Federal Government’s Mandatory RET pays Pac Hydro to Steal Sonia Trist’s Home

Sonia Trist

Sonia Trist: a victim of the mandatory RET.


As STT followers are well aware, the mandatory Renewable Energy Target and the Renewable Energy Certificates issued to wind power generators under it amount to a Federal Tax on all Australian power consumers. The value of the REC Tax is then transferred to wind power outfits – like Union Super Fund backed, Pacific Hydro – to the tune of $billions each year.

As a direct consequence of the Federal government’s RET policy, Pac Hydro speared 29 giant fans into the heart of the peaceful Victorian coastal community of Cape Bridgewater back in 2008: no RET, no RECs, no wind farm – pure and simple.

Pac Hydro’s Cape Bridgewater wind farm does not – and will never – comply with the noise conditions of its planning permit. The Victorian government are well aware of that fact but – in a form of malign acquiescence – aid and abet the offender, by doing nothing.

One of Pac Hydro’s numerous Cape Bridgewater victims, Sonia Trist has finally had enough and has decided to abandon her beautiful seaside home. Sonia’s decision was made for no other reason than to escape the incessant low-frequency noise and infrasound generated by Pac Hydro’s turbines – and the impact that noise has on her ability to sleep, to use and enjoy her (otherwise) perfectly comfortable home.

Here is Sonia talking a while back about the merciless nature of the noise generated by Pac Hydro’s non-compliant wind farm.



Here’s local rag, the Portland Observer talking about Sonia’s anguished decision to leave the place she dearly loves – but then the paper otherwise acts as an apologist for Pac Hydro – as Bill Meldrum lets its execs entirely off the hook. So much for hard-hitting journalism.

Turbines forces owner to quit home
Portland Observer
Bill Meldrum
17 April 2014

A CAPE Bridgewater resident is on the verge of abandoning her dream property because of the impacts nearby wind turbines are having on her health.

Sonia Trist said on Friday she was resigned to inevitability that she will have to leave her 2.2 hectare property on the cape.

The closest turbine to Miss Trist’s house is about 600 metres away, and is one of a cluster of five on the north side of Pacific Hydro’s Cape Bridgewater wind farm.

She said she bought the property in 2006-07, saying she was fully aware a wind farm would be built in the area, but it was only when the construction started in 2007 and finished in 2008 that she became aware of the size of the turbines.

“It has become unbearable, there is the proximity of the turbines, the shadow flicker caused by them and the noise – in an easterly wind they are really noisy and in a south-westerly there is a rumble,” she said.

She said that she had lived at the property full-time since 2011 since she sold her previous property in Brisbane, but that whenever she has lived at the house since the turbines started her health had deteriorated.

“I have palpitations, anxiety connected to sleep deprivation … I would love to sleep with the windows open, enjoy the fresh air, but had to close the windows because of the noise,” she said.

“It is really difficult to explain the different impacts these turbines have on different people … The best example I can draw on is that some people get seasick when they are on a boat, others don’t.”

She said it was a very emotional decision to abandon a property.

“You don’t make a decision like that without a great deal of thought … The natural environs are really beautiful here,” she said.

It is not the first time Miss Trist has mentioned abandoning her property, having done so previously in 2012.

“It is an emotional attachment here … The property is not on the market and I have received legal advice saying there is a definite liability I would have if I rented it out and the tenants found they were unable to sleep ,” she said. “I have been looking at rental properties in Hamilton to live in short term so I am close enough to see the acoustic testing being done by Steven Cooper (Sydney-based noise engineer) and being arranged by Pacific Hydro at the property … he will need access to the property and house,” she said.

“I will be leaving for six months from July to be with my daughter in Great Britain, after that I just don’t know … all I know is that in all reality I won’t be living at Cape Bridgewater.”

Pacific Hydro government and corporate affairs executive manager Andrew Richards confirmed last Friday that the testing at three properties including the Trist property would start soon.

“From our point of view, it is likely to be the most extensive testing undertaken relating to noise from a wind farm,” he said.

Mr Richards said the tests would involve audible sound, vibration and infrasound.

“The reason it has taken so long to get a start on the actual testing is the scope of the testing, it will be interested on people and the fact that there will be equipment, wires and access to their properties needed,” he said.

Both Mr Richards and company commercial head Rachel Watson said they were disappointed with Miss Trist’s decision to abandon her property.

