is going about worrying people unnecessarily. So much for the Hippocratic oath she is supposed to abide by.

      report
    20. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George says, "Can you also explain why my head, under these same conditions, feels as though I have a vice clamped down on it? "

      Too easy, you are an hypochondriac.

      report
    21. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Again Blair, why should I bother even responding. Have you read the glorious FOI requests by the FoE? Even the NSW Department of Health recognised DR Laurie's research, but of being of the lowest level.

      In case you are not aware, evidence starts from the lowest levels then makes its way up to more rigorous tests of research.

      And by the way DOCTOR Laurie, has got over one hundred cases on her list... a bit more than just a few.

      report
    22. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      It's weird that people raise the issue of shadow flicker [which can only affect a specific point on the landscape for half an hour or so in any case, and only then when you are either east or west of the turbine] while they remain unaffected on those days when clouds scud overhead producing alternating sunny and shadowy periods.

      It's hard to believe that people can be affected by shadow flicker when it doesn't affect cattle or sheep, or even horses.

      report
    23. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair, we know shadow flicker really bothers humans who have to put up with for hours every day.

      I wonder where you got your "half an hour" figure from.

      report
    24. David Osmond
      David Osmond is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Wind Engineer

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      the sun moves through the sky at a rate of 15 degrees per hour. A wind turbine occupies at the most about 11 degrees of the sky (a 100m diameter turbine at a distance of 500m, much closer than is usual). So a house won't be affected by shadow flicker from a given turbine for more than 45 minutes, and this is the very worst case scenario.

      report
    25. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to David Osmond

      David, I think we should be talking of the blade tip (150m or so), not tower height...

      I think we should also be talking about whether wind turbines are mounted on hills.

      We should also discuss that some homes are only a few hundred metres away.

      And we should also be discussing whether wind turbines are present on both sides of the house.

      report
    26. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      You didn't even read these papers did you. I'll quote from the first paper, a literature review, and its conclusions.
      "The evidence available is that the level of emissions of low frequency sound and infrasound from wind turbine generators is so low that it is inaudible. There is no reliable evidence to indicate any effects on people when infrasound is present at an inaudible level (below the hearing threshold)."
      You have just cited research that supports my original statements, congratulations…

      Read more
    27. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      G'day Tim,

      Sound is a real strange business... or more preisely our perception of sound is a strange business.

      I'll illustrate: Having a fair jolt of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder I have an exaggerated starle reflex - loud noises in particular. This is one reason I live somewhere very quiet and predictable. (see George I do know what a few months of sleeplessness can do!)

      I make increasingly rare trips down to the big city where I stay in a house full of the most applingly young students…

      Read more
    28. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Tim, strange you have a selective nature when it comes to reading papers. I'll choose one out of the NHMRC list for you: http://www.windaction.org/documents/33837 In this paper low frequency noise have been identified from wind turbines.

      Also have you not heard of Steve Cooper and his analysis of noise from wind farms in Australia? Here's his report: http://docs.wind-watch.org/Cooper_S_Flyers_Ck.pdf . Again note the presence of infrasound -a nice and easy to read chart on p73, plus the impulsive characteristics of wind turbine noise noted.

      report
    29. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      And that is much more likely to have higher energy levels that will actually do some harm!

      report
    30. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Pete, I've also noticed that the background noise is something that you either learn to ignore or it always plagues you. I'm also a country lad, so it can be a bit off-putting with all the noise of a city. But I also spent a number of years at a school near a train line and under a flight path, so you just learn to ignore a lot of it.

      So, I agree, your perceptions colour your responses as much as any actual disturbance the energy of the sound could or does impart. Dogs seem to manage fine, they have much better hearing than we do.

      report
    31. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, you should come out my way if possible in the no longer that quiet Southern Tablelands. At times I have been hearing a rumbling vibrational noise, varying between pulsing sensations to a diesel engine like sound. It all started in early 2011 when the latest addition of wind turbines was going up at Gunning.

      People think I am nuts because of the ILFN emanating from the wind turbines down is a distance of ONLY 35km. Difficult to believe, but people who have come out do believe me when they hear it

      Not everyone reports hearing it, but no more than 10% of the people that I have asked do on their accord. A few find it totally distressing and debilitating, and most o these individuals live in the northern suburbs of Canberra.

