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Wind turbine syndrome: a classic ‘communicated’ disease

At the beginning of this year I started collecting examples of health problems some people were attributing to wind turbine exposure. I had noticed a growing number of such claims on the internet and was…

Wind farms have existed in Australia long before the first claims about health ever surfaced. AAP

At the beginning of this year I started collecting examples of health problems some people were attributing to wind turbine exposure. I had noticed a growing number of such claims on the internet and was curious about how many I could find. Within an hour or two I had found nearly 50 and today the number has grown to an astonishing 155.

I have worked in public health on three continents since the mid 1970s. In all this time, I have never encountered anything in the history of disease that is said to cause even a fraction of the list of problems I have collected.

The list of 155 problems includes “deaths, many deaths”, none of which have ever been brought to the attention of a coroner. It includes several types of cancer, and both losing weight and gaining weight. You name it. Haemorrhoids have not yet been named, but nothing would surprise me.

Many of the problems are those which affect large proportions of any community: hypertension (high blood pressure); mental health problems; sleeping difficulties; sensory problems (eyes, hearing, balance); and learning and concentration difficulties. Every day in Australia many hundreds of Australians receive their first diagnosis with these problems, and most live nowhere near wind farms.

So is it reasonable to suggest that all these problems – or even a fraction of them – are caused by wind turbines? Wind farm opponents repeatedly argue that turbines cause both rapid and long-gestation health problems. It is common to read accounts of people having been adversely affected within hours or even minutes of being exposed. If this was true, there is a big problem here.

Wind farms have existed in Australia long before the first claims about health ever surfaced. The Ten Mile Lagoon wind farm near Esperance, Western Australia has been operational for 19 years. Victoria’s first, the Codrington wind farm, just celebrated its 11th birthday, and has 14 turbines each capable of producing 1.3 megawatts. And yet health complaints are relatively recent, with the few in Codrington post-dating a visit to the area by a vocal opponent, spreading anxiety.

In this sense, “wind turbine syndrome” (which incidentally produces zero returns from the United States National Library of Medicine’s 23 million research papers) is what we can call a “communicated” disease: it spreads via the nocebo effect by being talked about, and is thereby a strong candidate for being defined as a psychogenic condition.

One prominent opponent of wind farms says he can hear them 35km away. Others talk about electricity from the turbines “leaking” into the soil and causing deaths of hundreds of cattle and goats. Such catastrophic events would always attract huge news attention. But try to find such coverage and instead you will only find website anecdotes about what happened on a neighbour’s farm.

Opponents also say that only “susceptible” people are adversely affected by wind turbines. But they repeatedly say animals such as sheep, cattle, dogs and poultry are badly affected, with problems such as malformations, sudden death, sterility and yolkless eggs being common.

Opponents say animals are badly affect by wind turbines. Hopkinsii

Against this, on any trip to a wind farm region, one can find thousands of livestock grazing contentedly around the turbines. In Tasmania there is a poultry farm with a wind turbine at the front gate. Is the argument now that only some animals are “susceptible” too?

There have now been 17 reviews of the available evidence about wind farms and health, published internationally. These are reviews of all studies, not single pieces of research. Each of these reviews have concluded that wind turbines can annoy a minority of people in their vicinity, but that there is no strong evidence that they make people ill.

The reviews conclude that pre-existing negative attitudes to wind farms are generally stronger predictors of annoyance than residential distance to the turbines or recorded levels of noise. In other words, people who don’t like wind farms can often be annoyed and worried by them: some might even worry themselves sick.

There are two main anti-wind farm groups in Australia busily fomenting anxiety and opposition. One is the Waubra Foundation, a group of mainly wealthy individuals, none of whom live in or near the town of Waubra, near Ballarat. Several of them, NIMBY style, have opposed turbines near their own properties elsewhere. They are led by an unregistered doctor, Sarah Laurie, and a wealthy mining investor, Peter Mitchell who also has connections to the Landscape Guardians. Despite their name, the Guardians have never attempted to guard our landscape from over-zealous residential developers, open cut coal or coal seam gas mining. They only target wind farm developments. All three – Waubra, the Guardians and Mitchell’s mining investment company share a South Melbourne post office box.

Problems of falling and stagnant real estate prices in many of Australia’s rural areas are well known. When landowners with property that would be hard to sell see a wealthy energy company moving into an area and investing millions in turbines, it’s not difficult to predict that some will see potential in being “bought out” by such companies. Mining companies do it regularly. When this has happened in some communities, word spreads fast. I have been given accounts of lavish renovation and relocation “shopping list” demands that have been given to some wind energy companies by hopeful complainants.

People who don’t like wind farms might even worry themselves sick AAP

Tellingly, four allegedly unlivable houses near Waubra where complaining residents were bought out now house non-complaining occupants.

When anti-wind farm leaders move around communities, sometimes with entrepreneurial lawyers, spreading anxiety that the turbines can harm heath, we can get a potent combination of poorly informed, worried and angry residents seeded with the idea that their protests might lead to a payout.

Other complainants appear to see the turbines as symbols of values and movements that they despise: totems of green politics, modernity and the urban artifice.

Almost daily, I receive heated email suggesting I should host a turbine in my inner city backyard. The irony is that for 22 years I’ve lived 300m under the main flight path into Sydney airport, 30 metres from a busy road and 200m from a railway line where the combined noise is incomparably louder than hundreds of wind turbines. I rather think I wear my fair share of community noise. But some in the bush believe that unlike city dwellers, it is their birthright to be sheltered from any intrusion in their pristine surrounds, the ultimate in NIMBYism.

Fortunately, anti-wind farm voices in the bush are in a small minority, as this CSIRO study shows.

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358 Comments sorted by

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  1. Lisa Ann Kelly

    retired

    "NIMBY" is what bullies accuse the innocent neighbors of being, when any development, project or form of pollution which may affect those neighbors comes under scrutiny. I would like very much to meet the person who first came up with "Not in My Back Yard." I am certain that person was eagerly attempting to force his (definitely a man) money-grubbing, mercenary scheme on some poor, hapless victim(s).

    I consider the term "NIMBY" a slur and the last refuge of those who know they are in the wrong.

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    1. Grendelus Malleolus

      Senior Nerd

      In reply to Lisa Ann Kelly

      "The acronym n(ot) i(n) m(y) b(ack) y(ard) dates from 1980, is defined as American English, and was supposedly coined by Walter Rodgers of the American Nuclear Society (a pro-nuclear group)"

      That definition is from a quite interesting paper I recommend you read:

      Burningham, K ., Barnett, J. & Thrush,D. (2006) The limitations of the NIMBY concept for understanding public engagement with renewable energy technologies: a literature review, published by the School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK, and available at the following web address:
      http://www.sed.manchester.ac.uk/research/beyond_nimbyism/

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  2. Lorraine Yeomans

    Managing Director

    Good Morning, I read with interest your publication's article on Wind Turbine Syndrome this morning. I have never heard of it before. It sorely tests your claim of "academic rigour" and "journalistic flair". I think it is more an example of sensational smarty pants journalism. Where is the author's, and editor's, evidence of the conclusions they have so breezily reached? Had this been provided, readers may have been weigh up the merits of the writer's beliefs. There are plenty of examples of…

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  3. Shane Kidd

    logged in via LinkedIn

    I personally wouldn't like to judge on the relevance of some "victims" sickness as a result of a wind turbine. Weirder things in our world affect us. Mobile phones are an example. Living under hi-tension power lines another. These things are fairly unknowns.

    However, Australia has millions of square kilometres of available land. Why are we planting wind farms in close proximity to residences anyway?

    In Gippsland, Victoria, we have hundreds of miles of coastal frontage publicly owned. No houses…

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    1. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Shane Kidd

      Even better Shane - put them where there's some wind. Offshore.

      We don't do that here. CSIRO has never even evaluated our offshore wind potential.

      The assumption is that it is more cost-effective to plant these fellas where the dirt is cheap and there's a bit of wind every now and again. I reckon that is a false economy leaving us with feeble and unreliable production.

      Pity - a waste of an opportunity. We won't have too many opportunities to fix this.

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    2. Pēter Lieverdink

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      It makes sense to put wind turbines close to the users of electricity, this minimises transmission loss.

      As I understand it, offshore wind farms are usually built on the sea floor. This would require the sea not being too deep, like for instance the North Sea. I believe the southern ocean and Tasman sea are quite a lot deeper, even relatively close to shore.

      When it comes to wind turbines making people sick, it's odd that this only happens in Australia. Must be something in the water here.

      Wind turbines are common in many parts of Europe. There pretty much isn't any unpopulated open space in western europe, so these turbines are pretty much always in populated areas. I've never heard of anyone claiming to have gotten sick from any of these. If it was a problem, there would be scientific literature, as there are more people living much closer to more wind turbines.

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    3. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Pēter Lieverdink

      The most sensible options are out in the good old Roaring Forties ... the south of WA and Tasmania ... any islands are worth a look...anywhere we can put an oil derrick. I also think there are obvious attractions in barges/pontoons - not least that they can be moved around seasonally if necessary. Either way, unlike oil platforms, pontoons and barges don't need to be bolted to the sea floor - just anchored.

      A Japanese economist and engineer did some analysis of Australian offshore wind resources…

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    4. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Derek Bolton

      Far be it from me to dispute Mark Diesendorf for whom I have the greatest respect but I do not agree with his basic assumption... that the higher initial costs outweigh the benefits of doing it properly (ie where there is more reliable and stronger wind).

      Things move fast in this neck of the woods. The Californians have done substantial work on offshore pontoons and platforms. Installing windtowers on the sea floor as they do in Europe is not necessarily the only or most desirable option. The maintenance costs of sealed mag-lev systems are greatly reduced.

      To illustrate how things change - Mark estimates that the costs of offshore installation and maintenance are double those for land based systems overall. That figure is now 40% and falling.

      Far more sensible to do it properly the first time round I think.

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    5. Shane Kidd

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Good suggestions of off-shore pontoons. I hadn't thought of that. Will do some reading.

      My wife and I, being residents of a coastal town in Gippsland, are considering the idea of starting a campaign in our small town to investigate the options of building a solar/wind local power station to power our town.

      Much like they've done in Europe and Korea ... focus on one town at a time. Bring things back to the local level instead of the multi-national non-empathetic level.

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    6. Pēter Lieverdink

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Pēter Lieverdink

      For the record, I've never seen piles of dead birds (orange bellied or otherwise) under wind turbines either ;-)

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    7. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Pēter Lieverdink

      Should swing on up to the USA then, Peter. In fact, there.s just an article about how the wind industry here is developing systems that will sense bats and shut down the generators in the area until they clear. Sounds like another loss of FIT $, but the farm losses from bat deaths are now estimated to be in the $ billions if planned build-outs of windmills proceed -- food is actually more valuable than occasional wind power.
      ;]
      One ref: IEEE Spectrum, July 2012, p14.

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    8. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Derek Bolton

      If offshore wind was more practical, cost-effective and reliable than onshore facilities, it would be employed already. Besides, the turbine technologies for offshore production didn't exist until a few years ago.

      But rest easy Peter, I'm sure offshore wind farms will arrive here in the future.

      PS artificial structures generally only provide new and more habitat opportunities, unless they are polluting.

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    9. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Not necessarily Blair ... that assumes that the market is rational. I'm pretty sure it isn't. Not a level playing field by any measure. Seems to be very little relationship between investment and actual annualised production.

      I am still most curious as to why the CSIRO did not examine offshore options in its wind resources atlas on which most if not all location decisions are based... that and the price of the dirt of course.

      A very expensive way to save money I reckon.

      By the way here's…

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    10. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      farm losses from bat deaths are in the billions?

      Not following Alex. Do you have a link that works.

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    11. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, I realised a long while ago that the market isn't rational. It's all about mates, contacts and political influence for the big corporations. Everybody else fights for the scraps.

      By the way, from the "economics and benefits" section of the link you provided… However, according to the US Energy Information Agency, offshore wind power is the most expensive energy generating technology being considered for large scale deployment"

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    12. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      No question offshore windpower is expensive Blair ... but a lot less intermittent.

      Depends a bit how one measures "expensive" actually. The more intermittent and variable your installed capacity the more installed capacity you need... so for example the industry is talking about 10,000 land based turbines being required along the East Coast of Australia for a 20% contribution to overall consumption. That's one hell of a lot of steel, concrete and hilltops.

      And then we have the gas fired back-up…

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    13. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Thanks Blair... hadn't heard of that one. I'll keep an eye on how they go.

      Must admit I have some enthusiasm for vertical axis turbines on pontoons/barges - especially the frictionless mag-lev gear - a lot less torque than these horizontal fellas, so smaller and simpler construction all up. Don't have to turn them around into the wind etc... and a fraction of the maintenance and much more efficient.

      Trouble is there is a whole flotilla of big corporations who have a committed investment based…

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    14. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      One problem with large-scale vertical axis wind turbines is the differing windspeed as you increase elevation, resulting in stresses in the whole assembly and eventual destruction. I also supported the idea until I came across some interesting engineering articles a few years ago on problems with these types of turbine. Maybe some wit will solve this and related problems, meanwhile the horizontal axis variety has many millions of operational hours and virtually all the inherent engineering problems have been resolved.

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    15. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      There is research into the effects of wind turbines and changes in sea ecology, but I don't have the links handy.

      The best solution would be to move away from wind power to other renewables that don't involve infrasound and ground vibrations.

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    16. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      The bottom line is that windmills aren't needed for mass power generation anyway. Distributed, local solar PV/hot-water is far more efficient and even makes no noise.
      ;]

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    17. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Their pilot produced: "1.7 gigawatts of energy per hour (GWh) on average since its blades started turning six months ago, enough to supply power to 1,300 families."

      First off, the writer doesn't seem to know that GW isn't energy, but power. And it wasn't produced every hour, but the 1.7GWHr of energy was the sum over 6 months -- 4380 hours. !.7GWHR is what 1 nuke produces in a bit over an hour. That means over 4000 such windmills would be needed to 'replace' the total output of 1 powerplant…

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    18. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Right about the excessive costs of offshore wind, Blair. And our dumbass Cape Wind project, carrying huge subsidies, has been estimated by DoE to engender 1.23 (love the precision) maritime collisions per year -- sometimes that old wind just happens to have a storm buddy.

      Once the investors are out, guess who will pay the insurance & liability costs.
      ;]

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    19. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George, a recent study of large Texas wind farms illustrated how they tend to draw hotter, higher air downward, thus heating the land more. This was vehemently opposed by our resident wind maven at Stanford, but he had to admit this was how the small windmills put up in Calif. vineyards keep the vines from freezing on cold nights.

      Bottom line -- wind isn't needed, no matter how much investor opportunities it provides.

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    20. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, if the sun shone 24/7 everywhere on earth, you might have a point but obviously it doesn't. Solar is useless at night but that minor inconvenience appears to have slipped your notice.

      I agree that solar PV, solar hot water etc all should be employed but unlike you, I don't believe we can afford to be picky about what renewables we use. Despite some people convincing themselves wind farms affect their health, their concerns are trivial compared to the problems AGW are presenting us even now.

      Just look at the increasing costs of insurance or the number of councils now banning development in low-lying areas resulting in huge financial losses for those landholders. Rest assured there will be more to come, unfortunately. Stick with your denial if you want to but eventually you'll be mugged by reality.

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    21. Simon Chapman

      Professor of Public Health at University of Sydney

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George, I'd love to see this work. I can add it to my list of 155 diseases (now at 156 thanks to adding hyperthyroidism). I can't wait to see how the research senates out infrasound from sea and that from turbines.

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    22. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      I believe I gave the pointer to the most recent piece: IEEE Spectrum July 2012, p14. You can go to Spectrum.IEEE.org.

      The cost of bat deaths from planned wind build-outs in US upper midwest are in the $ billions -- bats & birds that are killed don't eat the bugs that eat our crops.

      So, the net, as it is in general, is that wind makes no sense for the power produced. I realize its hard to alter a long-held opinion about something, even when facts become inconvenient. But some wind promoters are, in fact, realizing the problems they need to solve that have been ignored when the subsidies flowed so freely.

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    23. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Now lets just look at this reality here a bit Balir - the two most populous states in the country have just effectively shut down the windpower industry.... dead, finito, kaput.

      Can windpower play a part in combating AGW and moving to relatively renewable power - yes it could. Will it? Not for another decade at least. And the righteous messianic zeal of the proponents is directly responsible.

      Incidentally don't think Alex is a denialist of any sort - he just reckons the windfarm industry are a mob of carpetbagging spivs who are only interested in making a quid. He's right..

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    24. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, certainly new projects are effectively stymied but there is the equivalent of a couple of coal-fired power stations worth of wind energy projects in the pipeline that will likely go ahead so all is not lost.

      Given that Victoria has run quite nicely with the assistance, in part, of imported power from South Australia which derives about 30% of its electricity from wind, the teetering Hazelwood and Yallourn power stations can be shut down without much detriment to the system.

