“I find the lack of honest declaration is both astounding and appalling. The guide should be there to protect farmers, encourage them to do their own research before signing up for turbines (if they do their own research, I suggest it unlikely they would sign up), and to not fall for the smooth talking glossy language of the wind industry.”
As at February 17, 2013, no reply had been received to the following letter, sent by Wellington farmer Michael Lyons.
24 January 2013
NSW Farmers Association
Ms Fiona Simson
PO Box 459
St Leonards NSW 1590
Re – Wind Farm guide for Host Landholders
As a member of NSW Farmers Association I was pleased to receive notification and access to a copy of the recently released document titled “Wind Farm guide for Host Landholders”, this was, until I read the full document.
I found the content and misguided information extremely distressing. It is with documents such as the one produced by the Association that forces the public to question the relevance and independence of the Association.
Having read the guide, it would appear that the Association has sold out to Industrial Business and those seeking to take advantage of absurd (current) Federal Government policy and unviable schemes.
It would also appear that the Association has been infiltrated by the very people attempting to destroy our peaceful, harmonious and valuable existence in Rural NSW.
Are you and the Executive Council aware of GHD’s background?
How could the Executive Council allow the Association to be so compromised by selecting and then, most importantly, not declaring the interests and background of GHD’s management?
For your information, the manager of GHD’s employment history is:
Julien Gaschignard – Manager – Power Group GHD.
2008- Nov 2011 – Wind Directorate Member – Clean Energy Council
2009 – 2011 – Entura (Ex Hydro Tasmania)
2007 – 2009 – Hydro Tasmania
2004 – 2007 – Acciona – Job Title – Manager of Wind Projects across Australia.
Add his ongoing connections to Pacific Hydro and Vestas and it is no surprise that a document such as the one produced is so misleading.
As for the content of the document, there are so many critical omissions and twisted commentary I feel the Association will have betrayed its members if it continues to endorse the guide.
Section 5 – Understanding the Potential Impacts
5.1.3 – Aerial Agriculture
The document incorrectly states that “in some circumstances” aerial activities “may” be effected and neglects to make reference to the Aerial Agricultural Association of Australia’s (AAAA’s) Windfarm policy whereby they “opposes all windfarm developments in areas of agricultural production or elevated bushfire risk”.
Nor does your document refer to the AAAA’s request that “All wind monitoring towers—including guy wires—must be clearly marked to assist pilots to see them”.
I can only assume the cause for omitting this detail is to support GHD’s future business clients, however, how did the Association allow this to be published unchecked?
5.1.4 – Fire Management
Your document states “Wind Turbines may also reduce aerial access for bushfire management”.
This is completely false. Both the operators of fixed wing aerial fire support and Helicopters Australia have very recently confirmed that in the event of a smoke hazard (fire) their pilots will not operate whilst many regional RFS Captains have confirmed without air support and the added unknown electrical and structural behaviour of turbines during fire, ground crews will/cannot be taken into relevant zones.
As a RFS captain, I fully support the above statement.
As for your document suggesting that fire risk needs to be addressed in the project application, it neglects to acknowledge that the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 No 203- 79BA Consultation and development consent – certain bush fire prone land- Section (1B), states “This section does not apply to State significant development”(i.e., Wind Turbine Developments).
5.2.3 – Noise
Why doesn’t the document refer to existing legal matters in relation to Noise pollution, the system for averaging noise output or the current motion before the Australian Senate to further monitor and report on Turbine Noise pollution?
If the document was truly intended to be a neutral “Guide” surely the Association would have ensured all relevant data and occurrences were referenced including the Wind Industry’s absolute horror at being called into question by the Federal Senate.
Why is the industry so afraid of being required to comply with a background noise level plus 10DbA when all other power generation sources are required to remain at no more than 5DbA above background?
Why is there no reference or pictures of abandoned homes, abandoned due to noise pollution?
Why is there no reference to homes purchased by developers as settlement of Noise pollution complaints?
5.3 – Health Impacts
This is the section that most sparked my anger and suspicion in relation to the author’s credibility.
The fact that the author has elected to only publish the part statement of the NHMRC 2010 Rapid Review screamed a cover up.
Coincidentally, the same part statement is that widely used by the Wind Industry whilst the author has conveniently omitted any reference to the NHMRC’s recommendation to “proceeding with caution” or any reference whatsoever to their testimony at various Federal Senate hearings.
If this document was truly independent and only a guide, it surely would have referenced the Waubra Foundation and many other “peer reviewed” scientific journals that relate to the Health concerns of this industry.
Once more the deliberate omission of this detail can only be directed towards GHD’s capital ambitions however, how does the Association relieve itself of fault?
5.4 – Social / Community impacts
Whilst your document claims “At a general level there are strong levels of community support for wind farms in rural Australia flowing from, amongst other things, the employment benefits that result from wind energy developments” there is not one rural region in this country that has enjoyed weak, let alone, strong levels of support.