      Here's my e-mail address: geopap+@+telstra.com if you want further info - remove the plus signs.

      report
    32. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair, read my response first then jump to your conclusions.

      Just more evidence that discussions with you sound more like futile arguments.

      report
    33. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      You didn't read the papers and you're calling me selective? Or do you just cherry pick parts of the papers and ignore the overall conclusions and science of the articles?

      These two new links you have provided are not peer reviewed. They are also just studies to see if they can detect infrasounds. The actual energy levels measured were below levels that would cause problems. The next point is that the claims of ill health were not linked to the energy levels experienced, thus it would seem that the more rational explanation is that of mass hysteria, as you would expect a dose response to be measurable or at least some indication of a dose response and susceptibility.

      report
    34. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Tim have a read of the extract provided below and match that up with Steven Cooper's report - the homes around Capital wind farm have too much infrasound don't they?

      from the comments section of the following webpage: http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/84293/wind-turbine-noise-and-air-pressure-pulses

      "Studies of 1063 residents in multifamily buildings in Sofia, Bulgaria, experiencing noise level
      above 60 dBA and infrasound levels from 55 to 78 dB found a statistically significantly increased
      percentage of persons with psychosomatic complaints (e.g., weakness and fatigue) and sleep
      disturbance (e.g., restlessness during sleep) versus those exposed to lower level noise and
      infrasound."
      Radneva, R. 1997. Studying the effect of acoustic conditions in the living environment of
      multifamily buildings on inhabitants (Bulg.). Khig. Zdraveopazvane 40 (3-4):40-44. EMBASE

      report
    35. David Osmond
      David Osmond is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Wind Engineer

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George, the blade tip height will increase the length of the shadow, as will having turbines on top of the hill. This might mean that more houses are subject to shadow flicker. However, neither of those aspects are related to the maximum length of time a house is subjected to shadow flicker. This time is determined by how long it takes the path of the sun to cross the area swept by the blades. The diameter of the blades and the distance to the turbine are the key properties.

      report
    36. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to David Osmond

      And what happens when there are several in a row westwards, further out from the house, or what happens in winter when a row of wind turbines are on the northern side of the house?

      And to just to restate what I said earlier, what happens when a house is surrounded by wind turbines east and west? 30-45 minutes starts looking hours doesn't it?

      report
    37. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      "Even the NSW Department of Health recognised DR Laurie's research, but of being of the lowest level."

      In other words, worthless.

      report
    38. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Which is completely irrelevant as I've already pointed out that wind turbines should be far enough away from a house (80-100m) that levels won't reach 60 dBA. The levels at 100m are >50 dBA.

      What is so hard about this for you to grasp? I'm not saying that infrasound doesn't exist or isn't an issue, but I'm saying that it is irrelevant because the energy levels will be below the levels of concern due to the distance from the towers and thus the people complaining of illness are suffering mass hysteria because of talk about impacts of infrasound rather than actual impacts from said same.

      report
    39. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Yep Tim - let's assume you are right when you say "... the energy levels will be below the levels of concern due to the distance from the towers and thus the people complaining of illness are suffering mass hysteria..."

      But from a policy standpoint - from a political perspective ... the level of concern is perceived subjectively rather than based on physics and evidence. The Noise level is not necessarily health threatening but worrying about it and resenting it is definitely a health hazard…

      Read more
    40. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I'm referring to "mass hysteria" the psychological condition in which people give themselves the symptoms of an illness because of fear. Essentially George and his ilk are perpetuating a myth of harm which then causes a reaction. That reaction would not be there from any real effects, but people like George make sure every hypochondriac and axe grinding anti-wind person out there suddenly develops "illness".

      I understand your point and I agree. This discussion here has devolved due to the argument of perception rather than evidence and science. This is why I've started using the terms you've outlined.

      report
    41. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Tim Scanlon

      Tim you say: "That reaction would not be there from any real effects, but people like George make sure every hypochondriac and axe grinding anti-wind person out there suddenly develops "illness"."