      Of course wind power can play a part in combating AGW but I don't pretend for a minute it's the sole answer. I think we need (must) use all available alternative energy sources in the areas where each can demonstrate its strength.

      You're welcome to your opinion of the wind industry. I have very good reasons for not sharing it.

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    25. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      And, if the wind blew "24/7" -- what are you selling, Blair? Fess up now.

      Storage, even via EVs (BetterPlace.com) is crucial to all future non-emitting power. Wind is simply one of the least efficient and intrusive of the environment. Can't subsidize your way out of that, Blair.

      So, all the points on wind remain -- inefficient compared to local solar PV, wasteful of land & species, compared to local solar PV...

      And, it's not even needed. why do you need it, Blair?
      i

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    26. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Well no Blair, you are actually part of the industry albeit on a small scale... so of course you won't agree.

      10,000 turbines Blair ... that's the industry's estimate of the number of turbines required to provide an intermittent 20% of Australian energy demand. And that won't be happening. That is the price for getting the current sprinkling of installations up and running.

      Let us all hope that by the time we start looking at wind turbines again there will be better options technically…

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    27. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      I'm sure your useless list of diseases might benefit from this bit of research. Haven't you got anything better to do like... research why so many people including hosts complain of the same symptoms?

      But in any case I have just sent you an e-mail with three papers on marine ecology and wind turbines to laugh at whilst the wind industry crumbles for want of any signigicant environmental and economic benefit.

      Hope they make nice reading!

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    28. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike,

      I've just been having a look at the annual reports and other information available online from Hepburn Wind Park. Not quite as much wind as expected apparently. And not quite as much revenue either.

      And this is the problem isn't it? The ROI looks pretty awful actually. Has anyone actually made any money out of this investment? Other than the manufacturers of your turbines of course.

      Now don't get me wrong here - from the look of it this is an excellent project and ticks all the right boxes regarding community involvement and support and everyone is trying to do the right thing. It's just not a particularly productive use of all that money despite the subsidies, grants etc available.

      Wrong place. Not enough wind.

      Any particular reason why Hepburn doesn't appear in the national wind energy performance data http://windfarmperformance.info/... might be there but I certainly haven't been able to find it.

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    29. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, you won't find the Toora windfarm (21 MW) or the Wonthaggi windfarm (12 MW) on that list either. The website you referenced only lists windfarms without put spread of then 30 MW, maybe you should query the website developer as to why that is?

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    30. Sean Reynolds

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      What's the cost of the Fukushima meltdown, Alex? In 'insurance and liability'. Investors can't be happy with that one, not counting the deadly effects of radiation poisoning.

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    31. Sean Reynolds

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      VAWTs require lower windspeed to generate usable power (and are quieter in operation), but unfortunately they are not more efficient than HAWT propellor turbines as they suffer from a near 50% drag problem as the non-working turbine blade comes back round into the wind against the working blade -- only the blade curvature offsets this. A team in Australia attempted to create a directional cowling solution using a parabolic cowling profile (thus bringing back the directionality problem, requiring a tailplane to swing the cowling around) but they seem to have disappeared without ever producing a commercial product -- possibly because wind force on the cowling is too great to keep it pointing correctly into the wind, and that the concept may not scale up well in engineering. Other solutions appear to be to create 'double helix' type curved blades which are harder to engineer and construct, but reduce the drag problem a bit.

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    32. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      "why do you need it"

      Winter energy demands. You probably don't need it in California but we aren't all lucky enough to get that much sun.

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    33. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Sean Reynolds

      Couldn't you just put in an inclined plane to direct the incoming wind onto the working blade and away from the non-working blade? (Or am I completely misunderstanding how a VAWT works).

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    34. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Wind doesn't blow 24/7 either, and solar is far more predictable, which lowers its costs of incorporation into the grid -- unpredictability costs.

      The engineering realities are suppressed as soon as subsidies appear. We see this in some of the arguments here.

      The reality is again that with >2% of earth's land now covered by human structure, there's far more sunlit structural area available for solar power, even at present 20% cell efficiencies, than all peak daytime loads. This means that local solar (DG), efficient storage (even via EVs -- BetterPlace.com), and 24/7 baseload nuclear are all that we'll ever need. Note how little land & environmental impact that implies, which wind cannot meet.

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    35. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sean Reynolds

      Aha, you take straw men too, eh Sean? You're late to the party on Fukushima & TEPCO -- decades late. The problems were pointed out for decades, but the Japanese govt's decisions to allow collusion between the industry and the regulator (NISA), to ignore geologic evidence of prior large tsunamis, to ignore repeated corruption and safety violations by TEPCO, and to allow building anything at sea level in a tsunami zone -- those are the causes of this tragedy.

      The cost is horrendous, but not…

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    36. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, I'll try and keep it simple for you.

      I know wind doesn't blow 24/7 but it is predictable.
      I know wind isn't the sole answer to electricity generation or needs.
      I know there is plenty of waste roof space that should be employed via solar panels in producing electricity.
      Comparing the area occupied with wind farms with solar panels is nonsense because windfarms don't stop the original enterprise from continuing. It would be more accurate to compare the footprint of a turbine tower with solar panels if you insist on comparisons.

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    37. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Ah, finally got you to the canards of: "compare the footprint of a turbine tower with solar panels" and "windfarms don't stop the original enterprise from continuing".

      The first ignores the simple fact that windmills can't be adjacent, yet panels can, and local panels use absolutely no land.

      The second is the typical knee-jerk that assumes nothing ever grew or lived where the windmills go up -- real things that the windmills might affect. For flying animals, this is obviously not true, and…

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    38. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      You can have a windmill, Gary. I was asking a general question of mass-power need.

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    39. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      You really think anything you have said is new to me? Or, that issues with birds, bats, aircraft etc are unknown to me or the owners of the windfarm, or shock horror, the landholders?

      I'm reasonably well aware of the physical limitations of both wind turbines and solar panels because I try keep up with technical developments and I know you are resorting to BS (again) by invoking the magical "forthcoming technological designs" excuse.

      We are talking existing projects, today. Not maybes at some unspecified time in the future.

      I would happily have been an investor in the windfarm near where I live, a number of us in this area ask if that would be possible when the project was first raised. Unfortunately Stanwell, the Queensland government owned entity that funded the project wasn't interested in partial community ownership, more's the pity. Alex, your snark is showing again.

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    40. Sean Reynolds

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Fabulous -- let's have more of them! I have always had a sneaking preference for VAWTs. Let's invest in a VAWT farm together, Alex.

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    41. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sean Reynolds

      Lookin' for another fast buck, Sean?

      You haven't been listening to why all wind 'farms' are inefficient, long term, have you?

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    42. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      We can only go by what you say to judge what you know or don't know, Blair. So the reality remains that even present, available, 20%-efficient solar panels are superior on local structures to land-demanding, high maintenance windmills.

      But you can still have your windmills, if you like, Blair. They'll just never get any better at making juice or noise.
      ;]

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    43. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Sea birds don't eat the billions of fish that are slaughtered with impunity each year by nuclear states worldwide either.

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    44. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      "Even if civilization on Earth stops polluting the biosphere with greenhouse gases, humanity could eventually be awash in too much heat, namely, the dissipated heat by-product generated by any non-renewable energy source.

      "Heat is an unavoidable by-product of the energy extracted from wood, coal, oil, gas, atoms, and any other non-renewable source. We already experience it in the big cities, which are warmer than their suburbs, and near nuclear reactors, which warm their adjacent waterways…

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    45. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley provides us with continuing insights through a broken mirror!
      ;]
      Having written a "Earth's heat-death" theme in high school, that the teacher roundly & rightly critiqued composition, I for one can attest to Shirley's lateness to the party in understanding the physics of planetary climates.

      Almost all power we generate, by any means, ends up as low-temp waste heat in the environment. Whether it's solar at 20% efficiency, advanced-cycle thermal (geo, nuke, combustion) at 40% efficiency…

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  4. Derek Bolton

    Retired s/w engineer

    Good article generally, but I feel the use of "NIMBY" is inexact. The term originally meant a person who favoured a development in principle, but not in their own backyard. The objectors in this case are at least being consistent.
    OTOH, a thought should be given to the poor folk who live near fossil fuel power stations. The way things stand in NSW and Vic, they have less ability to object than those near proposed wind farms. So in that broader sense NIMBY could be appropriate for people who are happy for others to put up with the ills of coal-fired stations so that they do not themselves have to live near a wind farm.

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  5. Sally Parnis

    Visual Artist, "retired" paediatric anaesthetist

    Thanks for this article, it does highlight a problem with "self-fulfilling" predictions of harm. However, it would be helpful to those of us who are not epidemiologists to point out why there is little or no evidence that wind-farms cause health problems.

    On scanning the reviews you provided, it would appear that in fact little or no research has been done to test whether the turbines are likely to cause specific problems, aside from perhaps sleep disturbances. There is probably a good reason…

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    1. Simon Chapman

      Professor of Public Health at University of Sydney

      In reply to Sally Parnis

      Sally, there's a huge amount of work embedded in the 17 reviews I provided the link to in my article. The main argument opponents use is about "infrasound" (sub-audible sound that we are surrounded by from sources as diverse as heartbeat, respiration, oceans/waves, storms, ceiling fans, sub-woofers). The UK's Health Protection Agency report on infrasound is probably the most authoritative report there. It concludes no evidence of harm. Some of the key things that future studies would need to do would…

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    2. Sally Parnis

      Visual Artist, "retired" paediatric anaesthetist

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      Thanks Simon - exactly what I was after.

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  6. Tim Allman

    Medical Software Developer

    This is not news at all to those of us who live in Ontario Canada. Ontario has large hydroelectric resources but these are essentially all developed, Niagara Falls being the first, most famous and largest installation. Over the years we have become increasingly dependent upon thermal (mainly coal) and nuclear generation. As the need for more electricity increases the provincial Liberal government has realised that the current system is problematic largely because of air pollution (coal), capital…

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    1. Peter Sommerville

      Scientist & Technologist

      In reply to Tim Allman

      Hi Tim,

      Personally I am with the Prof on this one. But, on another tack..

      I was in Ontario in 2010 and drove from Niagara to London down some back roads. I passed numerous wid turbine installations but none were turning. It was a lovely sunny but cool day, but without a skerrick of wind. I took some video.

      I have seen similar scenarios in the US and in Southern France, where the nuclear stations I passed were working but nary a turbine was spinning.

      I well remember a stinking hot day down near Fish Creek in Vic, and low and behold on a hilltop sprouting turbines all were motionless.

      Frankly I don't think health effects are an issue with these installations. There are more basic operational issues.

      Just a thought...

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    2. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      Of course no discussion of wind turbines is complete without Captain Bleeding Obvious turning up to point out that the wind does not always blow.

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    3. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      And other times it blows too fast. or in the wrong place ... very variable stuff really... that's why we're talking 10,000 turbines Mike ... plus the back-up gas fired plants.... all of which is a pretty good set of reasons for sticking these things in the best possible places - not just where there is cheap dirt and a bit of wind every now and again.

      Every now and again just isn't good enough.

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    4. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yet South Australia gets 20-30% of its power from wind.

      They must have magic wind and magic turbines that cannot be heard from 36km away.

      http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/south-australia-busts-wind-myths

      "Contrary to what the anti-wind lobby would have us believe about generators spinning in the background burning the same amount of coal and gas in order to be ready to back-up wind, fossil fuel consumption has declined in spite of overall electricity consumption increasing"

      Come on Peter. How about some more straw men - how about if the wind turbine is not always turning then it cannot be mitigating carbon. What about Alex's argument comparing wind turbines to nuclear waste. Perhaps appropriately on this thread there is no argument too far.

      The arguments from the anti-wind mob have gone from rediculous

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    5. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      26% actually Mike.

      Ever seen a full carbon balance sheet for a wind turbine installation Mike? That is: the steel, the gear, the transport, the concrete, the roads, the construction, the maintenance, and the lot... how much goes into it for how much one gets out for how long and for how many dollars?

      Ever seen the financials for a single installation in Australia - the income derived from actual production over a full financial year?

      Incidentally, Climate Speculator is hardly an independent source of opinion on these matters being rather financially close to the wind generator spruikers.

      Are you actually claiming that wind turbines do not require a back up gas-fired generation capacity?

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    6. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Whammo.

      Straight back at me with a strawman.
      "Are you actually claiming that wind turbines do not require a back up gas-fired generation capacity?"

      Did I say that? Did the article say that? As Captain Bleeding Obvious pointed out and you confirmed the wind does not always blow (although it is always blowing somewhere).

      The name of the game here is carbon mitigation. If CO2 was not a greenhouse gas I would be happy to get all out energy from coal. This is not about liking the look of wind…

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    7. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Now now Mike, donm't go throwing bullshit about.

      This is what you quoted from Climate Speculator:

      "Contrary to what the anti-wind lobby would have us believe about generators spinning in the background burning the same amount of coal and gas in order to be ready to back-up wind, fossil fuel consumption has declined in spite of overall electricity consumption increasing"

      You then added:
      Come on Peter. How about some more straw men"

      So no need for gas-fired back-up? Or does a say 20% reliance on wind require gas back-up? Simple direct question. Answer it without resorting to strawmen or anything else ... simple innit?

      Yes I know who owns Climate Speculator and I know who pays for it as well, that is why Rupert still owns it. Or you think it's funded by subscribers?

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    8. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Where in the statement

      "Contrary to what the anti-wind lobby would have us believe about generators spinning in the background burning the same amount of coal and gas in order to be ready to back-up wind, fossil fuel consumption has declined in spite of overall electricity consumption increasing"

      does it say that backup is not required?

      It is refuting the claim that the backup generators would be "burning the same amount of coal and gas" as prior to introduction of wind. Which is why they make the point about fossil fuel consumption reducing.

      Where do I say that backup is not required? Come on Peter - point it out.

      "Yes I know who owns Climate Speculator and I know who pays for it as well, that is why Rupert still owns it"

      That confirms your status as a major BSer. Murdoch only purchased Climate Spectator from Alan Kohler et al 3 weeks ago

      http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/note-editor-news-ltd-sale

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    9. Peter Sommerville

      Scientist & Technologist

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike

      Let us not let fiction get in the way of fact. The figure is around 18% in 2010, not 20-30%.

      http://www.sa.gov.au/subject/Water,+energy+and+environment/Energy/Energy+supply,+providers+and+bills/Electricity+and+gas+supply/South+Australian+electricity+supply+industry+overview

      And coal is still the base load generator.

      Of course total consumption in SA is piddling cf Vic & NSW. Talk about cherry picking!

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    10. Peter Sommerville

      Scientist & Technologist

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Insult does not constitute an argument - but it does enable one to avoid the question.

      :-)

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    11. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      Peter - you say "The figure is around 18% in 2010, not 20-30%."

      The chart in the article I linked to agrees with you. It shows 18% in 2009/10 and 20% in 2010/11.

      Here is the data for SA for the March 2012 quarter.
      http://www.energyquest.com.au/uploads/docs/electricity_data_march_2012_20120528.pdf

      Wind 31%, Solar PV 3.5%, Coal 26%, Gas 39.5%

      You say "coal is still the base load generator"

      Arithmetic suggests 20-30% from wind leaves 70-80% from other sources which in SA includes coal, gas and solar PV. Actually from the figures above the March 2012 quarter shows coal at 26%.

      You accuse me of cherry picking SA. Well given that the argument is about whether wind can work, I would hardly pick NSW and VIC where Liberal governments have effectively legislated against wind. See the discussion elsewhere on the thread.

      FYI according to the NEM data linked above, wind in NSW is 0.9%, QLD 0.0% and in VIC it is 2.5%.

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    12. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Not really Mike ... I am not privy to the details of the arrangements Murdoch entered into with Alan Kohler regarding the continued existence of Climate Speculator but given his enthusiastic attacks on anything remotely greenish I'm actually surprised he didn't shut the outfit down immediately on his assumption of control. Or sell it off immediately. It is a curious arrangement playing both sides of an argument isn't it?

      Now why would Rupert keep that little publication afloat Mike? Fill us in.

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    13. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      Peter, there are no wind turbines at Fish Creek, maybe you are thinking of Toora about 15 km to the west? It's certainly true that there are times when the turbines don't operate but those occasions are rare. In the winter the predominant winds come from the West and in the summer, a mix of easterly winds and onshore breezes. I live not far from the windfarm and enjoy taking local visitors to the site. It always gives me a chuckle seeing the cattle, sheep and horses making use of the shade from the turbines during the hot summer weather. I like to make a point of asking other visitors at the information centre what they think of the windfarm. The general comment is something along the lines of "what's all the fuss about?"

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    14. Peter Sommerville

      Scientist & Technologist

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike,

      I was enjoying a very pleasant weekend and most of the commentary here is well off the topic. I feel sorry for the Prof but am not surprised he is not participating.