“We have found her feedback valuable at the meetings, we are disappointed that she has made a decision to leave,” they said.
Portland Observer

A few posers Bill Meldrum (or anyone professing to be a journalist) might have put to Pac Hydro are:

  • a large number of your neighbours have been complaining about turbine noise since 2008, so why has it taken you 6 years to bother doing any serious testing?
  • have you ever simply considered shutting your turbines off at night to let your neighbours sleep? And if not, why not?
  • what does Pac Hydro propose doing if Steven Cooper’s noise testing proves non-compliance? Will Pac Hydro shut its turbines down then? Will it inform the Clean Energy Regulator that it does not comply with the conditions of its planning consent and is, therefore, ineligible to receive RECs?
  • does Pac Hydro plan to compensate Sonia Trist for the loss of the use and enjoyment of her home? And if not, why not? (At this point, a real journalist would hit Pac Hydro’s spin doctors with the hypocritical fact that Pac Hydro – and a bunch of other rent-seeking wind power outfits – are currently bullying the Federal government with nonsense claims for “compensation” if the mandatory RET is scaled back or scrapped.)

Although, in fairness to Bill, he’s probably never spent a single night trying to sleep with turbine noise – let alone 6 years of being pounded night after night by the incessant grinding, metallic, low-rumbling of the gearbox and generator – combined with the roaring, thumping, air-tearing-blade noise.

For Bill’s benefit (and the benefit of those fortunate enough to have never suffered through it) here is a video recording taken at Sonia Trist’s home, providing a minute fraction of what Sonia has had to put up with for 6 years – and maybe, just maybe a logical reason as to why Sonia is set to abandon her home.



The “screech” heard in the video is a “special” feature that was added in 2011 to the “Psychopath’s Symphony” that Pac Hydro has faithfully rendered, whenever the wind is blowing, since 2008 (see our post here).

So, in the end result, a law-abiding Australian citizen is driven from her own home, to which the offender’s glib response is that it’s “disappointed” with her decision.

The offender was only placed in the position to ruin that person’s life (and many other citizens’ lives) by virtue of a perverse Federal government industry subsidy scheme, that has added $billions to power consumers’ bills – lining the pockets of outfits like Pac Hydro – and which has done nothing at all to reduce CO2 emissions in the electricity sector (its stated aim).

In substance, the mandatory RET/REC scheme is financing outfits like Pac Hydro to take peoples’ homes (some 40, so far) without paying any valuable consideration – or, in simpler terms again, Pac Hydro and other wind power outfits are literally stealing Australian citizens’ homes with Commonwealth government assistance (see our post here).

Call us old fashioned, but in STT’s view there’s something very wrong with that picture.


It’s alright, Sonia. The Federal Govt paid us to take it.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Noel Dean says:

    To Sonia,

    The reasons I have not followed through with legal action are many. Firstly, at most times, I am still too ill. I do not sleep many hours straight because – well I know you are well aware. Another reason is that anyone that should be helping or is in a position to help, refuses to do to their fullest because money talks.

    There are many people who do not tell the truth publicly. It has been reported to me that a wind farm engineer admitted that when turbines are placed too close together and if placed in a row near to where people are, then the people will become unwell. This was said privately and then he said “I will deny it in court.” His conversation was reportedly overheard by a local MP who then stated that he did not hear that.

    I have had the local councilor claim to me that they will not help me as I went to the lawyers first. This was not true. We went to the lawyer because the developer asked questions and would not, and still has not provided us with the outcome of testing done on our property 5 years ago. They claim that they are under no obligation to supply the information requested and that I had threatened litigation by saying that the noise is a nuisance. It can not be proven that the Waubra windfarm is not compliant or compliant under the New Zealand Standard because the sound exposure levels do NOT get assessed by using the system to assess dBA levels and the assessment of SACs at wind farms because it is totally different to what the EPA in Victoria uses to assess every other noise. T,he EPA have not got the aurthority to go on to private property to assess noise.

    Sonia, like us, you have no choice but to leave the area. This well-known sound pollution has caused serious harm to many people. Some people appear not to be affected. Some people do not realise they are affected. Most people do not know or are aware of how much air turbulence modulation their bodies are being subjected to. This is evidenced by pain in the head (for me mostly at the back of the head where organs of balance are, also tinnitus and body vibration, or legs going cold and sudden jerks of pain). All three of us here now have developed symptoms after the startup of the Windfarm turbines. Some of these affects may never leave us. Visits to a hyperbaric chamber has helped me a lot.