      The discussion here has devolved to one of personal attacks and assumptions, hasn't it? Do you have any evidence of your claim against me?

      report
  4. Gary Murphy

    Independent Thinker

    Are there any other developments that give everyone within a 2km radius a veto?

    report
    1. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Angela Merkel has vetoed lots of windfarms by saying go-go-go on 20 new coal fired power plants.

      I love the Germans, they make things interesting, whatever century you are living in.

      Gerard Dean

      report
    2. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Oh, breaking news.

      Gillard says that Victoria's Hazelwood Power Station that burns brown, lignite coal is staying open.

      Looks like she has had a "Merkel Moment"

      Gerard Dean

      report
    3. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      How has that vetoed any windfarms?

      What is the point of you Gerard? If you truly believe that climate change is not a serious problem then why don't you debate that?

      It is remarkably cowardly to just run around throwing mud at people and refuse to debate the difference of opinion underlying it all.

      report
    4. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Mr Murphy

      I will not run away. My statement implied that the change in wind direction on renewable power graphically illustrated by Chanceller Merkel's decision to build 20 coal fired plants and Prime Minister Gillard's backflip on closing Hazelwood means windfarms will not be as essential as expected.

      If the leaders had stuck to their promises, we would need all of the wind energy the turbines could make. Now, with extra coal fired capacity, it takes the pressure off the wind turbines with the inevitable result that some farms in the planning stage may be deferred or cancelled.

      Another factor threatening the viability of windfarms, is the linking of our carbon tax to the rotten European ETS where credits can be bought in bulk for less than $5.

      Merkel and Gillard have done far more to veto wind farm projects than Victoria's planning laws will ever do.

      Gerard Dea

      report
    5. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      To whoever wrote the above comment,

      I will have you know Mr Dean is one of our long term residents, and through good behaviour has been allowed to use the recreation room computer to message his friends at other institutions.

      Now, where are his pills.

      Gerard, Gerard, where are you?

      report
  5. Gerard Dean

    Managing Director

    Here we go again, Germany - the sustainability Pin Up Nation!!!!

    'This, and not just the very generous feed-in tariff scheme, has been a major reason for why Germany has been so successful at transforming its electricity sector.'

    They sure are transforming their energy sector. Chancellor Merkel, the environemental poster girl, is building at least 20 new coal fired power stations. Cheap carbon credits from the rorted and dysfunctional European ETS and cheap Polish coal have have proven to be a triumph of the will.

    As for German planning laws. Sure, they force German communities to accept wind turbines in their backyards, but they don't stop Chancellor Merkel's new coal fired power stations.

    Of all the countries in the world, you choose Germany to illustrate a nation's iron clad committment to renewable energy and secondly, the fair application of democratic government processes.

    Gerard Dean

    report
    1. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Have you heard the news, Mr Murphy

      - Germany produces 26% of its electricity from renewables.
      - Germany's Chancellor builds 20 new coal fired power stations
      - Gillard says Hazelwood, Victoria's brown coal fired electricity plant is STAYING OPEN.

      Things have changed somewhat.

      Gerard Dean

      report
  6. Gerard Dean

    Managing Director

    The more I read, the sadder it get's.

    Take this line, "German federal planning law imposes an express obligation on local planners to recognise national renewable targets"

    What does German federal planning law say about siting the 20 new coal fired power plants being built or planned to power Germany's industrial growth?

    Whenever I read about the wonderful "Green Germany", I find it hard to reconcile with the Germany I love visiting. The pumping Germany that is building more autobahns, the industrially muscular Germany with heavy and high technology factories making products for the world and the benevolent Germany that supports the European basketcase nations with never ending handouts.

    There is simply not enough renewable energy in Europe to feed the German industrial juggernaut. So when German economic growth is threatened, the German Chancellor will follow form by treating international committments as, how shall I put this, 'just a scrap of paper'

    Gerard Dean

    report
  7. Gerard Dean

    Managing Director

    Oh dear me, it gets worse! Check out this clanger:

    "Germany is renowned for successfully transitioning away from fossil fuels".

    So building 20 new coal fired power plants to burn cheap Polish coal is 'transitioning away from fossil fuels'.