      I assume you are a bright young man and you understand statistics. In which case you will certainly understand the term 'special causes'. Comparing quarterly data with annual data is not very bright. And you know as well as I do that there has not been sufficient new infrastructure installed in SA to account for a shift…

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    15. Peter Sommerville

      Scientist & Technologist

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      You are correct Blair - it was Toora. I couldn't remember the name. I was down there with my son at clearing sale.

      My point is simply that wind is not the be all and end all. Sure it has its role but it is also limited in what it can deliver. I refer you to the AEOM 2010 report on SA for a very clear explanation and demonstration of what the limitations are.

      On the particular day when I was at Toora it was very hot. Fortunately it was a holiday period and industry was basically shut down…

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    16. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Hit the nail right on the head there Peter ... people who are right - who are so convinced they are right - don't have to be persuasive, don't need to convince or be polite, don't need to worry about those fools who do not understand, who stand in the way of progress... they just trample on them ... it's one of the prerogatives of the truly righteous.

      And they laugh at those fools who develop symptoms of a psychogenic nature when they have this right thing imposed on them. These psychological…

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    17. Sean Reynolds

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      "Ever seen a full carbon balance sheet for a wind turbine installation Mike? That is: the steel, the gear, the transport, the concrete, the roads, the construction, the maintenance, and the lot... how much goes into it for how much one gets out for how long and for how many dollars?"

      This is an incredibly specious and disingenous argument. You get a lot out of it for a long time, apart from maintenance costs on the turbines -- wind is a renewable, unlike coal or gas, it doesn't pollute while…

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    18. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Sean Reynolds

      What do you think a straw man argument actually means Sean? Look it up.

      The simple point I am trying to make is that while undoubtedly wind itself is a renewable resource - when it blows, there is a cost of getting it and that this cost has a carbon footprint and no one seems to take that into account when they do the sums. I think they should. We should take it into account with everything we build. And that cost should be deducted from the benefits that flow from a wind installation. And when one does it doesn't look so good.

      No cost-free answers here Sean... no way of doing this of maintaining our "endless cheap energy lifestyles" without drawing down on the earth's resources... again. Better just make sure the cost is worth the output from these contraptions, don't you think?

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    19. Sean Reynolds

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yes, I do know, a straw man is constructing an argument your opponent didn't make, then proceeding to ridicule or destroy your false argument. Your comment "Are you actually claiming that wind turbines do not require a back up gas-fired generation capacity?" may be a near miss in the straw man dept, I'll leave it up to the best philosophical minds of our century to decide.

      Of course there is a cost in setting up a wind farm. Not as much as a coal-fired power station, I'll warrant, and nowhere…

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    20. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Sean Reynolds

      Thanks for the lessons there Sean. I don't think much has changed since I began campaigning against nuclear power and uranium mining in the early 1970s.

      The problem with wind Sean is that you just don't get much bang for your bucks - particularly the way we're doing it here. The only folks who seem to be making a quid out of it are the suppliers of the turbines...

      Now I'm not saying that turbines are bad for you, or that wind has no part to play in mitigating global warming ... but I am saying is that we need to put them where the wind is... offshore. And that is about 40% more expensive than the average land-based location but about 60% more efficient or more.

      Now it's late and I have a busy day tomorrow if the rain holds off.

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    21. Sean Reynolds

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Welcome. ; )

      Offshore is probably a good idea, the higher cost should not be a deal breaker. Japan already has a lot of offshore wind generation, and they are apparently looking at building a lot of floating offshore now to replace the Fukushima nuclear plant capacity.

      Kicking the can down the road to the next generation by burning through the world's last coal supplies and fissile uranium in the next few decades is not a viable option. The cost of clean, long-term renewable solutions has…

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    22. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      No - it is not that simple. You need a mix of renewable technologies with some energy storage to maintain supplies. We have to choose from: Wind,wave,tidal,solar PV,solar thermal,hydro,geothermal,biomass, and probably some I can't think of.

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    23. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike: "major BSer"? Is this your outside voice, or just your keyboard passive aggressivity?

      I didn't know we could get promotions to ranks llike Major either!

      Anyway, the Danes, for all their offshore wind (and halting of onshore increases due to popular complaints) must have ~300MW at the ready, from fossil/nuke plants somewhere in Europe, if their forecast for the next day's wind speed is off by <1 meter/sec.

      The Germans' selfishly political decision to retire nukes is estimated by their…

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    24. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Wait a minute Mike, I thought you'd promoted him to Major? Or was that your contribution to the "BS" level?
      ;]

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    25. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, re your anti-nuke campaigning, it's subject to the same respect for fact that critiques of any other power source is.

      So the challenge to automatic anti-nuke thinking is, how to explain its far superior safety and far lower environmental impact, even with the present, 1946-era reactors?

      The DoE Gen-IV designs eliminate most or all of the Uranium issues, while providing even better safety and power efficiency. All that means even cheaper, more reliable power than we've seen for the last decades from nukes.

      And the Aussies/Czechs, Chinese, etc. aren't dumb in moving to the best known systems, based on Thorium salt.

      Sleep tight!

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    26. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      G'day Alex,

      My concerns with nuclear power have always been more social and political than technical. I just don't think we are sufficiently clever and long-sighted enough to manage such power for so many years.

      Fukushima is a case in point actually. The technology itself wasn't the issue - in fact I am surprised that the damage has been so minimal and localised, given what actually happened. But this would not have happened at all other than as a result of human decisions and economic…

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    27. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sean Reynolds

      "You get a lot out of it for a long time, apart from maintenance costs on the turbines -- wind is a renewable, unlike coal or gas, it doesn't pollute while in operation,"

      Indeed, the CO2-balance is key to any new power source, and with wind's high dependence on fossil fuel for material mining/processing, transport, maintenance, etc., it has a larger CO2 cost than solar, especially local solar.

      Per peak MW, wind takes ~700tons of materials needing fossil-fuel processing -- 5 tons of coal per…

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    28. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Ahh, ze better people! Ve are verkink on zat too!

      Here are the stats that show how superior nuclear power safety has been around the world for it entire history (to the report date), even including Chernobyl http://tinyurl.com/42wvr9l

      There's a more recent, even better report, because all the western nations have done a better job with training and thus achieving uptime after the 3-Mile Island failure.: Note also, that western naval reactors, which number well over 100, were not in the Swiss…

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    29. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      No worries Peter, although I think with respect, you'll be hard-pressed to find anybody who supports wind energy or who associated with any wind energy company who has made the claim that wind energy is the "be all and end all".

      As I've said before, wind will just be one of the many renewables that will be employed to produce our electricity.

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    30. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Actually, Gary, it;'s long been known that local solar, plus EVs, plus efficiency, plus storage, plus some baseload are all that's needed.

      Why deploy inefficient, expensive-to-maintain sources, like wind/wave, that also add unusual environmental & cost effects?

      Losses from inefficient sources are of what use? Resources wasted on inefficient sources couldn't be better used otherwise?

      This is a classic engineering-economics decision system, where the entities that give the most bang for the buck, with the least long term environmental/financial costs are the best to select. The rest aren't needed.

      Remember the Wankel engine? Remember the side wheeler? Remember the Concorde?

      Just because someone likes a particular source and has $ in it doesn't make it viable or desirable, long term. It's short-term thinking that's gotten us into this mess.

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    31. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      "LCOE for new wind" may actually be less than for coal, if our agencies actually regulated and required accounting for the deaths & disease caused by each source -- coal kills >12,000 Americans per year. Now that's a subsidy!

      But, "LCOE for new wind" is notoriously silent on environmental effects, inefficiencies, land consumption/diversion. added ISO interfacing complexity and long-term maintenance & decommissioning. And, a 1000-ton concrete foundation is a bit hard to remove when no longer needed,or when the wind has changed, as the Chinese are finding.

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    32. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sean Reynolds

      Sean,m we've actually "kicked the can down the road" for some decades, so leaving our offspring with lots of windmills to watch out for or keep running isn't going to look much better to them.

      Japan has always been profligate with electricity, so wind can't do it for them, no matter how they make their coastal waters more dangerous to navigate.

      However, they have turned on two reactors and are looking at improving the crazy 50-to-60Hz conversion systems between west & east. And, one utility…

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    33. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter Ormonde.

      Peter Sommerville is attacking me for claiming 20-30% wind in SA

      He claimed 18% in 2010 which is accurate but does not account for the subsequent increases quoted in the NEM report I linked to

      You claimed "26% actually Mike."

      So you are cheering Sommerville on for what exactly? Because you think you can score a point against me? Weak as water.

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    34. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      By the way Peter what I said was 20-30%. The post is still there - go and check.

      You yourself claimed 18% in 2010.

      You claim a "shift from 18% to 31% wind power in a year."

      No not a year. The 18% figure was 2009/10. The 31% figure was from the NEM report for March quarter 2012. And because it was only one quarter I said "20-30%".

      Peter I think you are a silly person who cannot read or do simple arithmetic and because I embarassed you, you are desperate to find some flimsy point to attack me on.

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    35. Peter Sommerville

      Scientist & Technologist

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Hi Blair,

      Actually I am not hard pressed to find people who think wind and solar are the "be all and end all" - most of them are young and are not technically educated. But I also know many who are much more realistic, and with whom one can have a sensible discussion.

      I actually have a PV system on my residence - so I understand the necessity of diversification, but likewise I also understand the limitations of the technologies available. I had an interesting and productive discussion elsewhere…

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    36. Peter Sommerville

      Scientist & Technologist

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Sorry Mike - that comment was not a denial of climate science. It was a critique of some aspects of it - in particular the climate models - which in my view are not "science". Tools perhaps, but tools with obvious limitations. I am not Robinson Crusoe there.

      As I said before, you unfortunately have a tendency to overstate your case. Less stridency and more politeness and you might find yourself more persuasive.

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    37. Peter Sommerville

      Scientist & Technologist

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Hi Mike,

      I know you quoted a range - I can read.

      What I questioned was your interpretation of the data. I pointed you in a direction where you may have learned something about interpreting data. But obviously I failed.

      I didn't claim it was 18% in 2010 - I simply cited the SA Government's figure.

      I haven't been attacking you - although obviously your feel I have been - I suggest because I have questioned your posts and you interpret this as an attack. I suggest you look at the language of my posts and that of your own - you will find a significant difference. As I have said twice already less abuse may make you more persuasive.

      Have a great day.

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    38. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      Peter, I'd kill to be 21 again given the developments in and growing applications for renewable technologies. I can imagine some very interesting developments in coming years, I'd love to be in the middle of it all. The best I can do is invest a little in those that interest me such as solar and wind.

      I grew up on a farm and wind energy was the sole method for moving water from dams to storage tanks. Over 24 years, the windmills served us well. Certainly we had the odd occasion over a summer when prolonged periods of calm weather made it difficult to keep the water up to cattle but generally it was pretty good.

      We were also at the end of the line re electricity and every storm would bring the line down or knock out the system so frequently that most of the farmers resorted to petrol engine backup or the tractor PTO coupled directly to the vacuum pump to drive the milking machines.

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    39. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      Peter, sorry I forgot to ask the following. What do you think of the notion of community owned renewable energy projects?

      I'm convinced that if more people could share in direct ownership, many of the attitudinal difficulties would disappear.

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    40. Peter Sommerville

      Scientist & Technologist

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Hi Blair,

      I like the concepts of community owned renewable energy projects. Frankly I think that if we are to move towards renewable energy this is one of the options that needs to be considered. However, this means that the economies of scale will disappear, and I suspect the input of individuals to maintaining whatever systems are in place will increase. I believe country people would find this a very easy transition to make as most of them are 3/4's the way there. City folk will find it much more difficult - I suspect. In fact I am certain many of them would find it impossible. Years ago I worked in the waste disposal industry - city folk did not have a clue how to look after their septic tanks!

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    41. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      Same here Blair. I reckon co-operatives have a resonance as a business model for this sort of venture.

      It would be a most opportune time for the cashed-up proponents of renewable energy to take this time to reassess what has gone wrong and develop some strategies to recover. And incidentally I would not involve the vested interests of any particular technology in such discussions.

      Finding ways of providing direct and immediate financial benefits to the host community is absolutely critical in my view - that is essentially changing the operations of the grid and the national market. More than ownership.

      Now that would be an interesting discussion. Doing different things differently.

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    42. Peter Sommerville

      Scientist & Technologist

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Hi Blair,

      I am not sure I would kill to be 21 again - it would mean I would have to abandon what I have already learnt and begin again. I am very happy to continue learning and pushing what I believe in as much as I can with the funds I have at my discretion.

      Yours is a familiar story - one of the reasons I respect farmers and country people so much.

      I grew up in a home without electricity, without running water and without sewerage. We had a valve radio powered by 12 volt car batteries…

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    43. Sean Reynolds

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      "And, the power lost in transmission/conversion is further represented as excess power installed."

      Not sure what this means. You mean mechanical losses? AC transmission losses are pretty low. Wind is free and doesn't generate CO2 however.

      I don't see a net CO2 increase forever at all, that is specious reasoning also. Wind would be utilised as just one renewable out of a bunch of options -- perhaps solar thermal should get more attention particularly in sunny countries -- Australia infamously…

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    44. Sean Reynolds

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      There are currently no commercial or large scale viable thorium reactors in existence -- some expert commentators say that they believe it is not possible for them to actually work. Therefore, making gambles on unproven technology and dreams is a very risky plan indeed.

      Harvesting uranium from the oceans is also a mostly speculative proposal. Desal plants are processing a tiny amount of the content of the oceans.

      Problems with disposing of toxic waste and weapons grade byproducts won't go away. Which countries won't be allowed to have nuclear power?

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    45. Sean Reynolds

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      I understand there are currently no commercial or large scale viable thorium reactors in existence -- some expert commentators say that they believe it is not possible for them to actually work. Therefore, making gambles on unproven technology and dreams is a very risky plan indeed.

      Problems with disposing of toxic waste and weapons grade byproducts won't go away. Which countries won't be allowed to have nuclear power?

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    46. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sean Reynolds

      Sean, you obviously know nothing about why Th is chosen and what type of reactor it's used in. Go argue with the Chinese, the Czechs, the Indians, the Norwegians, the French, the S. Africans, the Brazilians, oh , and even with the Aussies planning work on this reactor class...
      http://tinyurl.com/6vmaljn

      And, if you actually want to learn something, so you don't continually fill the Internet with lack of knowledge, go to Shanghai in Oct...
      www.itheo.org/articles/announcing-thec12-shanghai

      The rest of the countries being part of the solution rather than part of the problem...
      http://tinyurl.com/4t5ojde
      http://tinyurl.com/7hatm2b
      http://asia.iop.org/cws/article/news/47111
      http://tinyurl.com/6vmaljn
      http://vimeo.com/39052604
      http://tinyurl.com/8ynwcqw
      www.deccanherald.com/content/246849/india-all-set-tap-thorium.html

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    47. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sean Reynolds

      Sean, you obviously know nothing about why Th is chosen and what type of reactor it's used in. Go argue with the Chinese, the Czechs, the Indians, the Norwegians, the French, the S. Africans, the Brazilians, oh , and even with the Aussies planning work on this reactor class...
      http://tinyurl.com/6vmaljn

      And, if you actually want to learn something, so you don't continually fill the Internet with lack of knowledge, go to Shanghai in Oct...
      www.itheo.org/articles/announcing-thec12-shanghai

      The rest of the countries being part of the solution rather than part of the problem...
      http://tinyurl.com/4t5ojde
      http://tinyurl.com/7hatm2b
      http://asia.iop.org/cws/article/news/47111
      http://tinyurl.com/6vmaljn
      http://vimeo.com/39052604
      http://tinyurl.com/8ynwcqw
      www.deccanherald.com/content/246849/india-all-set-tap-thorium.html

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    48. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sean Reynolds

      Sean, since you're admittedly no engineer or scientists, here's a simple explanation -- present prop-generators (you think are "turbines") only extract about 50% of wind energy under optimal wind conditions. They extract none below a certain speed and none above another, destructive speed. Look at the tach on your car, for example, and read the test reports showing what the RPM values for max torque, horsepower, etc. are, and note the redline and idling speeds. Windmills have just as large limits…

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    49. Sean Reynolds

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      This is my point, Alex -- everyone is 'planning work' on this reactor class -- no viable large-scale or commercial plant exists yet.

      e.g. from your own sources "The first thorium reactor would be a research project as several key technological issues were needed to be addressed before a thorium reactor was made commercial, said a DAE scientist. The lead time could be several decades."

      Maybe we should be doing renewables in the meantime, as we wait for this complicated and only semi-deadly technology to finally come on tap, only to realise we don't need it due to the renewables we constructed!

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    50. Sean Reynolds

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      When was I admittedly no engineer or scientist? I have a science degree containing many engineering units. Unfortunately, you are so immersed in the engineering challenges themselvse that you might be suffering from 'no forest for the trees' syndrome.

