The heartbreak of Waterloo

James Delingpole is an English writer, broadcaster and columnist for The Telegraph in the UK. James-Delingpole_140He is the author of several books, including Watermelons: How Environmentalists are killing the planet, destroying the economy and stealing your children’s future.

His recent tour of Australia attracted large audiences. We reproduce his May 3, 2012, piece for The Australian with his permission. The article attracted a ruling by the Press Council. Delingpole responded by saying he stood by every word.

ONE of the great popular misconceptions about climate-change sceptics such as Ian Plimer, Bob Carter, Cardinal George Pell and me is that we’re all Big-Oil-funded, Gaia-ravaging, nature-hating emissaries of Satan. We can’t look at a lovely pristine beach, apparently, without praying for a nice, juicy oil slick to turn up and wipe out all the pelicans and turtles and sea otters.

But this isn’t actually true. I love our beautiful planet at least as much as your $180,000-a-year (for a three-day week) climate commissioner Tim Flannery does. One of my great heroes is Patrick Moore, the Canadian co-founder of Greenpeace with whose sensible, rational approach to environmental issues I agree 100 per cent. Another of my heroes, after an article headlined “Where eagles dare not fly” in The Weekend Australian on April 21, is this newspaper’s environment editor Graham Lloyd.

It took great courage for Lloyd to write up his expose of the tremendous damage being caused by a wind farm to a small community in Waterloo, north of Adelaide. Most newspaper environment editors — from Australia to Britain and the US — tend, unfortunately, to be so ideologically wedded to the supposed virtues of renewable energy they find it all but impossible to criticise it.

Lloyd interviewed a number of victims whose lives had been ruined by the vast, swooshing wind towers looking over their homes. They found sleep almost impossible; they couldn’t concentrate; they had night sweats, headaches, palpitations, heart trouble. Their chickens were laying eggs without yolks; their ewes were giving birth to deformed lambs; their once-active dogs spent their days staring blankly at the wall. The damage, it seems, is caused not so much by the noise you can hear but by what you can’t hear: the infrasonic waves that attack the balance mechanism in the ear and against which not even home insulation can defend you. Its effects can be felt more than 10km away.


Part of a photo essay at Waterloo by The Australian.
See link at the bottom of the page.

Inspired by Lloyd’s article, I went to investigate and was heartbroken by what I found. Until you’ve seen what it can do to people, it’s easy to dismiss wind turbine syndrome as a hypochondriac’s charter or an urban myth. But it’s real all right. Waterloo felt like a ghost town: shuttered houses and a dust-blown aura of sinister unease, as in a horror movie when something dreadful has happened to a previously ordinary, happy settlement and at first you’re not sure what. Then you look up on to the horizon and see them, turning slowly in the breeze . . .

Even more shocking than this, though, were my discoveries about the finance arrangements and behaviour of the wind farm companies. What we have here, I believe, is the biggest and most outrageous public affairs scandal of the 21st century — one in which the Gillard government is implicated and that far exceeds in seriousness and scope of the Slipper or Thomson sideshows.

At the heart of this scandal are the union superannuation funds that are using the wind farm scam as a kind of government-endorsed Ponzi scheme to fill their coffers at public expense. One of the biggest wind farm developers — Pacific Hydro — is owned by the union superfund Members Equity Bank. To meet its carbon reduction quotas, we’re told, Australia needs to build about 10,000 new wind turbines like the ones that have destroyed Waterloo (and dozens of communities like it from NSW to South Australia).

The figures are mind-boggling. Each of those turbines will cost about $3 million, which means $30 billion even before you’ve started building the power lines. And where’s this money coming from? The consumer, of course — mostly via tariffs whacked on to the price of conventional, fossil-fuel energy prices, in the form of payouts called Renewable Energy Certificates.

Note that wind turbines produce very little power. Because wind is intermittent, they operate at between one-fifth and one-third of their capacity, meaning they are erratic, unreliable and have to be fully backed up by conventional “black” (mostly coal-fuelled) power. Where the money is to be made is through the REC subsidy. A 3MW wind turbine that generates (at most) $150,000 worth of electricity a year is eligible for guaranteed subsidies of $500,000 a year. A ridgeline hosting 20 or 30 turbines generates very little power — but an awful lot of free cash for those lucky enough to get their snouts in the trough.

If the unions were merely exploiting government environmental legislation to milk the taxpayer it would be bad enough: but what makes the wind farm scam so scandalous are the public health issues. Why aren’t we more aware of these? Because there have been cover-ups on an epic scale. The owners on whose land the turbines are built are subject to rigorous gagging orders (from law firms such as Julia Gillard’s ex-company, Slater & Gordon); tame experts are paid huge sums to testify that there are no health implications; inquiries are rigged; victims are rehoused and silenced with million-dollar payoffs. The global wind farm industry — a cash cow for everyone from Labor’s unions to the mafia — is so massive it can afford it.

Meanwhile the rest of us lose. Communities are divided, landscapes blighted, birds and bats sliced and diced, property values destroyed, lives ruined to deal with a “problem” — anthropogenic CO2 causing “global warming” — which most current evidence tells us doesn’t even exist.

As a NSW sheep farmer fighting tooth and nail to stop a wind farm development near his beloved home told me the other day in trenchant style: “The wind-farm business is bloody well near a pedophile ring. They’re f . . king our families and knowingly doing so.”

The Australian’s photo essay at Waterloo: click here

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. Gov Wilson says:

    Nice site guys, well researched and informed……. However….