    Perhaps you have made a typo Ms Caripis, shouldn't that read, ' Germany is renowned for successfully transitioning TOWARD fossil fuels."

    Gerard Dean

    report
    1. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Germany is not relevant to Australia since Germany has a population of 82 million vs Australia: 23 million.

      Clearly and IMO it's all to do with a sustainable population and the consumption of resources by that population so I suggest we first adopt the Precautionary Principle and think parochially rather than globally. After all charity begins at home.

      Already Quarry Australia's carbon footprint per capita is shameful. Exporting fossil fuels while expanding the population = disaster. Put the fossil fuel industry out of business and we can increase the population. FF exports won't reduce though, nor will vehicles on the road. It's a sham really - we're all talk, no action. See ya at the Doomsday Ball.

      report
    2. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Ms Birney

      You said, "Germany is not relevent to Australia since Germany has a population of 82 million vs Australia:23 million."

      Firstly, Ms Carapis and Ms Kallies article above mentioned Germany 7 times. They chose Germany above all other nations to use as an example of good planning laws for wind farms. The pity is that Germany has chosen to build 20 new coal fired power stations above their wind farms.

      Secondly, you claim that if the fossil fuel industry is put out of business, we can…

      Read more
    3. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Mr Murphy

      Fact 1. Germany produces 26% of its electricity from renewables. Up from 14% in 2007.
      Fact 2. Germany is building 20 new, coal fired electricity generators.

      Figure that out!

      It tells us one thing, never, ever use Germany as an environmental icon in future!

      Gerard Dean

      report
    4. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      I think you are well aware they are to replace the nuclear plants they are taking out of service.

      The point remains that Germany has installed a very large amount of renewable energy generation in the last five years (equivalent to half of Australia's total electricity supply) and has reduced their greenhouse gas emissions from energy by 23% in the period 1990 - 2010.

      http://unfccc.int/files/ghg_emissions_data/application/pdf/deu_ghg_profile.pdf

      report
    5. Gerard Dean

      Managing Director

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      And what nuclear power is Prime Minister Gillard replacing now she has backflipped on her promise to close the 'dirty' Hazelwood Power Station in Victoria.

      Gerar Dean

      report
    6. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Actually - smaller more labour intensive farms produce more food by area with less use of fossil fuels.

      report
    7. Tim Scanlon

      Debunker

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Gary, that is a misleading statement.

      Are you referring to subsistence farming areas in deltas? Are you referring to horticulture in high rainfall zones? Are you referring to irrigated agriculture? Because it is disingenuous to make your statement without comparing the production system involved. Hand picked vegetables are always going to have a lower fossil fuel input than a broad acre staple food, but the two can't be compared because one is a staple food, the other is eaten in far lower quantities, thus the energy input is validly biased.

      report
    8. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Gerard Dean

      Not quite Gerard. The dietary preferences of Australians reveal that:

      Almost half of all domestic sales of wheat in Australia are used to feed livestock, namely cattle, chickens and pigs.

      Major users of feed grain in Australia: 29% dairy, 26% beef, 22% chicken meat, 17% pork, 6% eggs. (Australian Chicken Meat Federation)

      In 2008, Australia produced 1,285,032 tonnes of lupins which are mainly grown for stock feed for the cattle, pig, poultry and aquaculture industries.(ABS)

      5,307,879 tonnes of hay were grown for fodder in 2009.

      report
  8. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    I reckon the Victorian and foreshadowed NSW planning controls are a disaster... a serious defeat for renewable energy. And the reason we lost are complex.

    Blaming the forces of darkness is not enough. There will always be forces of darkness - the trick is to isolate and defeat them. And we failed.

    Here's a couple of reasons:

    Trivialising and dismissing the psychological suffering of "wind turbine syndrome". No no no don't lift the twitching index finger of scorn and tell the world…

    Read more
    1. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, I'm afraid to say that even if wind turbines were causing only psychological illness, then that is still a serious issue. Physiological consequences will follow.