      Your arguments appear to be flagging in every new post. No viable thorium reactors exist today. Final result is decades away. Sounds like those hydrogen fuel cells, always '10 years away now' whenever you ask. And yet you push an immature technology…

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    51. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      Ooooh, high school Latin! We had a really cute divorcee teacher. We all prayed to get her later for French!
      ;]

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    52. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      So, Gary?

      Costs are highly variable to details. For example, the poorly-maintained VT Yankee plant up here was bought for ~110 million, fixed up and has been cranking out >$60 million/year of juice ever since.

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    53. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Sean Reynolds

      Indeed and India's thorium reactors are decades away, if it ever gets the programme off the ground:

      June 27, 2012: "India's Atomic Energy Commission today said the country has to wait for a few more decades to use thorium as the base for nuclear reactors.

      “Using thorium as the base for reactors will take time. We have to wait a few decades to make it possible,” Atomic Energy Commission chairman RK Sinha said."

      A "few decades?" Thirty, forty, fifty years?

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    54. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sean Reynolds

      Sorry Sean, I mixed you up with Blair because your statements were so similar.

      Ok"a science degree " -- good. So what does that mean about your knowledge of power systems, nuclear physics, etc?

      There's no 1GWe windmill yet either, but MSRs have already been built and run for years, and Thorium was used to breed more fuel than used in the first US civilian reactor in 1977, and companies have offered nuke fuel spiked with Thorium for years, so what's your Thorium point?

      Maybe ytou think the…

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    55. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sean Reynolds

      Sean, your symmetric point is that there's no 1GWe windmill yet?

      Or is it that you think the Chinese, Czechs, French, Brits, Brazilians, Norwegians... are dumb for planning ahead?

      Pick a side, Sean. You can be part of the long-term solution, which wind cannot be, or part of the problem.

      Solar DG, storage and nuclear are already clearly the future for emissions-free power, long term..

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  7. Lorraine Yeomans

    Managing Director

    Sophie, if you can manage to actually read those links in the article, well done. I am no IT expert but looks like alot of computer code to me. Appears as if the inclusion of these unreadable "reviews" was put in as an afterthought. I would also suggest that if there is any hard evidence one way of the other regarding the effects on human or animal health of windfarms, they deserve to be put in the story, not sidelined. What readers have been offered are opinions. Am curious to know, are you a supporter of the author and/or his article?

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    1. Simon Chapman

      Professor of Public Health at University of Sydney

      In reply to Lorraine Yeomans

      Lorraine, the links work fine, as other readers' comments show. How about you get your computer settings upgraded rather than make gratuitous comments about my motives?

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    2. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      Interesting isn't it how the current public discussion of these issues heads straight for the groin with insinuations or allegations about motives and implicit scientific corruption? Don't argue the facts - impugn the integrity. ... shoot the messenger. It is a tactic of the ignorant. A fact-free line of attack.

      Thus we have it that there is a global conspiracy of hired scientists ranging from mathematicians through biologists and climate scientists who cannot be trusted. Conspiracies are…

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    3. Ian Musgrave

      Senior lecturer in Pharmacology at University of Adelaide

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      I think she might be making more a comment on the general unreadability of technical jargon to the lay public. That's a hazard of linking to authoritative sources :-)

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    4. Dave Smith

      Energy Consultant

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      Simon,

      Great article and everything, but if you are going to link to documents, it might be a good idea to ensure that they are in a pdf format. Not everybody is computer literate.

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    5. Simon Chapman

      Professor of Public Health at University of Sydney

      In reply to Dave Smith

      Dave, I often link to .docx on my own website and until now have not been told that this is a problem. I'm assuming it might have something to do with people using old versions of Word programs.

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    6. Simon Chapman

      Professor of Public Health at University of Sydney

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Good insights Peter. Imposed (and new) risks are always perceived as more alarming than natural, voluntary and non-exotic risks. Anxiety about mobile telephone towers had its day about 10 years ago, but you rarely see outbreaks today. If someone looked you in the eye and told you that telephones, TV screens, microwave ovens & electric blankets are evil, you would get an idea of who you were dealing with. But the BMJ ran material on the dangers of telephones in the 1880s. Historically I think we are in the middle of windturbine hysteria, and at the beginning of wifi & digital power meter panics. They will pass, but not before the analogy with smoking is raised 1000s if times by people who have little to no idea about the difference in the risks and the relative stength of the evidence/

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    7. Ian Musgrave

      Senior lecturer in Pharmacology at University of Adelaide

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      AHHRGGG!!! No, not docx, aside from the fact very few people (outside of academics and some professionals) will have Microsoft products on their home computers, the issues of size (there are still people on dialup here in Oz, especially in those rural regions where you would want people to read your article), subsequent malicious editing and/or word based viruses are significant.

      Convert to docx PDF for web hosting, always.

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    8. Simon Chapman

      Professor of Public Health at University of Sydney

      In reply to Ian Musgrave

      Here was me thinking I was doing a favour to people by leaving the URLs live in a .docx -- just experimented & saw that pdf conversions do the same -- but does that depend on what Adobe reader you have?

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    9. Ian Musgrave

      Senior lecturer in Pharmacology at University of Adelaide

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      No, pretty much all versions of PDF witers/readers will allow these hyperlinks (at least since 2008).

      I find, when setting up these things, to think whether or not my mum could sort it out (unless your mum is a direct descendent of Ada Lovelace of course :-) or was an IBM engineer).

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    10. Ben Neill

      Mobile/Web Applications Developer

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      Correct, I think pre-2002 versions of MS Office can't open it from memory. 2002 onwards, as well as the free Open Office (3.2 onwards) support it.

      It's a blight on the web, but some would say if you are using decade old software, maybe the problem isn't completely the document...

      if it's your doc, pdf is the best bet. If it's someone elses, then that's painful but better than no link at all!

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    11. Mark Amey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      All this confusion over docx, yet my mac can decode it. I think this docx business is a poor excuse for not reading the linked research!

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  8. Mark Amey

    logged in via Facebook

    Thanks, Professor Chapman. It would be a grand world if journalists would seek out the advice of epidemiologists, rather than rednecks, on bizarre subjects, such as 'windturbineitis', or whatever they want to call it.

    By the way, my chooks managed to lay a yolkless egg the other day, and the nearest wind turbine is 15 kms away. Perhaps the neighbor's photovoltaic panels are generating weird electrical 'vibrations'??

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  9. Stephen Morton

    electronics tech

    I found this interesting:

    http://machinedesign.com/article/hydraulic-wind-turbines-0420

    Noise and harm to birds are two real complaints.
    There is a lot if engineering yet to be done with regards to wind energy.
    Putting the generators in the base lowers maintenance cost and quells noise.
    A wider range of wind velocity can be harvested via hydraulic coupling.
    The only good reason for having them close to residences is lower interconnect cost.

    The description of despised green totems made me chuckle. It's also amusing to read the disinclined trying to disparage such eminently sensible machinery.

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  10. Tanya Burnett

    Dental Practice Manager and NCAS Level 1 Coach

    I find it appauling that you continually demean Sarah Laurie and others that intend to help individuals that have left their only home. People do not walk off their properties and put themselves into significant financial stress for no apparent reason. I have been in contact personally with a number of individuals who are currently dealing with the repercussions of close wind turbines. Professor Chapman, there are a number of people that would be only to happy for you to come and stay on a long term basis at their properties, no cost just perhaps your health?

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    1. Derek Bolton

      Retired s/w engineer

      In reply to Tanya Burnett

      The article does not say 'wind turbine syndrome' is not real. It does suggest that it is largely, if not entirely, a nocebo. If you are convinced something you are exposed to is injurious to your health, your health probably will suffer. There's plenty of scientific evidence for that. The Landscare Comedians tell people the wind farms will hurt them, so they do. Sarah Laurie perhaps does likewise - I do not know.

      "The patients suffered from nervous excitability, with buzzing noises in the ear, giddiness, and neuralgic pains … in some cases … objective lesions, such as a subinflammatory condition of the membrane tympani … All the trouble … vanishes if the ear is allowed … rest … the cause of the evil being withdrawn. The victims … seem all to be of … nervous organization, … such persons should not use the telephone." British Medical Journal, September 21, 1889

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    2. Tanya Burnett

      Dental Practice Manager and NCAS Level 1 Coach

      In reply to Derek Bolton

      The British Medical Journal as of March 2012 have requested an extensive review into health and wind farms.

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    3. Simon Chapman

      Professor of Public Health at University of Sydney

      In reply to Tanya Burnett

      Tanya, I suggested one reason why a handful of people have "walked off their properties". Why is it that hundreds of thousands, indeed millions, of people in Europe where wind turbines are abundant have not reacted like this? If you want to experience real noise, try living in a city.

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    4. Simon Chapman

      Professor of Public Health at University of Sydney

      In reply to Tanya Burnett

      Tanya, that was not "the British Medical Journal" requesting a review. It was two authors (at least one with an extensive history of opposition to wind farms) writing in the BMJ. That is a big difference. The Australian NHMRC is undertaking what will be the 18th such review, and the Canadian government has announced what will be doing a 19th. Predictably, the high priestess of Wind Turbine Syndrome Nina Pierpont has already condemned it "For naively imagining this study is going to be anything other than political theater and a whitewash, pinch yourself" "http://www.windturbinesyndrome.com/2012/health-canada-announces-wind-turbine-noise-health-study-canada/?var=wts

      Opponent groups are not prepared to accept any evidence other than that which agrees with them. They call for reviews, but when they are announced or published, they condemn them

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    5. Tanya Burnett

      Dental Practice Manager and NCAS Level 1 Coach

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      "Try living in the city" I have for many years, but I now live in an area where I appreciate the surrounding natural habitat. You choose to live in the city, just like I choose to live in the country. In Europe I do believe there are fewer wind turbines within a defined area, and they are of a smaller MW capacity.
      I do not consist of an opponent group, nor am I against renewable energy. But I do believe there needs to be transparency, these wind farm organisations are anything but transparent.

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    6. Simon Chapman

      Professor of Public Health at University of Sydney

      In reply to Tanya Burnett

      People who live in the country consume energy and expect to have services (roads, schools, health services etc etc) which depend on energy, just like people who live in the city. The "I choose to live in the (pristine) country" argument essentially says that any inconvenience like energy generation should take place away from country residents. We just not the benefits & none of the inconvenience, because we "choose". City folk can put up with all the noise and inconvenience of ports, airports, traffic jams for major sporting events watched on TV by country folk in their tranquil surroundings etc. And we should have energy generation too now, apparently. Not sure that sounds really equitable to me.

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    7. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      The problem with wind power, as we see it realized now, is wastefulness. Compared to local generation that doesn't require large swaths of land/sea, doesn't interfere with species, and doesn't have the lifetime costs of prop-generators, wind makes no engineering sense. It only makes economic sense to the few who receive subsidy from the rest of us. That's not a solution.

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    8. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      Simon, much like you characterised papers published in the Science and Technology Bulletin as "research".

      Perhaps a little objectivity wouldn't hurt...

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    9. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      Oh well, you must have already forgotten the recent exchanges on Crikey where you characterised them as "research" (your inverted commas).

      So some didn't have method sections (so which ones didn't?). What about the rest?

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    10. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, the loss of productive farmland due to coal mines must make you apoplectic if wind turbines upset you. Pity you don't acknowledge that farming operations can still continue uninterrupted in conjunction with turbines. The rest of your commentary simply ignores reality.

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    11. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Well Blair could we leave the matter to a little expert mathematical opinion: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=13884

      One nuclear plant equates to a 238 square kilometre jungle of noisy, vibrating unreliable wind turbines.

      A bit of inference and one will see the solar light - let's call it solar thermal. It doesn't take up much space and relies on some rather abundant source of nuclear energy called the sun.

      No dead birds, no fuss, no noise, no sick and diseased rural residents.

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    12. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Pretty close, George, but any technology with "thermal" in its name means we lose most of the incoming energy as waste heat. So solar thermal is as bad as any steam/molten-salt plant of any kind. And, it suffers the same perennial transmission power loss. It also needs lots of mirror cleaning and environmental mitigation, because its absolute limit is 3MW/acre incoming & 1MW/acre electrical output.

      A typical, local solar PV install is now 20% efficient -- 600kW/acre, with almost no thermal/environmental loss, with R&D aiming at its limit of 3MW/acre. Present nukes yield >20MW/acre, with next generation reactors eliminating water, etc., so more than doubling efficiency of both land & fuel use.

      All that's needed is local solar PV/hot-water, efficient storage (including EVs) and safe nuclear. Farmers can still have their windmills, of course.

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    13. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Sly, B;lair, but windmills only allow limited farm uses, and no trees. Apple has recently committed to developing a 100-acre NC USA site for a massive server farm, which includes wind & solar generation. -- they cleared 100 acres of forest. That's what we call bassackwards 'green'.
      ;]
      The bottom line remains a physical fact that wind cannot compete with local solar PV, now, or in the future. Subsidies can keep wind alive for a time, but eventually, the politics will fade, as Vestas has already been fading away some employees, and more sense will permeate the folks who really think before professing to be "green".

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    14. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      The area any windfarm occupies is irrelevant because it doesn't stop the farming enterprise from continuing. You also ignore the increasing size and improving efficiency of turbines.

      Your childish use of emotive terms like jungle and noisy demonstrate you aren't interested in any objective discussion - you should visit they windfarm so you know what you are talking about. Just like ratbag creationists and anti-vaxers, no amount of contrary evidence will change your mind. You're not a sceptic, just a denialist. If it wasn't self-inflicted, I'd feel sorry for you.

      PS funny you should use nuclear power to try and denigrate wind energy. Your strangely silent on the huge area of land and sea now rendered useless thanks to the Fukushima disaster. Further highlighting your hypocrisy.

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    15. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, you really don't hold back on the bovine excreta do you? Any little fabrication will suit your needs it seems.

      I can't speak for wind farms elsewhere in the world but here in Australia, they serve as an adjunct to existing farm operations and certainly don't hinder the enterprise. Farmers welcome them for the additional income and certainty they provide.

      Enlightened councils also like them for the extra money that gets circulated through the local economy, the additional rateable income…

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    16. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Blair - I'm not disagreeing with any of what you say - but where are they these winners from windfarms? Why is the Victorian Premier able to go about his business without a constant chorus of opposition to his ban on wind farms? He is denying them a future, income, revenue ... why are they not howling?

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    17. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      "childish" Blair? You accusing someone else of using "emotive terms"? Really?

      As to your Fukushima myth, you clearly don't have a grasp of nuclear physics or natural radiation. there ia no "huge area of land and sea now rendered useless" by Fukushima. There are some tens of square km in Japan that will be unused for some decades, while the few isotopes that are of biological danger fade away. There are no huge sea areas now off limits because of radiation. We, in fact, are eating bluefin…

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    18. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      "why are they not howling"

      They are but when the Premier is determined not to listen and he is ably supported by the Murdoch press, it's hard to get the message across. Give it time, you have to keep in mind we are dealing with governments that ignore the science that doesn't suit them and effectively try to legislate it out of existence as the QLD LNP look like doing.

      The following article illustrates the stupidity of pretending we can go on as we have in the past:
      http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/digging-deep-yallourn-mine-failures?utm_source=Climate%20Spectator&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=3b2795c485-CSPEC_DAILY

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    19. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      OK. I get it Blair. I am non-comformant to your ideology/religion/version of evidence whatever.

      So do you now get Pope Chapman to order my "excommunication" because I am suspect of denialism?

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    20. Stephen Morton

      electronics tech

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Well there's a good point. Wind power has some of it's best uses in isolated communities. Farmers especially realize their utility. As do sailboaters. Big grid connected arrays will always be fought by someone.

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    21. Stephen Morton

      electronics tech

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      All that Uranium needs to be mined and refined. Quite a footprint there. Unless we use decommissioned nukes.
      That said, miniaturized, buried reactors may have a future in the mix. And that's what it will be- a mix.
      Burning coal is a great way to produce Mercury. There has to be some opportunity buried in all that fly ash somewhere.

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    22. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George, I'm quite certain you are sincere, also misinformed, self obsessed, woefully ignorant of basic physics and prone to conspiracy theories but nevertheless, sincere.

      I don't subscribe to any religions, I think they are more suited to people like yourself.

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    23. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, on reflection I think you are disagreeing with almost everything I have said. I had thought you were interested in reasoned discussion but as Mike has shown, you aren't quite as informed as you make yourself out to be, as evidenced by your comments about SA wind energy production and the recent change of ownership of Climate Spectator. Then there are your inconsistencies such as suggesting turbines should be deployed in the Roaring Forties while elsewhere saying turbines can't operate when winds are too strong. I think maybe you just enjoy arguing for arguments sake.

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    24. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blowing over straw men again, eh Blair? No one has said farmers can't have their windmills.

      Glad you brought up subsidies for other things as justification for wind subsidies -- makes it all kind of silly, eh? Without good science & engineering assessment, one can't decide which subsidies to reject. That's why each industry has its army of lobbyists, up here at least.