    Sonia, our thoughts are with you at this heart breaking time of leaving your home.

    Noel Dean

  2. Shame on the VIC Goverment to allow these fans to operate.

  3. melissa says:

    When asked recently at the community consultative meeting run by Pacific hydro, ‘why they you just turn off the turbines at night to give us some kind of a break from the noise?’, a Pacific hydro representative replied “purely financial reasons”.

    They have banned the presence of the media. They exclude representatives from the Glenelg Shire Council, the Victorian Planning Department and would prefer only Cape Bridgewater residents attend and meetings to be held at Cape Bridgewater. This excludes any impacted or future impacted from Portland surrounds. Stage 4 of the Portland Wind Energy Project proceeds regardless of warnings of impacts and without independent noise testing prior to commissioning. They have stated nothing can be released from the meetings without their approval and yet they have freely posted their screened minutes of the CCM’s up on their website to become public documents.

    For Australian Planning Departments it has become the norm that holding community meetings is the resolution for wind farms to proceed, a belief so laughable it’s surely a joke. Community consultations will never grant social licence to operate while wind generators offer nothing more than ‘disappointment’ for their actions or refusal to accept the extent of impacts on lives.

    For a year now these community meetings have been held by Pacific Hydro and nine months since their public apology for the screeching, which by the way, has never stopped; to what gain? Yes finally… independent noise monitoring is being done – but what choice are we given but to abandon our homes?

    • Felicity says:

      If it is similar to here in South Australia, it is because night time off peak generation bumps up their performance levels. There should be two ratings for more clarity!

  4. Jim Hutson says:

    Now there’s a twist. “A definite liability if she rents the house out and the tenants unable to sleep”. Talk about one sided.
    How much longer do we have to put up with this absolute nonsense? Will someone in Government please take a stand? If you cannot see the folly in this then our country doesn’t stand a chance.

  5. Terry Conn says:

    Can anyone tell me why this woman doesn’t take legal action? And yes the effects of the RET and RECS for Pac Hydro is to make trade unionists rich at the expense of everybody else and no doubt to their great glee destroy the life of some property owning capitalist. If Sonia escapes with her head she will be fortunate. For God’s sake Sonia and for all our sakes ‘sue the bastards’. At least get legal advice and remember ‘evidence wins cases’.

  6. Grant Winberg says:

    As they say in the classics ‘for the greater good’. As they say at Cape Bridgewater ‘road kill’.

  7. It is difficult to believe that this trampling of human rights is happening in Australia – and with no shortage of brain dead journalists and beaurocrats who sing and hymn the “graces” of this most disgraceful industry.


  1. […] which wind power outfits receive and which are tacked on top of all Australian power bills (see our post here). Acciona has, so far, received over $85 million in RECs (a Federal tax on all Australian […]

  2. […] Among those who have decided that their long-term health is more important than their homes is another of Pac Hydro’s victims, Sonia Trist (see our post here). […]

  3. […] period have the faintest idea as to what it’s like to live in a sonic torture trap (see our posts here and […]

  4. […] call of honour — people like Mary Morris of South Australia; Dr Andja Mitric Andjic in Victoria; Sonia Trist, Joanne Kermond and Melissa Ware at Cape Bridgewater; Colleen Watts in New South Wales; and, of […]

  5. […] And we’d love to know what “other community facilities” the developer will “improve”. Maybe they can build a refugee centre for the dozens of families who’ll be driven from their homes by incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound? (see our post here) […]

  6. […] Federal Government’s Mandatory RET pays Pac Hydro to Steal Sonia Trist’s Home […]

  7. […] The second group is by far and away the majority and includes those whose lives will be the all worse for the short-sighted greed of the few mentioned above. This group obviously includes the many who will end up as neighbours, whose homes will become sonic torture traps: hard-working people who will be driven mad by shadow flicker and the incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise, night after merciless night. As part of the so-called “green” energy “bargain”, the value of their properties will be smashed, if it were even possible to find a buyer for their (soon to be uninhabitable) homes (see our post here). […]

  8. […] These are the people that publicly feign genuine interest in community “concerns”, but are quick to ridicule, bully and berate anyone who has the temerity to point out that losing the ability to sleep in one’s own home due to the incessant low-frequency noise generated by giant fans isn’t a “concern”, it’s a State sponsored and funded crime (see our post here). […]

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