      I can assure you it isn't just because people are missing out on money or having their views spoilt - this just makes the problem worse. The primary psychological reason is the effects of low frequency noise on the brain and consequent sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression - just to name a few.

      report
    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      I agree entirely Peter ... in fact I'd go a bit further and say that if it is, as I and much evidence suggest - a psychological symptom brought on by stress, sadness loss or feelings of powerlessness, then it is actually far more serious.

      It is a political and social and economic issue and that requires a much more sophisticated, considered and considerate response.

      The key to this response is to provide direct cash in the hand benefits to everyone affected - to supply whole towns with cheap renewable power in return for hosting a turbine. So everyone "owns" it. They get the benefits both "ethical" and financial.

      This is the approach adopted in rural Germany where locals are falling over themselves to get their own renewables in place and there is little if any evidence of turbines injuring folks. Over time their power will come virtually free.

      But our grid system tends to militate against this localised networking. Not too hard to fix though.

      report
    3. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Sorry George I was just chatting to a Peter elsewhere and brutally re-named you - inadvertent I assure you.

      report
    4. Lennert Veerman
      Lennert Veerman is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Senior Research Fellow, School of Population Health at University of Queensland

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Good point, Peter. Objective scientific evidence alone isn't always sufficient to sway political decisions or the opinions of sections of the public. My correspondence here with George nicely illustrates that.

      That said, the responsibility of researchers remains to investigate claims of health effects as objectively as possible, after listening to the complaints of people involved, and to disseminate the results of those investigations, if possible with interaction with the public.

      It's the policy makers who then have to manage processes around placement of wind turbines. They have to listen and explain and decide. If anyone dropped the ball on this issue, that probably happened in the political sphere.

      report
    5. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      No problems in Germany? Perhaps you need to read this: http://www.aandc.org/research/wind_noise_pierpoint.html

      "These numbers correspond well to measurements made by a sound engineer near a more recent 30 MW, 17 turbine installation on the Dutch-German border, where residents living 500 m (1640 ft, or 0.31 mile) and more from the turbines were reacting strongly to the noise, and residents up to 1900 m (1.2 miles) away expressed annoyance. The engineer found that measured sound levels were higher than predicted by standard models because of differences in daytime and nighttime wind patterns, and that annoyance was increased by the impulsive nature or rhythmic thumping of the sound, a pattern found at a distance from the turbines (documented at 1500 m, or 0.9 mile) but not immediately under or among the turbines. [4] This was described as a "low pitched thumping sound." "

      report
    6. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      And one more about problems in Germany: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/are-wind-farms-a-health-risk-us-scientist-identifies-wind-turbine-syndrome-1766254.html

      "But in Denmark, Germany and France, governments are moving towards building new wind farms off-shore because of concern over the potential health and environmental risks. In the UK there are no such controls, and a growing number of lobbyists, noise experts and government officials are also beginning to query the statutory noise levels being given to councils when deciding on planning applications from wind farm manufacturers. Lobbyists claim a new method of measuring is needed."

      report
    7. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Lennert Veerman

      Lennert, I think you must be using the worn out tricks as that Professor at Sydney: personal attacks, derision, intimidation etc.

      It just so seems that you are having trouble "the evidence" into perspective.

      The statements of the NHMRC Professor Anderson before last years Senate enquiry must have missed your attention:

      “We are very aware that the high-quality scientific literature in this area is very thin. That is why we were at pains to point out that we believe that a precautionary approach…

      Read more
    8. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Yes this sort of mega plant is exactly what I'd be opposing myself. Not surprised they can hear the thing and that this disturbs them. Still no sign of "Wind Turbine Syndrome" though.

      But yes I'd agree there is no need to have these things so big and so close to people. This is not what people live in the quiet rural places want to see and hear.

      I really don't like big horizontal axis turbines much at all. But vertical axis machines are rather sculptural I reckon. And they look stationary.

      Offshore and efficient if they must be big. Even better smaller and designed to meet a local rather than national demand. And free power or close to it for the locals. Seems to overcome a lot of the resistance and the contagion of the syndrome.

      report
    9. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George, your double standards are breathtaking. What about the psychological issues of those faced with CSG developments in their backyards, or coal mine expansions? You're extremely selective concern doesn't ring true.