      So, you know I've said here that combustion subsidies are huge, especially when we count the dead they produce -- >10,000…

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    25. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      I'd like to think we can do without nuclear but if we have to use it, so be it. Pity you forgot to mention that insurance for most nuclear power stations is paid out of the public purse.

      As for subsidies, when it comes to double standards - and subsidies - nobody does it better than the good old US, the land that espouses free enterprise.

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    26. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      All utilities pay insurance from revenues and the advantage nuclear has now is its superior uptime/capacity-factor, so users get cheaper power.

      The other advantage is that combined with local PV, nuclear minimizes environmental impact and maximizes efficiency. Nothing beats advanced nukes at >50MW/acre and the ability to desalinate water and make carbon-neutral fuels for aircraft, etc., while being located independently of water.for cooling.

      Someone else raised nuclear power here, so let me…

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    27. Stephen Morton

      electronics tech

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Yep. Weapons development spurred the use of Light Water systems.
      A bit off topic but utterly interesting history there concerning Thorium.
      A problem solved but ignored.

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    28. Sean Reynolds

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Interesting, why is there 'waste heat'? The heat produced by the mirror array is stored in molten salts which then heats water to turn turbines, just as in a nuclear power plant. The sun blasts the earth with quite a bit of free heat every day, so hard to 'waste' it, unlike, for instance, heat wasted by burning finite fossil fuel reserves, or finite uranium reserves which are tipped to last just 40 years if more nuclear plants are built.

      So how is it 'bad'? Short answer: it ain't.

      Are you talking about AC transmission loss? AC transmission loss is about 5% in the power grid, an acceptable and almost neglible amount -- presumably the nuclear option (and any other centralised, distant option) has the same transmission loss rate.

      Safe nuclear is a bit of an oxymoron.

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    29. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      And now we all see you misunderstamn both nuclear physics and wind-power subsidy/efficiency, Blair.

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    30. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sean Reynolds

      Good question, Sean. All heat engines are essentially trying to develop directed mechanical force from non-directed (explosive) forces. This causes us to retreat to thermodynamics to estimate efficiency of any heat engine -- we know the energy contained in the fuel (oil + oxygen, or uranium fission), but we need to know how to design the best device to redirect that undirected, molecular motion (heat) to a specific motion..

      The efficiency of using chemical or nuclear heat to run a generator…

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    31. Sean Reynolds

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Nothing is unlimited, Alex.

      There are no viable large-scale or commercial FBRs or thorium reactors in existence, I understand -- they are still under research and development. Some experts suggest that it is impossible to make a viable large-scale thorium reactor at all. After decades of thorium reactor research, starting in the 60s, there is still no working plant.

      The byproducts of thorium reactors aren't as innocent as they are painted to be, and will still have a half-life of some 400 years.

      I have reservations about putting all my eggs in a basket of as yet undeveloped technology that has not been proven.

      Why not bypass that dead end and look at renewables that are safe and will last as long as the sun, which will be some billions of years. (Yes, I know the sun is a fusion reactor. Luckily we're shielded from solar radiation by the magnetosphere -- or perhaps are evolutionarily soft regarding resistance to radiation because of it!)

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    32. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sean Reynolds

      Sean "Some experts suggest " -- sounds like Fox News, mate!

      Of course "nothing's unlimited" -- did I say anything was unlimited. Sean?

      So you know more than some Nobel winners and hundreds of physicists and engineers working over the decades and actually running various types reactors, eh? But, this isn't a Thorum-power discussion here, is it? If it were, what you say about reactor products and half lives would have to be expanded on with real scientific information, which you don;'t seem to have. You could get some here: www.thoriumremix.com/2011

      By the way, you're right about "we're shielded from solar radiation by the magnetosphere -" Know what allows earth to have a magnetic field?

      Sure you do: The molten metallic core.

      Know why it's molten?

      Maybe you do: 20% old creation heat, 80% radioactive decay.

      Know where most of the decay heat comes from?

      Thorium.

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    33. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      "According to replies given in Q&A in the Indian Parliament on two separate occasions, 19 August 2010 and 21 March 2012, large scale thorium deployment is only to be expected “3 - 4 decades after the commercial operation of fast breeder reactors with short doubling time”. [66] [32] Full exploitation of India’s domestic thorium reserves will likely not occur until after the year 2050."
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India%27s_three_stage_nuclear_power_programme

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    34. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Good, Gary, you can follow Thorium links around the world. The Indians are solid-fuel folks, so their plans are ancillary to what the Chinese & others, including Aussies & Czechs, are doing with Thorium salt reactors. And, these liquid-salt machines don't need to use Th, but can use existing 'spent' fuel waste, since present reactors don't even use about half the fuel we put in them.

      The important advance is liquid fuel.

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  11. Russell Walton

    Retired

    Informative article.

    A few weeks ago one of my neighbors was explaining to me, while smoking his umpteenth cigarette for the day, the dangers of the new smart meters, he had padlocked his meter box and he was never going to allow one of those diabolical machines to be installed.

    The wind turbine syndrome might be an aspect Of some widespresd

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    1. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Russell Walton

      "A few weeks ago one of my neighbors was explaining to me, while smoking his umpteenth cigarette for the day, the dangers of the new smart meters,…"

      Russell, thanks for the laugh. I've noticed that with ciggy users, they complain about alcohol, people driving too fast, marijuana, sleeping tablets etc while remaining oblivious to the dangers of their poison. Is that what they call cognitive dissonance?

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Russell Walton

      Or, it could be a non-sequitur. When a doctor selects a treatment or medication for our ills, we like to think he/she does so from education, experience and keeping up to date with latest medical science.

      Wind power fails all those tests, when the tests are performed by honest brokers of science & engineering. Subsidies, however, like space aliens, can change everything, eh?
      ;]

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  12. Russell Walton

    Retired

    Whoops &&&!!! iPad keyboards!

    ...of some widespread neo-Luddite phenomenon.

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  13. Tweeting Technology

    logged in via Twitter

    I fear we have another disease that spreads via the online echo chamber. Some much confirmation out there, so much of it wrong. But 'it's on the internet, so it must be true'. Like the vaccines\autism nonsense. Or my personal favourite, Moregellons http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgellons
    There are people who will swear to you that they've 'done the research', i.e. consulted Dr Google, and found out that there has been a massive cover-up of silicon nanotechnology spread by chemtrails causing this disease.
    I sometimes wish there was a way of testing in infancy for susceptibility to this kind of tosh.

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  14. Alex Cannara

    logged in via Facebook

    Unfortunately, at least in the US, windmills are a subsidized boon to a few investors, and a 'green' sticker for some politicians & environmentalists who don't understand their great inefficiency and resource consumption.

    Fortunately, local solar PV & hot water eliminates any need for windmills. PV efficiency has one or two possible doublings in power per square meter to go. Wind has none, though a complete change from the inefficient, land/sea-hungry horizontal prop-generators now used would…

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Thanks for the alert, Peter. FYI, one of our staunchest windys up here is M. Jacobson, a couple miles away at Stanford. He & I had a bit of a kerfuffle last Fall, due to some of his statements that ignored true costs of wind. Here's another fellow's critique, which might be relevant here...
      http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/11/03/wws-2030-critique/

      Fibbing is all around us!

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    2. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      And yet South Australia is doing very nicely from wind power.

      http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/are-lights-still-south-australia
      http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/south-australia-busts-wind-myths

      Alex - to save time I will pre agree with the following 2 points
      1. The wind does not always blow
      2. It is not possible to get all the state's electricity from wind power only.
      After all we do not want to hurt any strawmen in this debate.

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    3. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Thanks for you pre-agreement with two tautologies, Mike, but tautologies aren't useful.

      The reality of wind power is that it's not only aerodynamically very inefficient, it's land/sea consuming beyond alternatives.

      Solar PV on existing sytructures is, for instance, able to meet all peak daytime loads simply because commercial efficiencies are now at 200W/sq meter and no land/se is consumed.

      When an engineering assessment is made of windmills, the results are clear: 700 tons of fossil-fuel-processed…

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    4. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      "...wind has no future as a major power source"

      I will let the IEA know and of course the South Aussies who are getting 30% of their power from wind at lower wholesale prices.

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    5. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Sure, Mike. But, I'll bet they;'re already counting on having no future decommissioning costs, no environmental costs, and won't have to make up for the about 10% power loss every second they supply power, or the power used when winds aren't right.

      Local solar has none of that.
      .

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    6. Stephen Morton

      electronics tech

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Aha! Yes very interesting link there to the vertical axis work. It's very early days in the development of turbines.
      The ones in use today are glorified versions of the iconic windvanes that we associate with frontier farms.
      They were very useful in their day pumping water.
      Isolated communities stand to benefit most from these developments.
      I think we can all agree that the noise must be eradicated.

      http://helixturbineenergy.com/

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    7. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex. You just could not resist it. You had to use the "but the wind does not always blow" argument even though you were obviously embarassed enough to reword it slightly. That to me is a good indication that you are not interested in a serious discussion of the role of wind power - you just want the opportunity to repeat the usual anti-wind talking points. Talk to the hand - wind power roll out is happening - the IEA believes that it will be an important part of any future non-carbon energy mix.

      And yes local solar is soaring in this country. It is getting closer to socket parity with coal and gas.

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    8. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Snarky, Mike. But you continue to avoid the physics,m engineering and economic issues with windmills. So, time for you to fess up -- what;s you personal benefit from the wind biz?

      I've none in any of them. I'm just concerned with honest factual evaluations of our choices, independent of the $ honeypots.

      You, Mike?

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    9. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Gas is cheap! For a few years (decades) more (no one's sure).
      ;]

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  15. Lorraine Yeomans

    Managing Director

    I suggest, Mr Chapman, that if you put your views out for public consumption to expect some responses ... even from people who do not agree with you. Blaming (potential/possible) victims for their troubles or disadvantage is one of the oldest chestnuts of them all. Am not surprised that it is being trotted out in this instance too. I reiterate, facts and evidence are what matter most. In the meantime, the humanity essential to a civil society demands that all opinions be taken on board.

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    1. Simon Chapman

      Professor of Public Health at University of Sydney

      In reply to Lorraine Yeomans

      I enjoy reading all responses, including yours Lorraine. How about you read the 17 reviews of the facts and evidence in my piece over the weekend & get back to me on where they are all wrong? And go through the 155 illnesses & tell me whether you can find facts and evidence to support any of them?
      As I'm sure you are aware, there are many claims made by people on all sorts of things that most people do not take seriously. There have been many claims about alien abductions for example, but there's not much serious scientific interest in taking them seriously http://www.ufocasebook.com/alienabductions.html there is a whole branch of medicine dealing with psychogenic illness, it is taken very seriously I can assure you. People do worry themselves sick, but that needs to be separated from questions about whether what they claim makes them sick is really toxic. The evidence in the 17 reviews is that wind turbines in themselves are not harmful.

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      Whoa, Simon, what've you inhaled that's been burning upwind of your windmills -- "claims about alien abductions".

      The 50dB sound level of ordinary traffic has been demonstrated to negatively affect drivers & pedestrians. 50dB is what the throbbing sounds of prop generators on windmills produce at distances typical to those local to wind farms, Now the industry is trying to address those complaints that occur even at 40dB. The scale is logarithmic, by the way, so 10 dB difference is a power…

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  16. John Harland

    bicycle technician

    Rhythmical noise can be irritating, depending on mood, background sound levels and other factors.

    Low-frequency noise is heard quite unequally by different people.

    In both cases, those who do not hear the sounds, or are not annoyed by them can be dismissive of the reasonable complaints of those who are.

    Is it possible that some people feel their complaints to have been trivialised by people from the cities, who do not live nearby?

    The concerns may, indeed be trivial but people's ability to cope with or ignore any sound will be influenced to a high degree by the courtesy with which they are listened to.

    Perceptions of sound are far more psychological than physical. How we treat people probably has far more to do with the problems than any kind of "rational" analysis has.

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    1. Sue Ieraci

      Public hospital clinician

      In reply to John Harland

      Yes, noise can be irritating, but there is also the phenomenon of adaption.

      Have you ever moved from noisy to quiet areas and back? When you first go to the noisy, it can drive you crazy. Then after some time you realise you aren;t aware of it any more. Go to somewhere quiet for a while, then move back, and you are bothered by the noise again.

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  17. Lorraine Yeomans

    Managing Director

    Simon you may well be right. And I would be happy to look at the reviews linked to your article when I have an apparent problem with my Adobe software corrected. But I suggest to you that it is a brave man or woman that states their view is categorically correct. Wind farming, in its current form, is a fairly recent development. I would urge you to be cautious. The "there is no proof" line can be a slippery slope. For while that may (or may not) be true today, the same not can be said for what lies ahead. "There is no proof that cigarettes harm smokers" was a defence used by decades by the tobacco industry, until science caught up. It's often trotted out by large pharmaceutical companies too. I'm sure readers of The Conversation can think of many other examples. I am suggesting that as a society that takes a range of people's view seriously, we all keep an open mind.

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    1. Grendelus Malleolus

      Senior Nerd

      In reply to Lorraine Yeomans

      I think that tobacco is possibly not the best example - in that case there was clearly evidence of harm but the tobacco companies denied harm even in the face of evidence as well as engineering fraudulent studies of their own.

      In re-reading the article again just now I took particular note of the language the author used "but that there is no strong evidence that they make people ill" which seems perfectly reasonable from a scientific perspective and not at all a categorical denial.

      From my…

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  18. George Papadopoulos

    logged in via LinkedIn

    "Communicated disease"; "155" communicated diseases; and oh gosh turbines audible at 35km???

    It about time Chapman spent less time with his sensational labels and comments and more time elucidating facts through research as to why these claims are being made.

    Something is terribly wrong and denial isn't going to make things look any better.

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    1. Simon Chapman

      Professor of Public Health at University of Sydney

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George don't be shy. Introduce yourself as the bionic eared fellow who can hear ( or whatever the word is) a turbine at 35km. I hope my typing isn't disturbing you? I've turned off the clicks but maybe there's some infrasound that is escaping me?

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    2. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      Simon, you are obsessed with my shyness! That is why I have gone to such bold moves like I have on this webpage to share my thoughts about strange noises at night down at Warrnambool: http://www.standard.net.au/news/local/news/general/more-warrnambool-residents-hear-noise-but-source-remains-a-mystery/2598953.aspx

      Did I not state this also clearly on Crikey - that I do have no problems hearing the wind turbines down the horizon 35km away? ie that they are at time so loud that it is annoying.

      Or should I perhaps start the Leftist Soundscape Guardians movement and stop wasting my time arguing with people like you who just DO NOT WANT TO LISTEN.

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    3. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Thanks for the link, Simon. It is indeed amazing what subsidies from the many will be exploited by the few. Sort of like our US tax loopholes.
      ;]

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    4. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      Eh, speak up Simon. Hard to hear you over the new wind farm just installed 20 miles down the road here -- the one that killed two workers this past Spring. They stopped complaining too.
      ;]

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    5. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      This is a new low Alex. I am assuming that the workers were killed in an industrial accident. To exploit that and conflate it with "wind turbine" sydndrome is really pathetic. You are using the debating tricks of climate science deniers.

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    6. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      "Something is terribly wrong" says George without a single shred of credible evidence but bucketloads of anecdotes.

      You shouldn't shoot the messenger George, all Simon is doing is collating and reporting the numerous, frequently contradictory claims being made by windfarm opponents. If you have a problem with that, maybe you should address your concerns with those making the ridiculous claims against wind farms?

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    7. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Oh yes! Now we shall say no "credible" evidence.

      Once upon a time it was said there was no evidence of any health problems with wind farms.

      The tide is now turning, but who do you expect to fund the research? The coal industry? The nuclear industry?

      It is quite evident that the paucity of research, yet abundance of anecdote equates to a reaction which has little industry money behind it.

      Compare this to the 17 international reviews of which many were wind industry funded.

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    8. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      If you have credible evidence George, present it. The tide is turning all right but against you and your fellow windbags because every day wind farms continue to operate, more and more people see how benign they really are.

      I remember all the dire warnings made 10 years ago by the local “chicken little" chapter. Sadly for them not a single prediction has been realised. Sure a view windfarm opponents still exist in the area but when you remind them of the ridiculous statements they made, they go a bit quiet and try to change the subject. It's not hard to understand why.

      You should be very careful about keeping your head in the sand, you're likely to get a nasty surprise from another quarter.

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    9. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      No need, Blair, for "making the ridiculous claims against wind farms" There are plenty of real results of damage, economic and environmental.

      Are you a wind investor or? Or do you just not grasp what 700 tons of resources per MW peak installed, yielding less than 100W/sq meter avg output, mean?

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    10. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Oh please, let's not play the victim card. We're talking honest appraisals of effects of all power sources. Have you not seen the documentaries on how windmills are maintained, Mike? Climbing the face of El Capitan is not much more dangerous.