    It seems to me that the main reason ‘Big Wind’ is able to hold their moral high-ground and thus dominate this subject is because all we do is bitch and complain about how unjust the whole thing is by highlighting the negatives…. Health, Communities, Wildlife, Economic, blah, blah, blah. If we want to win against this ‘industry’ we need to get smarter and out manoeuvre them.

    Their argument is based around the notion that industrial sized wind turbines provide the best ‘bang for your buck’ solution (or part solution) to our current reliance on fossil fuels. We in turn have been basing our counter-argument on two main fronts.

    Firstly, potential and/or realized side-effects. As valid as you may think anything that falls into this category is, at the end of the day all are exactly that ‘Side-Effects’ When side-effects are encountered in everyday situations, how do we deal with them? We first work out ways to mitigate down as much of both the risk and consequence of the effect, and we then accept whatever residual remains and crack on, or we decide the residual is too high and choose an alternative course of action. Lets take noise as an example. The side-effect is principally annoying or even harmful noise onto local populations, yes? Ok, so they will argue that most people will be affected while at home. Then they will mitigate as follows: 1 – lobby for highest possible dB ceiling, 2 – abide where possible with dB ceiling, 3 – where not possible provide ‘assistance’ to households such as double glazing, or even just money, 4 – buy properties out. I’ve deliberately only sited the ‘pleasant’ mitigations and left off any of the countless underhand tactics available to them, but you get the picture. The reality is though, in each case, Mr and Mrs General Public will look at this and say “Look, the company has tried to do the right thing by these people… they seem to think they are more important that saving the world…” etc etc etc. You just became an acceptable side-effect.

    Secondly, Big Wind doesn’t provide reliable energy or can’t always sell its energy as the wind isn’t always blowing. This one is even easier for them to counter. “The problem is not the wind farm, the problem is the grid. Currently we are set up for a grid based on dirty CO2 producing coal. As renewable energy progresses the grid will over time adapt to favour clean non-polluting providers such as wind.” You are dead in the water. Huff and puff all you like, you still loose. You may win the odd battle, against a single proposal, but you will loose the war.

    What is required, in my opinion, is action which either takes them off their high-ground or provides us with ground which is higher. Both can be done. To deny them their lofty position you need to show that their prime ambition is not to ‘save the world’ but rather to make lots of money. Take the ground from them. The conversation then goes something like this: “You say that this area is best suited to host the ‘farm’ because it has the best wind? How many wind tests have you conducted ‘out west’, or at the edge of the continental shelf off the east coast for example? Isn’t it true that the main reason you want to build them here is proximity to a city and link into a grid line with spare capacity? So it comes down to cost then? Cable and infrastructure cost? So you think that hiding the true cost of clean energy from the public by condemning small rural communities to ghost towns is acceptable?

    Don’t you think that the extra cost is worth it, to save rural Australia, those farmers and bushmen that helped make this country great?” Who has terrain advantage now?

    Now to also gain higher ground, provide a solution which pampers not only to the ‘save the world’ ideology of the population, but also makes them part of the solution. Tie them into the community so an affront on us is an affront on them. And, make it positive! As way of an example, here is my proposal: My property has a km or so of northern boundary which isn’t overlooked by or overlooking anyone else’s residence. I will donate that entire boundary, to a depth of 20m to any company willing to fill the area with solar panels. Instead of paying me ‘rent’ on that land, use the money to purchase more panels, to be placed free of charge on any city residential rooftop willing to host them, on the condition that half the money raised from sale of that electricity is given to the household, and the other half is donated to a wind farm company willing to invest the extra capital required to put their farms in socially responsible places. I will follow this up with a campaign asking city dwellers to choose between two pictures. Firstly, their suburb with an industrial wind turbine on every roundabout, towering over their homes (after all, that’s basically what we country folk are being asked to put up with) or alternatively, a set of solar panels on each suitable north facing rooftop. Now this isn’t a solution for every case, and there are just as many proposals for irresponsibly placed solar farms popping up (just ask Royalla) but you get the idea, people by enlarge want to do the right thing, if you empower them to feel like they can do so. Australia was built on the notions of mateship (community) and an ability to adapt and overcome (resourcefulness). The creators of this site are doing their bit, raising awareness etc, and I commend them for it. So my question is really to the readership…. What can you do? What will you do? You obviously care enough about the fight to have found this site. So step up, become part of a solution.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Ketan.

    Where an industry knows that harm to health is occurring and where it is silencing sick people (including wind turbine hosts and their families) through gag clauses, and where it is vilifying victims and denying any health problems, we see this as a form of abuse. (Don’t you?)

    Pedophilia is a terrible crime. Perhaps the worst. Nothing that Delingpole has said suggests he thinks otherwise.

    The analogies with the wind turbine industry, which none of us as parents make lightly, are as follows:

    There are children and babies who are developing very distressing symptoms after wind turbines start turning. The only solution is for the turbines to stop operating or for the parents to move their families away.

    These have been clearly identified by not just the residents in Australia and internationally, but by health professionals – including a pediatrician.

    Perhaps you can now see the analogy a little more clearly? Or does your position as an employee of Infigen at Capital make it impossible for you to do so?

    Perpetrators who knowingly harm children, yet deny it, would appear to fit the behavior of pedophiles as well as various companies involved in the wind industry.

    Locations in Australia where this sort of harm to the health and well-being of children have been publicly reported by either the children or their parents include Capital wind development, Cape Bridgewater, Mt Bryan and Waubra.

  3. A choice article, to be sure, and a nuanced approach to a complex issue.

    Here’s the Australian Press Council ruling on this article:

    And here’s Delingpole’s response:

    “I stand by every word of the piece – especially the bit about paedophiles. I would concede that the analogy may be somewhat offensive to the paedophile community.”

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