      Given that you pedal homoeopathy to the gullible, it's not surprising that you have fallen victim to WTS nonsense and happily believe anybody who promotes it while studiously ignoring the abundant evidence that shows windfarms are benign. Discerning fact from fiction isn't your strong point.

      As I have pointed out to you elsewhere, there are two operating windfarms near where I live that should be adversely affecting around 2500 to 3000 people if all the anti-wind BS was actually true. The fact that nobody living near the turbines has become ill because of them further dilutes your claims.

      report
    10. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Not necessarily a health risk George - but definitely an intrusion and annoying and that can become a health risk. Hence the comments above re offshore, vertical and "owned"... the "owning" bit seems to be quite crucial regarding who is and who is not affected by the noise. But I reckon any noise is a nuisance at best and should be absolutely minimised or eliminated myself.

      report
    11. Lennert Veerman
      Lennert Veerman is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Senior Research Fellow, School of Population Health at University of Queensland

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      It's hard to prove a negative. And I am not saying complaints don't deserve serious attention. But as Professor Anderson said, there was no published scientific evidence at that stage to positively link the two [wind turbines and safety]. (And that is also what 'that Professor in Sydney' said. But never mind.)

      report
    12. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair, I don't know why I should even bother responding, but for the sake of others I do.

      Did I ever say that the harm from CSG or coal is acceptable?

      Do you have basis to your claim: that I "pedal homoeopathy to the gullible".

      Have you heard of Dr Iser? His down your end of the world. Also have you heard of Dr Andja Mitric-Andjic, victim of your personal investment in the Hepburn wind turbines?

      report
    13. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, there are some arguments best left to the discretion of those who are trained in the provision of health services.

      Sleep deprivation and noise nuisance is a well known factor contributing to other health problems. One researched example is urban traffic noise and cardiovascular disease.

      report
    14. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Discretion? Can't see much of that on offer when this issue is discussed at all.

      I am actually agreeing with you if you read what I am saying very precisely: "Not necessarily a health risk George - but definitely an intrusion and annoying and that can become a health risk."

      There is little scientific evidence to support a physical effect caused by turbine noise directly - but the social, psychological, visual and economic context can see people reporting adverse health effects.

      So please…

      Read more
    15. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, sorry if I may have offended you, but we are playing with words.

      Have you ever wondered how you could possibly function if a few nights in a row you had very little quality sleep? I hope you can thus already feel how indirect the health problems from wind turbines can be.

      They are not that indirect. I don't think people ever claim that a falling rock indirectly cracks their skull, by landing on hair and skin first. The "indirect" becomes a redundant argument.

      report
    16. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Now that's where we'd come to fisticuffs George :)

      See if we reckon that the constant (or far too intermittent, in my view) swoosh, swoosh swooshing is making people sick then we might - indeed probably are - looking in the wrong direction for a solution.

      No my hunch - and we are all dealing in hunches here - is that the problems - call it WTS if you like - are deeper and more complex and the solutions are beyond either banning wind turbines or imposing overriding priority despite the locals…

      Read more
    17. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I get your point. I think Peter it's a case of looking at putting a cap on how big wind turbines can be; looking at other models, particularly vertical axis, considering alternate renewable sources.

      There are clearly plenty of options. Common sense is what some fanatic pro-wind pushers lack, and why they risk derailing renewable at the same time. I'm always paralleled with coal or the Libs or whatever - and I'm nothing of that.

      report
    18. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Yes George - one of the big mistakes that enthusiastic folks make when they encounter criticism is to drive the critics into the camp of opponents. We create and unite our opposition. Really dumb. And it leads to these new laws and restrictions ... a throwing the baby and bathwater into the rough scenario.

      I've been doing a very unscientific poll of my deeply conservative town - usually on Saturday mornings outside the butchers - about wind turbines. I'd estimate that 80% would be jumping…

      Read more
    19. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      "Did I ever say that the harm from CSG or coal is acceptable?"

      No, but you have a curious fixation on wind turbines while ignoring the many genuine health concerns that do affect people.