      But, for comparison, cellphone towers kill more, because: a) the cell companies outsource maintenance/installs to local contractors, b) they hire anybody willing to hear a short lesson, strap on a rope and head up a tower, and c) OSHA can't regulate/fine the cell companies because of their outsourcing. So indeed, so far,cell towers kill more than windmills, windmills kill more than nukes, but our gun laws kill more than all combined,

      It's always time to assess alternatives rationally & honestly.

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    11. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, pulling numbers out of your nether regions proves nothing. Maybe you think it makes you look clever in the eyes of your fellow denialists but the rest of us can see through your silliness.

      Yes I am a proud shareholder in Australia's first community owned windfarm. I'm happy to put my money where my opinions are. What about you?

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    12. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      It makes a little to difficult to deal with people who don't understand that I live with part of the evidence and resort to vieled threats to intimidate me in shutting up!

      Tonight is not the worst night to date, but a bad night where the vibrational rumbling from the wind turbines 35km away is rather pronounced that I have put on some music to prevent me from going insane...

      So what is also going on tonight? My neighbour's dogs are barking ecstatically. Nothing new but a repeat of prior observations. Dogs don't seem to like this terrifying noise either! Oh, better get Chapman to document this one on his list of claims against wind turbines.

      In case you or any others are interested in perhaps organising a time to hear what I hear please contact me on geopap@telstra.com.

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    13. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      If you seriously think windfarms 35 km from where you live are causing vibrational rumbling at your place, then you must have discovered some previously unknown physics and your sanity is suspect.

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    14. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      There you go again, Blair -- relying on snarky "nether regions" to cover up alack of engineering.science?

      My numbers are quite generous, and as an engineer, I do understand a Siemens data sheet, how much coal it takes to make a wind tower and how much Chinese-controlled rare0-earth magnet material it takes to make the expensive generator way up high. We won't bother to discuss maintenance costs, insurance, etc.

      Here's a fun Calif. church to watch pump solar $ into its collection plates...
      http://tinyurl.com/3znad4b -- when they fix the log overflow!

      So, yes, your local folks might now do better with solar PV, retaining nice, quiet views and a grid connection for sunless hours. After all, you'll know pretty well how much you'll be making by delivering peak power during peak demand hours!

      Wind -- not so sure about things like that, eh? But, you & neighbors can start some PV, and become honest brokers of info on relative values of the two sources.

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    15. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      That's 21 miles, Blair -- we can hear the NASA wind tunnel that far away from here, with one fan running. Folks can hear the Altamont Pass windmills you so sneakily referenced elsewhere here. And, they hear them easily within 20 miles. Play with reality all you want, but facts will remain inconvenient for you.

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    16. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, if the use of rare earths offends your sensibilities, can I take it that you don't use a mobile phone, a computer with a digital screen or digital television? Because if you do, you are once again demonstrating the same tiring hypocrisy windfarm opponents display with abandon.

      I'm not an engineer but it's very easy to compare costs of solar farms with wind farms and compare the output. Wind is still way ahead of solar when it comes to electricity generation but even so, I think there is room for both and I'll happily encourage the use of both.

      PS we already have 3 kW of solar installed on our house.

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    17. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Good for you on your 3kW home PV that takes up no land, wastes no transmission power, makes no noise and works as reliably as a sundial!

      But why do you think arguing means fabricating things to allege in the opposition's mind? Like rare earths. When, Blair, did I say "the use of rare earths offends [my] sensibilities"? Point it out, please, Blair. You're really tough on others say, so time to man up on what you say, eh?

      Your belief about a windmill making more power per sq meter than a…

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    18. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, I have no doubt that on occasions sound can travel quite large distances, thunder provides plenty of evidence for that. But I don't believe any evidence exists that proves a windfarm can shake a building 35 km away which was what George was (and has previously) claimed elsewhere. If you have examples of sound at that distance shaking buildings, I'd love to see the evidence.

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    19. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Why did you raise the issue of rare earths if not to try and make a feeble attempt at further demonising wind turbines? It's a tactic I have seen used frequently by opponents of wind energy. They lurch desperately from one supposedly killer excuse to another.

      Your feigned concern that I have misrepresented you is as empty as your smilies.

      Every energy source has its weaknesses and limitations. I'm well aware of this but you are pretending I don't recognise or acknowledge them. Move on Alex, you're becoming repetitive and very, very boring.

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    20. Sean Reynolds

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Rare earths are not rare, China only has a monopoly presently because they do them cheaper than anyone else. There is nothing stopping mining and refining of rare earths in a dozen countries amply endowed with the minerals.

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    21. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      B;lair, you can be an honest broker or not, up to you. Everything that adds to costs deducts from kW/$. Until the RE problem is solved, as some are now attempting, china will set high prices, thus generator costs, unless the manufacturers bring their factories & designs to onshore China, thus getting "domestic" RE prices.

      For the US, this is a matter of national security, given the vast reliance of all technology on REs. the Japanese are now attempting to break Chinese domination...
      www.smartplanet.com/blog/intelligent-energy/toyota-breaks-out-of-chinas-rare-earth-shackles/12890?tag=nl.e660
      www.smartplanet.com/blog/intelligent-energy/wto-rules-against-chinas-rare-earths-stockpiling/12759?tag=nl.e660

      We may pass legislation to allow our own RE mining/refining to get going again too, however, China has already contracted with our Molycorp to take their best ores to China. We are so greedy dumb.
      ;]
      .

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    22. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      "you and your fellow windbags", "chicken little" people? Really, Blair?

      Are you beginning to feel the heat of logic on the wisdom of your personal investment in windmills that consume land & waste energy? It's human nature to react when one discovers a choice they've made isn't as fantastic as they were told or imagined -- buyers' remorse, eh?

      So what do we know: a) you're a wind investor, b) you're not an engineer or scientist with full understanding of energy realities, and c) you like to use bullying terms to try to discredit others who see your plight and act as honest brokers of facts for others.

      Not a great streak there Blair.
      ;]

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    23. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      No, B;lair, we don't think you "love to see" any evidence. But, just in case, you do understand resonance, whether as for radio & TV reception, or for sonic energy coupling, right?

      If not, look it up. If you want to have technical arguments go your way, you need to gain technical understanding, not just investment exposure.

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    24. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George, you are so used to writing BS you presume everybody else does the same. You don't seem to realise that when you post nonsense all over the Internet, people get a chance to see your MO, you've got form boyo and I'm not the first one to call you out for your exaggerations. Those who want to know will easily discover this fact for themselves.

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    25. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      There is no risk of feeling any "heat of logic" (talk about twisted terminology) from you Alex. But you go right ahead and make up whatever suits your fantasies.

      I don't use bullying terms, I just call BS for what it is and you have reproduced loads of it.

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    26. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex, okay, you think you're the clever one with your engineering prowess. Tell us all how much energy would be needed at the source to produce vibration at 35 km strong enough to make people ill? Then explain to us all how a turbine could possibly stand that vibrational energy without falling to bits? Especially if that energy causes harmonics.

      This should be good.

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    27. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sean Reynolds

      You're right, Sean, REs aren't "rare", but they occur in mineralizations (like Monazite) that also contain regulated elements. Thus, while the Chinese dump these tailings freely, western nations, adopting common codes, such as for radioactive elements, place liabilities on mining/refining operations within their bounds.

      That's why the Chinese now have 90% of world RE sales. And, it's why we in the US have proposed a bill to remove the liability by allowing the government to take charge of the regulated elements.

      Without that, miners' costs go very high, due to liability exposure, and if they try to stay in business, China then dumps their reserves on the market, forcing any new, regulated competitor out.

      It' basic, cutthroat business. Here's a good description of the problem...
      http://www.thoriumenergyalliance.com/downloads/TEAC4%20presentations/Kennedy_TEAC4.pdf

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    28. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      "This should be good" -- does that kind of playground snark talk ever work for you, Blair?

      Do you realize that human hearing, like other animals', is logarithmic and exceedingly sensitive at low vibration energies? And, are you aware of how the ground and air stratification effects can channel sounds long distances?

      An acoustic engineer could help you understand better than I.

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    29. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      "bullying terms", like "BS", are in the view of the beholder, Blair. Or are you magically entitled to both bully and complain about "BS" when you don't understand?

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    30. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Playground snark is your forte Alex. I asked a straightforward question and you failed to deliver. It's because I have spoken with an acoustic engineer that I know the alleged health claims by some wind energy opponents are BS. If you bothered to look at the claims, you would see some are contradictory. Apparently when turbines can cause you to both lose weight and gain it!

      The wind turbines would have to somehow defy physics to produce the effects that critics claim. Given that at least two towns I know of within 80 km of where I live are adjacent to wind farms and nobody suffers any of the ill-health effects described by some wind energy opponents, I suspect their health issues run a little deeper than living near some turbines.

      I know a little more about sound and its characteristics then you think I do Alex but unlike you, I don't pretend to be an expert. I know my limitations and that's why I take the trouble to ask those who do know and draw my conclusions accordingly.

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    31. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Your carefully chosen snarky words, Blair: "This should be good.". Own it.
      You seem to need it.
      ;]
      And then, you can't control yourself: "but unlike you, I don't pretend to be an expert".

      What does that mean, Blair? Does it mean that someone who is knowledgeable and says something you can't check but dislike is therefore "pretending"?

      You clearly don't understand sound characteristics interacting with air variations and human hearing. You'll have to study. This isn't free turtoring you know. You have to do some of the work.

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  19. Ursula Edgington

    logged in via Facebook

    Clearly written from an Australasian perspective, where land is cheap and population often sparse. In the UK any Wind-turbine 'farm' is likely to be very near to residential areas - in some cases a turbine has been applied to be built less than 500m away from a house. Houses that usually do not have land surrounding them. It is common sense that the health of people situated in these houses will be affected by the constant noise/light/vibration disturbance. As is your health being affected Professor (even though you may be in denial about it) by your chosen close proximity to the nearby roads etc that you mention.
    More importantly perhaps is the detrimental environmental impact of actually BUILDING these monstrous yet ineffective things, and of course the inevitable de-commissioning of them when people come to their senses.
    Wind turbines: total madness when you weigh-up all the facts.

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    1. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Alex. I have watched you on The Conversation for criticising climate science deniers for cherry picking. Then I find you doing the same thing because you do not like wind turbines. I had some respect for you which I am quickly losing - you are q

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Never used the term "cherry picking", Mike. "Fibbing", yes. "Lying", sure. "Fact avoiding", yep. Never the wimpy "cherry picking".

      So where have I selectively avoided facts, Mike?

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    3. Sean Reynolds

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Following the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, their heavy duty offshore turbines continued working, even after being inundated with a tidal wave, when the Fukushima nuclear plant went up in smoke and became the health hazard it is today. The Japanese turbines are made exceptionally strongly to counter earthquakes -- wish the same could be said of their nuclear power plants, which need to be situated near water to work effectively -- an environmental and human health disaster waiting to happen…

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    4. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sean Reynolds

      Aha, you take straw men too, eh Sean? You're late to the party on Fukushima & TEPCO -- decades late. The problems were pointed out for decades, but the Japanese govt's decisions to allow collusion between the industry and the regulator (NISA), to ignore geologic evidence of prior large tsunamis, to ignore repeated corruption and safety violations by TEPCO, and to allow building anything at sea level in a tsunami zone -- those are the causes of this tragedy.

      The cost is horrendous, but not…

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    5. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sean Reynolds

      Sean, no engineer would expect an offshore, thus low, tsunami to threaten a multi-hundred-ton vertical steel tube extending hundreds of feet above water to suffer.

      Windmills in hurricanes/typhoons -- a very different, expensive matter.

      The bottom line remains efficiency and cost, not whether something of low efficiency & high cost can survive an offshore tsunami or three.

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    6. Sean Reynolds

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      So it's like the medical distinction between 'efficacy' and 'effectiveness' -- a drug may be efficacious on paper, but the way it is delivered or perhaps not well tolerated by patients makes the treatment regime ineffective in practice.

      End result is that there are major problems with nuclear in the real world, including disposal of waste, proliferation and weapons grade byproducts. Only some countries will be allowed to have nuclear power. So sorry for those who miss out.

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  20. Noel Wauchope

    Nurse

    I just want to thank the author for this glorious article.
    I dredge through all the environment stuff every day - and i have been getting bored stiff with it all.
    But this one was FUN to read!

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  21. Anthony Nolan

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    Opposition to windfarms has been medicalised by opponents as a means of individualising and legitimising their grievances. It is one thing to say "we don't want wind farms because they are visually distressing" and quite another to attribute a comprehensive list of symptoms to them. The latter are politically legitimate claims, in so far as they can be proven, because they fall within the ambit of medically defined and legally actionable harm.

    Arguing that wind farms cause medical harm is a psychological…

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    1. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      "...ability of local residents to resist unwanted development is limited"

      In the case of wind farms that is not the case. The NSW and Victorian Liberal governments have both effectively legislated then end of new wind farms.

      http://www.climatespectator.com.au/news/victoria-enforce-tough-wind-farm-rules-3bn-projects-seen-affected
      http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/state-politics/nsw-guidelines-for-wind-farms-would-shut-down-the-industry-say-greens/story-e6frgczx-1226229345485

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    2. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Yep - no question about it Mike - the immediate future for wind power in NSW and Victoria is bleak. The "forces of darkness" have been most successful in getting these state governments to effectively shut down the windfarm business.

      And the reason for this success has - in large degree - been due to the rather arrogant and "corporate" approach adopted by wind farm proponents and investors.

      Where is the groundswell of support for windfarms from those who see the advantages to their communities…

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    3. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike Hansen,

      I'm well aware of the state of political play around wind farm opposition and who pays for it as well as what their motives might be. The IPA, as you might guess, does not represent rural residents and no-one is under any illusions that they do; the same applies to the so called 'Landscape Guardians' whose track record of guardianship is non-existent.

      This leaves us to appreciate the fact that NSW and Vic have stopped wind farm development for all the wrong reasons one of which…

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    4. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, it's true that in the early days there were a couple of cowboys going around promising the world and being less than open about certain proposed projects but they were the minority. Unfortunately the better respected companies didn't publicly call these guys out and set minds at ease as quickly and as thoroughly as they should have, so they are paying for that lapse now.

      Nevertheless, you are miles from the mark suggesting there is no support for windfarm projects in communities. A group…

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    5. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Get a no-down-payment solar PV on homes & businesses project going, with a little subsidy derived from what the windmill folks were expecting. That's a long-term solution local folks should be very happy with.

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    6. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Not true? You have one example of a wind farm enjoying popular support Mike... don't get too carried away. Find me another one.

      Of course ANY windfarm is going to attract the loonies Mike ... even if they have to bus them in - and they will.

      I'm still waiting for the mass movement of you folks demanding windfarms in Fitzroy and Clifton Hill to occupy Bourke Street in opposition to the Victorian legislation. Seems to have disappeared without a trace this popular demand for windfarms - which is a real pity and in essence demolishes any role for wind-power in addressing climate change at a national scale. Top job enthusiasts.

      Not true? You wish.

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    7. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair, I know these outfits quite well. I know who backs them and why. I have been brawling with them for years. Please do not patronise me or characterise me as an opponent. But I am a critic. This disastrous situation is the industry's fault - pure and simple. Did you expect reason and commonsense to just prevail, for your opponents and the denialists to just sit back quietly?

      The moral of the story is to expect - and more important, to anticipate - hostile reactions and opposition…

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    8. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, I'm surprised you keep arguing this turbines in cities red herring. I would have thought you'd understand how tall buildings disrupt air flow and that their construction didn't envisage sizeable turbines being mounted on them.

      There is more than enough energy wasted in large buildings that could be reclaimed with modern technology and some common sense.

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    9. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike Hanson,

      The success of the community owned wind farm goes precisely to my point - located, according to my maps, well away from major residential areas, not on a ridge so not disturbing anyone line of sight and offering benefits to local residents. Not, as has been he case in NSW at least, stuck in such a location as to cause opposition by industrialising the landscape at the same time as offering no benefits to those people who have to bear the burden of such industrialisation.

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    10. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Tall buildings? In Clifton Hill and Fitzroy? Must have changed a lot since I was there last.

      I actually think it would be silly to put anything big and spinning on the roof of the Rialto ... at least not a horizontal axis gadget. But I can't see any reason whatsoever for not having some of Melbourne's more boring billiard table suburbs absolutely bristling with the things if you're all that keen.

      But then I'd probably support the more affluent sticking small fast breeders in the mansions…

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    11. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, I have been a supporter of renewable energy for as long as I can remember simply because I can see the sense in harvesting essentially inexhaustible energy rather than spending gazillions on finite resources that only benefit a comparative few while the rest have to clean up the mess.

      I have no idea what the ALP will pretend to believe in leading up to the next election, just as I very much doubt the opposition will believe anything they say. How about we avoid patronising each other, okay…

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    12. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, sorry, I didn't realise you were talking about residential areas. Most proponents of wind energy in cities talk about putting turbines on tall buildings.