Name one region that has enjoyed any level of support?
Every region confronted with this disease has experienced, never before seen, neighbour against neighbour, family member against family member, feuding and distrust. Several landholders have gone as far as issuing legal notices of intention to sue Host landholders.
No mention of the recent Collector community study that resulted in an absolute majority opposing the proposed development.
Show one local area that has prospered as a result of increase jobs?
Sure, some heavy machinery operators will benefit during construction, however, as confirmed by various Developers throughout NSW “not many jobs” will be available for locals. How many, unemployed, degree qualified Electrical Engineers is the Association aware of in rural communities?
6 – Negotiating an Agreement
Why is there no mention of all agreements requiring the Landholder to indemnify the Turbine developer against all third party claims?
Why is there no mention of all agreements (you could have said “it is common”) being favourable towards the developer and that caution should be exercised and all considering hosting should procure their own legal advice and not accept offers from developers to utilise legal entities introduced by them?
The Association appears to have gone out of its way to include positive comments from host (paid) advocates but included no comments from any concerned landholder (there are many).
6.5.3 – Impacts on Land Value
Again the document has lifted and espoused the Industry propaganda position on this topic.
No mention of Elders National Sales Manager, Shane McIntyre’s comments that there was “no doubt” that land near wind farm towers “falls significantly in value” and could lead to a decline of 30-50% in value!
McIntyre said when a possible buyer “becomes aware of the presence of wind towers, or the possibility of wind towers, in the immediate district of a property advertised for sale, the fall-out of buyers was major”.
“Very few go on to inspect the property and even fewer consider a purchase. On the remote chance they wish to purchase, they seek a significant reduction in price”.
Now, if I could find this data, I’m sure the Association would also be in possession of it.
To deliberately omit this detail is bordering negligent behaviour on behalf of members.
9.1 – Wind Farm Regulation
You advise that due to “complex noise” issues, “the NSW Government has decided that large scale wind farms should be regulated by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA)” yet you neglect to advise that the current EPA excludes noise created by Wind Turbines!
Again, this omission is bordering negligence on behalf of members.
10 – Decommissioning
No mention of the likelihood and/or experience of developers entering liquidation or abandoning turbines, as has been experienced in the United States.
What does the effect of Government Policy change have on the lifespan of a development?
Developers I’ve spoken with advise that policy change would be the end of the industry.
Therefore, who is responsible for decommissioning when the developer/operator no longer exists?
Is the Association aware that “decommissioning” almost always only refers to the above ground structure and not the monstrous tonnages of concrete footings?
In closing, I find the lack of honest declaration is both astounding and appalling. The guide should be there to protect farmers, encourage them to do their own research before signing up for turbines (if they do their own research, I suggest it unlikely they would sign up), and to not fall for the smooth talking glossy language of the Wind Industry.
You refer readers to pro institutions including the Clean Energy Council (formerly the Wind Energy Association of Australia) a known and close associate of the authors, yet neglect to advise of any contact details for the many organisations with opposing views (Waubra Foundation etc.)
Whilst I accept the Association has elected to take a neutral position on this; I’m disgusted at the quality of this publication and request that it be withdrawn and an immediate publication is released to correct the missing declarations that should have originally accompanied this document.
As an Association that only exists through the support of its members, those responsible for the selection of GHD and apparent deliberate omission of declarations, to the extent that this document has been released under the Association’s name, do nothing more than act as a support sales document for the wind developer, should be reprimanded and retrained in line with members’ expectations.
5 thoughts on “Critical omissions and twisted commentary”
I am a wind turbine host from South Australia and read the NSWFA guide. I was horrified and wondered if the organisation had been bought out by the wind industry.
Incidentally, I have recently had an acoustic monitoring of the inside of our home over a three week period which shows high levels of infra sound consistent with the number of turbines at a distance of 2.5Km from our home. Since we moved into our home in 2006, I have had “wind turbine syndrome” like health issues and learned in early 2012 that it may be the turbines causing the problems. The wind industry claim that I only started to complain about the existing wind farm after discovering that a new one with bigger turbines was to be erected 2Km upwind of our home. I found out about the proposed wind farm in December 2010 – why in the name of goodness would I wait until 2012 to complain? In short, like everybody else, I didn’t know. It was sheer chance that I heard of infra sound problems March 2012.
Wake up NSWFF, Mr Gaschignard is a plant by the wind industry.Mrs Simson is either a fellow traveller or incredibly naive. She should fire Mr Gaschignard,hire Michael Lyons to write a report and then tender her resignation to the Board of the NSWFF. Unfortunately the wind industry poison has infected the VFF & the AFF as well. People like Mrs Simson forget that they are hired to look after the interests of farmers, not to save the planet.
Vote 1 Michael Lyons, for the voice of rural Australia. Excellent letter ,can’t wait for the response.
I’d pay money to see a Michael Vs Leanne H showdown or any other NFF devotee of the wind industry.
Support others who have the strength to speak out about this injustice.