      "Do you have basis to your claim: that I "pedal homoeopathy to the gullible"."

      http://www.redlandbayhomoeopathy.com.au/public_health__don_quixote.php

      Now it could be that there is another person with your name who flogs homoeopathy and who has a hatred of wind turbines but when it looks like a quack…

      Read more
    20. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      A note to other readers:

      If you examine some of the other links on George's website, you'll discover he's also an anti-VAX crank and devoted acolyte of Meryl Dorey, self appointed leader of the anti-vaccine movement in Australia.

      I'll leave it to the readers to discern for themselves who has the most tenuous grasp on reality. I subscribe to the scientific method, George subscribes to woo

      report
    21. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Shame to say Blair, but that website that you refer to is not mine! If you had any decency, you would first ask how my letter got there in the first place!

      report
    22. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Lennert Veerman

      Lennert...

      Whatever happened to the RSI epidemic that swept through the offices of the 1980s and 1990s?

      I'm not saying RSI didn't exist - even if it couldn't be spotted using then available technology. It was very real and very difficult and painful for those afflicted. I was working as a journalist at the time and it looked like those little fibreglass braces just came with the job.... everyone was sporting them. And then it stopped. We learned how to do things differently, take breaks…

      Read more
    23. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Excellent - all those little red ticks... comes from LOSING folks - but heck go on shoot the messenger.

      Sadly if you follow the "conversation" below you'll see what I'm talking about. Lots of hissing and spitting - like cats.

      Try this: pretend we're not talking about wind turbines but say an aluminium smelter or a high tension power line going past the kids' school - something with obvious or alleged risks and concerns ... something we don't like.

      Now hear what it sounds like this dismissive scorn and ad hominem spatting. How to create entrenched opposition.

      This is the sound of how to lose an argument, and how to set us all back 10 years or more. And it won't get moving again until we change it, our language, our message and our methods.

      report
    24. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, your reference to RSI is an object example of a nebulous condition with no clear cut, apparent cause.

      As has been mentioned elsewhere, we have people claiming smart meters are making them ill and mobile phone towers were alleged to cause illnesses.

      I'm sure the people concerned are sincere but despite their claims, no hard evidence has ever been found to support their arguments and I'll wager, the same will be found with wind turbines.

      It doesn't help that proponents of magical thinking such as George and Sarah Laurie pander to people's concerns without assessing all the evidence objectively and worse, making them feel even more helpless.

      report
    25. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair, your attitude to truth makes me really wonder! I live in NSW, the lady that runs the Ironbark Homeopathy website lives in Queensland. She is just one of the hundreds of recipients of my open letters.

      If there is any money to be made from the wind industry cliche, it looks like there is ample of scope in defamation claims.

      report
    26. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      No Blair you are missing the point - all the poiunts actually.

      I am not saying RSI is a nebulous condition without clear cut apparent cause at all. What I am saying is that we do know is that it was essentially a reaction to stress, imposed change and alienation in the workplace - feelings of powerlessness. It is still a big issue in England actually perhaps because nothing was done to accommodate these concerns, unlike here.

      And I think there are strong similarities between the RSI epidemic…

      Read more
    27. Lennert Veerman
      Lennert Veerman is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Senior Research Fellow, School of Population Health at University of Queensland

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, okay, so let's say that wind turbine syndrome is likely to be a manifestation of stress and the feeling of alienation and loss of control in a changing world, of powerlessness. Scientists can show that the wind turbines themselves are unlikely to cause disease, but since that does not solve the underlying anxiety, this will not be accepted by the people who are affected by this syndrome.

      What you are proposing is that if local resistance remains high after all consultation and explanation…

      Read more
    28. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Lennert Veerman

      Peter and Lennert, I think you need to consider the findings of the RMIT research into wind farms: "Wagg, C., Butler, M., MacDermott, S.T., Johnson, M., & Scholfield, K. (2011) Hearing voices: A narrative analysis of the Senate Inquiry into the Social and Economic Impacts of Rural Wind Farms. Conference Proceedings: Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia (SEGRA). Geelong, October 2011. "

      One of the conclusions reached was p13.: "Many of those who are
      currently living in close proximity…

      Read more
    29. Lennert Veerman
      Lennert Veerman is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Senior Research Fellow, School of Population Health at University of Queensland

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Okay, I hear 'concerns' before and after, but if these people believe that some "infrasonic" physical process worsens their health, even if no such physical process can be shown to exist and is theoretically unlikely to exist, wouldn't that worsen their anxiety and fear of cumulative impacts of multiple developments? I mean, I accept that these people may have cause for worry, but how is encouraging irrational beliefs in non-existent health risks going to help them?

      report
    30. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Lennert Veerman

      So you want me to reply to your question when you state: "even if no such physical process can be shown to exist and is theoretically unlikely to exist"? You also say "but how is encouraging irrational beliefs in non-existent health risks going to help them?" Clearly, you have made up your mind on the issue haven't you?