      As for environmentalism. It seems to mean different things to different people. I think there are environmentalists and rabid, take no prisoners greenies (preservationists) who cannot accept there has to be some give and take and that humanity is not an alien virus recently arrived on the planet but something that evolved with it. The former are realists, the latter will never be satisfied and won't be happy until we are either living in caves or completely exterminated from the face of the globe.

      I really wish you wouldn't lump me in as a proponent only of wind energy, I happily argue for all forms of renewables.

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    13. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      According to this article there are 900,000 solar PV residences in Australia.
      http://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/the-unexpected-adventures-of-a-solar-tourist-35534

      In 2011/12, AEMO [the market regulator] estimates that solar PV contributed 1,702 gigwatt hours, or 0.9 per cent of estimated annual energy production.
      http://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/aemo-slashes-energy-demand-forecasts-by-nearly-10-per-cent-56289

      I suspect that AEMO is undercounting solar PV but even allowing for that it does not seem likely that solar PV only is going to achieve the sort of carbon mitigation required to avoid +2 degrees of warming.

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    14. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      You are verballing Simon Chapman and me. Point out where Chapman or I said that wind farms should be exempt from environmental or planning considerations.

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    15. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike Hansen:

      And you've retreated behind narrow legalisms about 'environmental and planning considerations'. Otherwise known as weaseling out.

      Here's what Chapman wrote in the original article:

      "But some in the bush believe that unlike city dwellers, it is their birthright to be sheltered from any intrusion in their pristine surrounds, the ultimate in NIMBYism."

      The intention of this comment and others subsequently made by Chapman is that rural residents who oppose windmills on any grounds…

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    16. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Anthony, you've missed two key points that most of the windfarm proponents are arguing for, objective assessment of projects and equal treatment for all developments in rural areas. As things currently stand, Baillieu and his cronies give people ridiculous power to kill a wind project but will not afford that same individual the same right to stop a coalmine or CSG development. That's nothing but pure hypocrisy.

      I have no problems with a windfarm project being rejected if it doesn't meet appropriate environmental guidelines but please stop pretending that we are asking for special exemptions.

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    17. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair,

      I'd be delighted if the same right of veto as applies to windfarms was extended to CSG wells. Really. However, demanding the same right to despoil a landscape as the CSG industry is not the sort of level playing field we ought to be aiming at. The fact of the matter is that wind power proponents have run into some serious entrenched political opposition whose interests reside with carbon based energy production. At the same time wind proponents have adopted a messianic attitude and managed…

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    18. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Anthony, nice of you to twist what I said. Far from arguing that wind energy should have the same right to despoil a landscape - a subjective opinion on your part that many people disagree with - I have argued that proposed coalmine expansions and CSG developments should be subject to the same right of veto that only wind projects currently face.

      It's pretty rich that you call yourself an environmentalist yet you whine about "wind turbines cluttering up the ridge lines" when those ridge lines are not in their natural state because of land clearing going back many decades.

      It's more than a little curious that people bleat about visual amenity while conveniently ignoring the fact that their precious landscape has already been drastically altered from its natural state. Please spare me the crocodile tears.

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    19. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair,

      My intention wasn't to 'twist' what you wrote. I agree that it is hypocritical of State governments to impose such restrictions on windfarms while not applying the same restrictions on coalmines and CSG wells. No problems there. However, I can't be held accountable for the hypocrisy of State Liberal governments. You want a level playing field for wind generation, that's fine, but I can't provide one. The Libs are doing what they always do - pandering to big bucks but in a less crass and…

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    20. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Anthony, "The best we can do in such circumstances is to argue for a democratic approach to nature management, which includes reconstructing nature, such that the burdens of our industrial mode of production are equitably distributed between people. Hopefully, we can include other species right to exist within that democratic approach to reconstructing 'nature'."

      Couldn't agree more.

      I politely suggest you don't pick on farmers for doing what governments of the day wanted them to do and when…

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    21. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      If you really wanted "equal treatment", Blair, then you'd want overall comparisons of: economics, environmental impacts, efficiency, capacity factor, reliability, land use, and so on.

      Community windmills fail all those, relative to solar PV/hot-water on existing structures.

      But your community will find out. Not to worry.
      ;]

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    22. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      So, you like the look of the wind turbines in which you own shares? I think this is part of the problem. Other people, who must look at the privately owned horrors on surrounding properties, have no or inadequate economic compensation for the loss of visual amenity and they do object.

      The fact that your willingness to put up with wind turbines is motivated by an unimpeachable love of humanity and especially those "in Third World countries and low-lying regions around the globe" is duly noted…

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    23. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      Whatever you say Alex. I'm sure somebody out there is silly enough to believe you.

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    24. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Anthony, the community windfarm I have a small investment in is several hundred kilometres from where I live. I own no shares or have any financial interest in the windfarm near where I live.

      We are all mere mortals as best I can tell, I can guarantee you I'm no saint but I do try to be an humanitarian to the best of my abilities. You claim to be an environmentalist yet you put your notion of beauty ahead of the environment you claim to care about?

      I don't live in New South Wales so I cannot…

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    25. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Blair Donaldson

      Blair,

      No-one forced people to destroy the forests of Gippsland. They did that pursuing their own economic interests. Just like shareholders do.

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    26. Sean Reynolds

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      The dark satanic mills were just that -- spewing out pollution, blackening the landscape and buildings, prseumably killing plants and animals, destroying human health and exploiting human workers. And early GHG producers at the advent of the 'industrial revolution', kicking off the entire climate change problem. I don't see how clean renewables like wind turbines fit that description.

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    27. Sean Reynolds

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      "History is littered with the corpses of good ideas."

      Is it? What are they?

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    28. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike, what you say is in effect that wind needs to be exempt from critical scientific, engineering & environmental examination.

      Wind's inefficiencies alone add up to make it far less meaningful than distributed, local solar. That will only get worse for wind, as PV efficiencies rise and the benefits of a more robust, localized grid with storage, become clearer.

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    29. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike, our own Calif. ",illion solar homes" initiative will then match what you say already exists there, though may well do better, because 20%-efficient panels will likley be used.

      So, your or our 1,000,000 x 4kW x 4 hours/day = 16GWHr/day, or 5.8TWHr./year (minus whatever weather impacts you/we have) is a pretty good bonus, given the average Us home is a 1kW load (24kWHrs/day).

      And, no land, transmission loss, high-frequency or hourly variabilities, or environmental impacts (like noise) appear.

      This is al why local solar PV and its continuing yield growth, in W/sq meter, will make wind more & more irrelevant.

      Let's see how the Unitarians in Fresno are pumping out the surplus juice today... http://tinyurl.com/3znad4b

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    30. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      By the way, since it's Sunday -- the Unitarians had their A/C on for services!

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    31. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Sean Reynolds

      You are being too literal Sean. Today's windmills are yesterday's dark satanic mills. That is, they are regarded by those living in close proximity to them as a blight on the landscape. You may not find them so but those who are exposed to them do.

      On which point, and on consideration, I'm really starting to think that the entire idea of deriding people who claim that their health has been affected by these things is a misuse of medical science. Elsewhere on this thread Peter Ormonde makes the…

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    32. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Sean Reynolds

      The 1950-60s idea of eliminating combustion power by 2000 could be one, Sean.

      The general category would be good ideas that were overcome by politics and greed, sort of like maintaining banking regulation.

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    33. Blair Donaldson

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Nowhere did I say the government forced people to destroy forests. I did say the government encouraged people to go out and clear land to farm it.

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  22. David Jones

    Engineer

    My neighbour has installed a swimming pool pump 10 metres from my bedroom. It is quite loud and is making me feel sick but I don’t think I can blame infrasound.
    I have stood directly beneath operating wind generators and they are pretty innocuous in comparison with that pool pump. I would back a swimming pool pump at 10 meters over a 3 MW wind generator at 1 km any day.
    Where is my veto?
    Oh; and that swimming pool is not beneficial for the environment in any way I can think of.

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    1. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to David Jones

      David, this is precisely the reason why so many people think wind turbines are harmless. Standing directly underneath them does not give you a good idea of the infrasound/low frequency noise problem - it is transmitted out from the tower.

      If you wish to get a better appreciation of the problem, go downwind a km or so on a overcast, windy day OR visit the place on a still cold night but when there is a ridgetop wind to keep the turbines going ie a temperature inversion.

      On the other hand with the problems with the pump, you might find Levanthall's research on infrasound/low frequency noise and health interesting. See the link to the paper on the bottom of: http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/review-of-published-research-on-low-frequency-noise-and-its-effects/) and go to page 49.

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    2. David Jones

      Engineer

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George,

      What is making me sick is that I don't like that pool pump but I can't do anything about it. I suspect it is the same problem afflicting wind generator opponents.

      To get to the base of a tower you must approach it from a distance. I have been in the midst of Waubra with dozens of generators operating. I am completely serious when I say it is far less annoying than a pool pump outside your bedroom - not to mention the vast array of other sounds urbanites live with day in day out.

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    3. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to David Jones

      David one needs to step back and think why does noise make one so sick? After all its only noise... No it isn't only noise. Think of how the human body or any living organism perceives a threat. Is it noise or is it vibration and infrasound that put the brain into high alert which then draw the person's attention to the noise? I think you might find in Pederson's papers on wind turbines that it isn't the sound intensity but the characteristics of sound that change dramatically how people will react…

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  23. Garry Baker

    researcher

    Interesting conversation, however it neglects to mention the good health of the land owners who receive, say, 15k per year land rental for a single turbine, vs, the sick next door neighbor who was never offered a turbine.

    Indeed, financial deprivation may be the missing link in this conversation, yet how a clinical study might approach this aspect, is beyond me. .

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    1. Peter Ormonde
      Peter Ormonde is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Farmer

      In reply to Garry Baker

      I think this is getting to the heart of a very serious matter Garry.

      Folks who benefit - who get an income from the turbines or who get their power bills substantially reduced - don't have a problem at all.

      The "health problems" reported seem to be a reflection of feelings of worthlessness or imposition - where the benefits do not appear locally or where the locals just wear the costs of an industrialised landscape and the benefits turn up for investors or are dissipated into the grid to turn up in some public/social benefit which they do not perceive.

      I suspect it is similar to the RSI epidemic of the 1980s ... a symptom of not coping, of being coerced into accepting change without any benefit.

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    2. Garry Baker

      researcher

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      100% on the mark Peter ...Indeed a lot of people are feeling disenfranchised these days with corporate/government shenanigans on a range of issues, where it seems most evident the term,"stakeholder", is widely used. The unwashed millions being on the receiving end of the travails.

      Having been a founding share holder to the most expert wind company in Australia, Pacific Hydro, I read every page of their environmental impacts statement(say ten years ago) - a brief case unto itself. Thus I'm up…

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    3. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Garry Baker

      Well, yes financial deprivation makes anyone upset, but wind turbine hosts do start speaking out about their misery once they have moved out of their first house due to noise nuisance, built a second a bit further away about 2km, but abandoned it due to wind turbine syndrome, and built a third only to have another wind development go up in their faces. See the link below:

      http://www.borderwatch.com.au/news/local/news/general/health-issues-raised-in-windfarm-debate/2582442.aspx?storypage=0

      I am also well aware that he is not the only financial well off wind turbine host that has realised that he made the most disastrous decision of his life.

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  24. Anthony Nolan

    logged in via email @hotmail.com

    I think, Professor Chapman, that by dismissing as insignificant any psychogenic causes of illness in relation to wind turbines, you've placed yourself in the surprising and unenviable position of being analogous to the medical establishment who so vigorously dismissed any basis for RSI during the surge of reportage in Australia in the 1980's. The absence of any objective evidence showing a causal relationship between wind turbines and any number of complaints does not mean that there is no relationship…

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    1. Simon Chapman

      Professor of Public Health at University of Sydney

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Nice try Anthony, but no cigar.

      There are abundant reasons for arguing that WTS is a psychogenic phenomenon: no complaints for years prior to the fomenting efforts of those campaigning against wind energy (& see mining/fossil fuel connections -- so "dupes" will often be the appropriate word here); many farms with zero complaints, especially in non-Anglophone nations; a catalogue of complaints (155) which include many which on any assessment are frankly hysterical; 17 reviews, with two future reviews already being dismissed by the anti's in anticipation of findings consistent with the other 17 (resplendent with conspiracy theory subtexts about cover up etc).
      Is your position that mass psychogenic disease does not exist? Or is it more that people complaining of it should be treated as if the agents they are complaining about really are toxic and that it is somehow insensitive or something to publicly suggest there may be other factors at work?

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    2. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      Anthony, please excuse the lofty professor's claims. Memory issues, maybe it was a typo on his magical banging keyboard that sends infrasound down my way of the world I don't know, but on one of his articles on Crikey last year he was laughing at a paper written by a retired pharmacist back in the 1980's because she didn't write up a methodology section...

      Such are the standards of impeccable academia nowadays. Sad isn't it.

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    3. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      Ah yes, when the science threatens revelations, run to the others are "dupes" defense, eh Simon?

      It's the sign of a desperate, lost argument.

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    4. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      So he pointed out flaws in someones paper.
      And that makes him a bad academic?
      I don't get it.

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    5. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      I thought it was a pretty good argument. Did you read it before commenting?

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    6. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      The probability that there are "other factors at work" is high, in my view. I suggest that it is more than likely going to be not that the complainants are covert members of some front organization but that the symptoms of which they complain are physical manifestations of what they experience as disrespect.

      I'm not arguing blind here - Axel Honneth's (2007) 'Disrespect: the normative foundations of Critical Theory' provides us with a basis for understanding how ignoring grievances is experienced…

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    7. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Chapman says above: "no complaints for years prior to the fomenting efforts of those campaigning against wind energy" ie he is talking about current affairs which revolve around figures like Drs Pierpont and Laurie.

      But Chapman said on Crikey on the 14th October 2011: "Instead, the author — a retired pharmacist who PubMed shows published one paper in 1985 — explains that she “began investigating reports of adverse health effects made by individuals living in the environs” of wind turbines in Ontario, Canada for “more than two years”."

      In case you still haven't got the point, Chapman was well aware of the problems with wind in its infancy days last year. Today it seems that his psychogenic illness theory perhaps produced a convenient dose of amnesia.

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    8. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Anthony again it is assumed that non-anglophone countries don't have problems because of communications barriers.

      For example, the backlash in Denmark has led to chief accoustician Moeller raising his voice against the wind industry, the government tightening low frequency noise guidelines and many disgruntled communities, about 30% of the population who report annoyance to a nocturnal diesel engine like sound at night which is undoubtedly caused by the wind turbines. The CEO of Vestas made it clear that these reviews to low frequency noise levels will prevent the outlay of larger turbines.

      I can also mention that some of the research that was presented at last years NHMRC widn turbine workshop, (that Chapman laughs at) has been performed in Portugal in response to a family's complaints.

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    9. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      Are you suggesting that the TGA labelling requirement with regards to mandatory gluten and lactose content disclosure was the product of gullible experts?

      Simon, I think you need to answer the question: do you suffer from memory loss or do you change your story line to suit your speculative approach to WTS?

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    10. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      So who should be laughing when you make comments like: "Boxy foot
      is a common problem in horses and has many causes yet none of these were mentioned nor investigated." What is the probability of having 4 out of 5 horses with the same chronic condition simultaneously? Chance or indicative of a problem? Have you asked any experts or quoted any experts to explain under what conditions such a disease can affect so many horses simultaneously?

      And self citation is utterly wrong and unacceptable…

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    11. Simon Chapman

      Professor of Public Health at University of Sydney

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Let me walk you through it gently George. Until Krogh published her method-free "research" on WTS, she had published one paper in her entire career -- on gluten & lactose. This is a research track record that some would describe as minimalist and rather irrelevant to her purported expertise.

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    12. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      Much like Krogh's training and professional experience is superior to yours when it comes to identifying and diagnosing health problems... Mind you Krogh is not medically trained like our Aussie WTS expert Sarah Laurie (who has gone out seen the people and spoken to their doctors), but Krogh is a pharmacist like myself who is in touch with real people and not just papers.

      So are you going to answer my question on the 1985 blip? Was it a typo or something else like selective amnesia? I'm sure you can give us a simple answer. What's so difficult?

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    13. Simon Chapman

      Professor of Public Health at University of Sydney

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Oh dear. Where to begin? If no one else engages with an area of research over many years, and nearly the only people who quote your own work over that period is you, what should that tell you? 90% of people who have car accidents between 7-10am ate breakfast that morning. Breakfast causes morning car accidents. By your reasoning George, that would seem to be all one needs to know.

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    14. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Oh and by the way, I know many medical specialists like oncologists who are called upon for their professional opinions as experts in their field but have hardly published anywhere near 300 papers like yourself. Does this mean your opinions are superior to theirs?

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    15. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      So are you suggesting every morning it is normal for 80% of people to be involved in car crashes? Or are you suggesting it is normal for 80% to be suffering from car crash injuries?

      Simon, your the "public health expert" don't you have a statistician to help you work out whether the probability of an 80% concurrent boxy foot incidence is abnormally high? This is much like saying that on a given date 80% of a certain population is suffering from an extremely common condition like asthma.

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    16. Anthony Nolan

      logged in via email @hotmail.com

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      OK, so I'm talking to myself here. Moreover, then, not only will labeling people who don't want wind turbines hysterical set back the development of renewable energy it does a disservice to the whole environment movement. The movement extends well beyond those whose interest in the environment only began with the AGW. Just so long as you understand, Simon Chapman, that no-one elected you to speak on behalf of anyone else. Your opinions are yours only, not that of environmentalists in specific or general. It's a respect thing, ya know?

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    17. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Anthony Nolan

      Anthony, one of the greatest myths to be fermented by some in the pro-wind camp is that Liberal/National is by default anti-wind and thus behind the health claims against wind.

      It just so happens that there are some elements within the Coalition who are anti-wind because they are strongly anti-renewable. But there are even fewer who recognise that wind energy is causing social upheaval and health problems.

      Just look at who is raising their voice in the political world about wind turbines and…

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    18. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Simon Chapman

      "Oh dear", Simon? A bit supercilious are we? Maybe a better 'causal' observation might be that DARPA, doing the Internet, caused BS to flourish around the world?

      Actually, there's a good one to use in teaching Stat: In the early 20th Century, the introduction of dental floss was accompanied by an increase in gum disease.
      ;]

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    19. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      I think you have read that wrong - the paper that the pharmacist published in 1985 was NOT about wind turbine effects.

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    20. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Gary, thank you for pointing this out. In any case the first reports of WTS were raised by practising Drs Amanda Harris in Britain and Iser in Victoria back in 2003. Simon Chapman's theory still doesn't stick...

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    21. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Gary, just to give you the link: http://www.windturbinesyndrome.com/2011/physician-calls-for-10-km-setbacks-australia/

      "have been reported over the world for almost 10 years in conjunction with operating wind turbines, starting with Dr Amanda Harry, in the UK in 2003, closely followed by Dr David Iser, Victorian Rural GP from Toora in 2004, "

      Clearly the WTS phenomenon wasn't a result of an awareness campaign wages by Drs Pierpont and Laurie.

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  25. Dawn Lambe

    PhD Candidate, Economics

    I am agog. Watching this pissing contest unfold, and the absolute refusal to speak to the other side's data whilst devolving into insult and denigration, is more than disheartening. It's concrete evidence that the human species is too fundamentally stupid to continue.

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Dawn Lambe

      It's indeed human nature, Dawn, aided by a forebrain that's only larger than our primate cousins' because of a 2-letter defect in our DNA.

      But, there are plenty of facts among to pools of pee above.

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  26. Shirley Birney

    retiree

    I was raised in a house about 200 metres from a poppet head at the Enterprise mine, with its cages shunting up and down 24/7. Visitors occasionally asked: "What's that noise?" We'd ask: "What noise?"

    I see the anti-wind nuclear pushers are at it again. No worries to them that the nuclear industry has slaughtered billions of marine life every year for the last forty years and continues the carnage with impunity but keep that under ya hat folks.

    Erickson et al estimate bird kills from…

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    1. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley, I think you might find that killing say 50 eagles is ecologically more significant that 10000 sparrows.

      I don't know whether this has been accounted for in these bird death statistics. The bird casuality results produced by Acciona at their Waubra site showed almost 200 bird deaths per year but a a rather large toll on raptors - 10 falcon deaths in total. Put this in perspective of the local ecosystem and I hope you will get the picture.

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      George is onto something inconvenient for the wind folks.

      It's always interesting when folks claiming to be environmentalists advocate some technology they don't really understand, but are ok with it killing various living things. Any wonder we've screwed up so much of the world?

      The stats Shirley quotes are especially misleading and manipulative -- comparing bird deaths form building collisions with windmill dicings. No one's planning to put building up all over where windmills are planned…

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    3. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Indeed George there were 10 Brown falcons killed at the Waubra wind farm. The Waubra wind farm management has advised they will shut down if bird death numbers become unacceptable. It is much easier to shut down a wind farm then a giant fish-blending, thermal polluting, radionuclide emitting, ozone depleting nuclear reactor.

      There are also thousands of birds killed by cyanide and uranium tailings dams. In addition, there are already more than 50 million tonnes of LLR uranium waste rock on…

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    4. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      They have nuclear reactors in California? Isn't that a major seismic zone?

      I lived in Esperance in the '80s when the windfarm was right on the edge of town. We never heard any complaints about them (mind you we did have big hair in the '80s).

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    5. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Big hair helps, Gary!

      We have two large, double reactors on our coast. The one south near San Diego is shut down while they try to get warranty repairs for their relatively new Mitsubishi steam generator!

      Calif. quake faults are generally horizontal -- strike/slip. So even the large Loma Prieta one here in 1989 only did damage in the sections where some vertical motion resulted in the mountains, and where liquifaction occurred in filled muddy land, as in San Francisco. Otherwise, we, 2 miles…

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    6. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      True Gary – heaps of earthquakes in California:

      1994: Los Angeles: The earthquake that killed 60 and injured 7,707. 5,000 buildings deemed unsafe and a repair bill of $30 billion.

      1989: San Francisco - 63 dead and more than 3,500 injured; 100,000 buildings damaged and 12,000 people homeless.

      http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/states/historical_state.php#california

      Fortunately the moratorium remains on new nuclear reactors and the Californian government ain’t buying any of Alex Cannara’s mumbo jumbo.

      Since the declassification of secret documents any literate person knows the nuclear monster commits crimes against humanity under sick regimes in the US and uses the poor, the retarded, the pregnant, the prisoners, the helpless, the sick and the newborn as human guinea pigs with impunity and with immunity from prosecution.

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    7. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley the best comparison for wind turbines and their impacts on birds would be other intermittent renewable sources such as solar panels. There is no point in comparing them to mining, cyanide poisoning etc, otherwise you might want to compare how many birds go on dinner tables per year, or chastise Mother Earth for natural disasters that temporarily knock out whole ecosystems. You may also ask how many birds are poisoned by the mineral extraction process required to make wind turbines. You may…

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    8. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      "I hope to encourage you and other (s) to do a little more thinking than arguing.”

      George, I was under the impression that it was you who picked an argument with me. And silly me after doing a little more thinking as you suggested I realised that it is not the birds you are worried about.

      I suspect your motives and your objections are due to living thirty five kilometres from a turbine. 35km George? Is it true? If the answer is “yes,” then I daresay the bird kills are the least of your…

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    9. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley, when one comes across a shambolic industry like the horizontal-axis wind industry, that annoys me at times 35km away, then yes one is inclined to question all the marketing claims about it - much like you presumably question everything about industries that affect you in one way or the other.

      Some of the answers are in your own statements such as "I believe wind is irrefutably proven to be the least threatening to wildlife.". Yes, you think they are the least threatening, because unlike…

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    10. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      There goes the expert in everything in Calif. wh'os not in Calif? Oops, Shirley. Good work at demonstrating you've no idea why our nukes have survived all those quakes (though one hasn't survived Mitsubishi product quality).

      From your logic, you must have campaigned against bikes, when you got a flat, or your bike chain broke. eh?

      It's interesting to see a rabid, self-proclaimed 'environmentalist' advocating unnecessarily killing birds & bats with man's most inefficient power source, while decrying mankind's safest form of mass power generation... http://tinyurl.com/42wvr9l http://tinyurl.com/3nwjboz

      But facts never got in your way, eh Shirley? As they don't get in our climate deniers' either, eh?

      Keep up what you're doing, the combustion folks love it.
      ;]

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    11. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do sir? Fudge?

      Fraud and Violations in the Nuclear Industry

      Section 1 of 10:

      01/2012: California’s San Onofre (SONGS) nuclear power plant has 10 times more safety violations than the industry average making it the most dangerous nuclear plant of all 64 plants (and 104 reactors) in the nation. The NRC is under investigation for reducing safety standards in order to keep older nuclear plants running.

      The NRC does not require seismic…

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    12. Gary Murphy

      Independent Thinker

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      So the company running the reactors cut corners and took unnecessary risks to save money?
      Only in Japan - eh?

      "Takashi Wada, president of Fukushima-based subcontractor Build-Up, acknowledged this weekend that the dosimeter falsification had taken place."
      http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2012-07-22/japan-coverup-radiation-nuclear-plant/56408950/1

      "...the crisis was a "man-made disaster" resulting from collusion between TEPCO, regulators and the government."
      http://articles.cnn.com/2012-07-23/asia/world_asia_japan-fukushima-report_1_fukushima-daiichi-tepco-yotaro-hatamura

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    13. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George, is your wind farm the only one in Australia with the horizontal-axis bizzo?

      The photo of raptors and turbines in the link you provided were supplied by Mark Duchamp, a GW sceptic. He claims “tens of millions” of birds have been killed by wind turbines. The problem with Duchamp’s credibility is that he works on estimates – his own. To my knowledge he remains incapable of substantiating such nonsense.

      However, fudgers and compliant regulators of any industry cannot be excused for criminal…

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    14. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      OK Shirley I get the point - you really want your wind turbines, but go put them in your own back yard, and make sure their not big enough to affect the health of your neighbours or local ecosystem.

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    15. Mike Hansen

      Mr.

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      "detect condor movements as far as 6 miles away"
      Shirley - George is not impressed - he could detect them 36km away.

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    16. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Mike Hansen

      Mike, its a shame your not around my place tonight to appreciate yet again why I am annoyed by this vibrational hum... I've provided my e-mail - sceptics are welcome to come and witness. Meanwhile jokes and derision seem to be the way the wind's blowing for those who just can't get over their crush for wind turbines.

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    17. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      Well George, I agree. It's all about location, location but strewth you're 35 kilometres from the source.

      And alas, the author of the link you provided, Nina Pierpont has been thoroughly debunked:

      "There have been 17 major studies on wind turbine health and innumerable point-specific studies on wind turbine noise, vibration, infrasound and shadow flicker.

      "These studies have been made up of public health doctors and scientists, acousticians, epidemiologists and related specialists. They considered Pierpont's book along with all of the rest of the published literature.

      "In every case, they found that her work was completely lacking in credibility compared to other research. Recent major studies have been done in Ontario, Massachusetts and Oregon with the same results."

      Come on George. I've shown you the money and you sell me a monkey?

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    18. George Papadopoulos

      logged in via LinkedIn

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Shirley, no one has claimed or will claim that Pierpont's research is of the ultimate standard of research. There are many reasons why her evidence is not conclusive of a problem. But what she deals with is real people who all tell similar stories - a strong hint that something is wrong. You need anecdote to create a hypothesis from which one will then challenge with rigorous research, otherwise it is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

      With regards to the 17 international reviews, I draw…

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    19. Peter Sommerville

      Scientist & Technologist

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      This is not an argument in which I have chosen to engage - it is well off the topic of the original article by the Professor, it is not within my sphere of knowledge and I am not all that inclined to do the research. But I also suspect a lot of the debate here is not based on real knowledge - but rather on trawling the net with Google and then simply plagiarising material that suits a passionately held position. I have an image in my mind of individuals Googling madly to construct a response that…

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    20. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to George Papadopoulos

      George, to my knowledge there have been no complaints (historical or recent) of “wind turbine syndrome" from residents in close proximity to California’s Altamont Pass wind farm (where cows graze peacefully).

      And the wind farm is more than thirty years old with the largest concentration of wind turbines in the world,

      Please explain?

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    21. Shirley Birney

      retiree

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      Oh dear I do not mean to disparage but is this the same Peter Sommerville – the retired wool metrologist and computer modeller posing as a scientist? The same gentleman who is a devotee of Bjorn Lomborg’s burblings? And is he now the self-appointed moderator for TC? Is he that pitiful fellow who's stalking me?

      (In reply to Peter Sommerville, 27 days ago
      Robert Haye
      physicist (logged in via email @gmail.com)
      +24 insightful unconstructive
      “Peter, my guess is that you are intelligent…

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    22. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Gary, if you want a full list of links about Fukushima's history over the decades, just email me (last name at sbcglobal dot net). A friend was a GE engineer on the project & has many stories to tell. But here's the report just out... http://tinyurl.com/72fww8u
      www.slideshare.net/jikocho/naiic-report-hires
      http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/energy/nuclear/fukushima-nuclear-accident-the-earthquake-question-/?utm_source=techalert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=071212

      Yes indeed, "only in Japan…

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    23. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      Yes, Shirley, and "fudging facts" includes you failing to note that "safety violations" being recorded means someone has watched and recorded them.

      So again, Shirley, while you've been pompously railing against nukes, how many lives have been lost to combustion? You should know, since none have been lost here to nukes, but you can easily determine how many have been lost to other sources, including your personal love: wind.

      C'mon Shirley, "What do you do? Fudge?"

      While you were writing your comment & reading this, we lost another 30+ Americans to disease caused by the combustion industry you naively support.

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    24. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Peter Sommerville

      "I am not all that inclined to do the research" -- not sure what the purpose of this comment is. Our local schools don't accept simple web references in kids' papers. That doesn't mean places like Wikipedia aren't good for research -- they generally are, because responsible folks in particular realms edit them when errors are seen.

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    25. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Shirley Birney

      This is great! Shirley, in the land where most are nice, unassuming Aussies, is writing "to my knowledge" about our Altamont Pass windmills 50 miles from this keyboard!

      C'mon up & count the dead birds, Shirley! C'mon up and rent a room in Livermore or Tracy, not far from the pass. Maybe interview some locals & get some real data. You know, the kind you don't think are "fudge".
      ;]

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  27. Marie Burton

    Resident

    I am not an academic but I have done some research and have found that there is peer-reviewed evidence that industrial turbines can cause health issues although not eveyone is affected. Noise is the biggest problem as Davis versus Fenland (UK) the Davis family receiving compensation,. Could someone please explain to me why people are leaving their homes because they cannot stand the noise and some have health issues. We are not talking about windmills here but INDUSTRIAL TURBINES and should be treated…

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  28. William Hughes-Games

    Garden weed puller

    Much has been made of the carbon foot print of building a wind turbine and the ancillary equipment so lets start with a grid that is 100% coal powered. We build a bunch of wind turbines and commission them. All the energy to build them has a carbon foot print. They displace 5% of the coal burnt. The carbon foot print of the next bunch of turbines we build is only 95% as great, the next 90% and so forth until we displace all coal burnt and the construction of wind turbines is completely green. The sooner we get on with it the better.

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    1. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Gary Murphy

      Wonder if these have solved the cloud problem (apart from the land-waste one) -- the thermal shock of sudden changes in cloud cover on partly-cloudy days had the first solar-thermal plant in Spain folding up its mirrors on partly-cloudy days.

      Talk about the absurdities of subsidized, goofy ideas!

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    2. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to William Hughes-Games

      Actually, William, an honest 'green' accounting would debit wind for its continual loss of >10% of its power to transmission/conversion losses. And, it would get dunned for land consumption, maintenance emissions, species declines, and whatever value we'd choose to place on the noise and visual degradation of the environment.

      This doesn't even include the relatively short lifetime of a given wind machine, or the fact the Chinese have already begun to experience -- winds move with climate change, windmills can't.

      So, not only is wind power inefficient in construction & operation, it's the least in lifetime efficiency of other sources, which are themselves more than adequate to meet our needs without the destructive aspects of wind and its subsidies.

      You might want some honest facts, as in...
      MacKay "Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air", or Etherington "The Wind Farm Scam".

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    3. Stephen Morton

      electronics tech

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      How about some links for that article? Interesting problem that I would imagine would have manifested itself earlier than the operational phase.

      Flat, uninhabited desert scrubland is difficult to waste, maybe a bit more difficult to utilize though.

      The petroleum industry has been subsidized since early last century.
      The military is one big subsidy.

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    4. Alex Cannara

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Stephen Morton

      "uninhabited desert scrubland is difficult to waste" -- really? Ever studied how many things live on "uninhabited" desert?

      You can certainly go back and find articles on that, when you find the old ones on the first Spanish solar-thermal plant You can also find info ion how much power is wasted in transmission and thermal conversion, and even how much gas is burned overnight to keep the plant fully up, or just ready for the morning sun!

      Talk about Rube Goldberg machines.
      ;]
      PS, military & other 'subsidized' groups that serve the citizenry and common good, do not simply take from the many to give to the few, as special deals like wind or ethanol subsidies do.

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    5. Stephen Morton

      electronics tech

      In reply to Alex Cannara

      The energy is free, which is the point. What is free is not wasted and the challenge is only to harvest more.
      There is shade under the mirrors and the actual incursion into the surface is much less than the area of the mirrors. The heat is concentrated above the surface and you could take a nice nap under the heliostat.
      Out of sight and out of mind is what that land is. Damage to scrub by mirrors is a laughable objection.

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