      Lennert working in research requires an open mind - it's no wonder why the wind industry refuses to fund such research and instead hides behind literature reviews. If it is so…

      Read more
    31. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Lennert Veerman

      To be honest Lennert I'm not really sure yet ... I'm not sure that there is a universal outcome for all sites and situations. But at the end of it all I suspect it is about "ownership" and recognition.

      Once we start arguing - we've lost the chance of building new support.... everyone gets locked into entrenched positions.

      I suspect that if there are direct and immediate financial and ethical benefits - that is that the power from that turbine will be powering your town and doing it at a very…

      Read more
    32. Lennert Veerman
      Lennert Veerman is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Senior Research Fellow, School of Population Health at University of Queensland

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Agreed, this is a waste of time. And thanks for the offer to drive you around, but no thanks. Show me some proven evidence of those infrasonic effects and I'll open my mind. Until such time, good luck with them.

      report
    33. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Lennert Veerman

      Lennert you ask for "Proven evidence" and state that only then you will open your mind?

      Thank you for revealing your thought processes. I will keep this quote handy for future reference. It's scary dealing with people who think this way.

      Meanwhile I refer you to the papers on the NHMRC website: http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/your-health/wind-farms-and-human-health/catalogue-literature-already-available-reviewers

      report
    34. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Lennert Veerman

      That CSIRO peper I linked to earlier on is actually rather excellent. Absolutely essential reading actually if you want a clear layout of a very unclear problem.

      What threw me last night was the way they'd presented their findings up front - a traffic light arrangement suggesting that cost is an absolute barrier for example- which is a bit gimmicky to be honest.

      Have to be careful reading focus group analysis. It requires interpretation and a very considered response designed to address concerns…

      Read more
    35. Lennert Veerman
      Lennert Veerman is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Senior Research Fellow, School of Population Health at University of Queensland

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Thanks for referring to that CSIRO report. Good reading indeed, and quite encouraging, too. I think the main conclusions deserve attention (with apologies for the lengthy quote):

      "The study produced four high-level findings:
      1. There is strong community support for the development
      of wind farms, including support from rural residents who
      do not seek media attention or political engagement to
      express their views.

      2. The actual and perceived local costs and benefits
      of wind farms are strongly…

      Read more
    36. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Lennert Veerman

      Lennert, again you show your bias in listening to only what suits - you're looking just like another pro-wind activist.

      The CSIRO report does indeed contain many useful insights on how people think etc. However, the sweeping conclusions that you quote are another story.

      Has it missed your attention that it is based solely on the interview of 27 individuals? And the sample was not even random...

      report
    37. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Lennert Veerman

      But you agree with everything in the CSIRO report? You don't ask any questions about how credible the conclusions are?

      report
  9. Gerard Dean

    Managing Director

    Breaking news!

    Gillard says Hazelwood Power Station will stay open. Hazelwood burns brown, lignite coal to make electricity.

    Perhaps Prime Minister Gillard noted that her German counterpart is building 20 new coal fired plants, including brown coal plants.

    Interesting times indeed.

    Gerard Dean

    report
  10. wilma western

    logged in via email @bigpond.com

    It's quite unlikely that any incorporation of wind-friendly provisions will appear in local planning requirements under our minister for non-planning Mr Guy. However an intriguing expose by The Age Insight team last year noted that while family connections of at least two Vic Liberal ministers including the Premier were very active in the Landscape Guardians/ Waubra Foundation vehement opposition to windfarms , Guy was originally somewhat supportive of windfarm proposals.Not now it seems ! Meanwhile…

    Read more