Farmers Tell Wind Farm Developer to Stick its Turbines Where the Sun Don’t Shine

marilyn garry2

Marilyn Garry says: thanks, but no thanks to turbines.

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The great wind power fraud depends on a few gullible land owners signing up to host turbines for charming wind power outfits like Thailand’s RATCH (see our posts here and here and here).

No turbine hosts; no wind industry.

Lured by annual licence fees of around $10,000 per turbine, farmers who do sign up are obviously happy to destroy the ability to live in and enjoy their own homes – if they live on the property concerned; and are quite prepared to draw the eternal damnation of their neighbours for their responsibility for introducing a constant source of annoyance and misery to once happy and peaceful communities.

When the question is asked fair and square, the great majority of those in places where wind farms are threatened are bitterly opposed to having giant fans speared into their rural communities: and when we say “great” majority we mean 90% or more (see our posts here and here).

No wonder then that turbine hosts often end up as social pariahs.

Not only are turbine hosts prepared to earn the opprobrium of whole communities, they’re happy to side with outfits like near-bankrupt, Infigen – an outfit run by a bunch of thugs – that’s quite prepared to threaten and intimidate its potential turbine hosts when they have (quite reasonable) second thoughts about remaining in their contracts.

A little while back at Flyers Creek, 3 potential turbine hosts pointed to their lapsed contracts and told Infigen that they were no longer willing to host turbines. Instead of accepting the freely formed (and legally correct) decisions of the landholders concerned, Infigen adopted a course of legal threats, bullying and harassment (see our post here).

And so harmonious are the relationships between Infigen and its turbine hosts that David and Alida Mortimer (farmers and turbine hosts for Infigen at Lake Bonney, SA) have spent the last few years taking every opportunity to tell the story of their self-inflicted acoustic misery – and to warn rural communities around the globe about the very real impacts on sleep and health caused by incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound (see our posts here and here and here).

So much for all that warm and fuzzy support for wind farms – if those that pocket a handy sum for hosting them have nothing but tales of woe to tell.

And it’s not just humans that cop a belting from turbine noise emissions.

Productive grazing operations often depend on a team of happy, healthy and well-rested working dogs.

border-collie-16

Rex: an asset to any productive grazing operation.

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Last time STT worked with sheepdogs it was pretty clear that they can hear a pin drop at 500 paces.

If human ears are affected by low frequency noise, infra-sound and the enormous air pressure fluctuations generated by giant Vestas V112s each with 3 x 56m blades, with their outer tips travelling at over 350km/h (see our post here) – then it’s a pretty fair bet that young Rex’s ears are copping a belting too.

In addition to its Macarthur disaster, AGL operates another non-compliant wind farm called Oaklands Hill, near Glenthompson in Victoria – where the neighbours began complaining about excessive turbine noise the moment it kicked into operation in August 2011.

Complaints from neighbouring farmers included the impact of turbine noise on hard working sheepdogs.

One local farming family – whose prized paddock dog goes ballistic every time AGL’s Suzlon s88s kick into action – complained bitterly about the noise impacts on them and their 5 working dogs: one of them became disobedient and extremely timid, hiding in her kennel whenever the turbines were operating. In an effort to provide a little respite to the affected Kelpies, AGL stumped up $20,000 for a deluxe, soundproof dog kennel. AGL doesn’t give money away without a reason, so you’d tend to think there was something in it. It’s just a pity that AGL doesn’t treat its human victims with the same kind of respect (see our post here).

And it’s not just dogs that cop a belting from turbine noise, horses cop it too (see our post here).

Michelle Edwards is an Irish-born thoroughbred horse trainer who operates from her property right next to Origin’s Cullerin windfarm, NSW.  Where 15 RePower MM82 and MM92 turbines have been driving her and her horses nuts since 2009.  Her horses are quite apparently bothered by noise from operating turbines (located on the range behind their property) and, in response to it, graze the paddocks they roam in as far away from the fans as possible – whenever the turbines are running.

Michelle Edwards

Thoroughbred Trainer – Michelle Edwards.

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Horses are often spooked by loud noises (police horses are trained to remain calm during crowd control duties by repeatedly exposing them to noises like fireworks and sirens) so it’s little wonder that Michelle fears for her safety when working her racing horses next to operating turbines (for a taste of what Michelle’s horses have to put up with – listen to the video in this post).

Having worked with horses all her life (first in Ireland, and now, Australia) Michelle knows a thing or two about horse psychology and behaviour.

Trying to work thoroughbred horses in the acoustic hell created by 15 giant fans has been a nightmare – with a serious impact on her ability to safely train winners, as Michelle put it: “I can’t have track work riders ride either because under occupational health and safety, I have to ensure that the environment that people are riding in, is safe.”  Michelle features in this ABC 7.30 Report video at the 2:45 mark.

Far from being a benign source of cash for turbine hosts, the destruction of the acoustic environment can soon become a misery for horses, hounds and humans alike.

Keen to avoid the misery foisted on turbine hosts like the Mortimers, Binalong grazier Marilyn Garry has told wind power outfit, Epuron “thanks, but no thanks” – rejecting its offer of $30,000 a year for hosting three turbines and other infrastructure on her family’s property, North-West of Yass, NSW.

Farmer rejects wind turbines – and $30,000 carrot
The Canberra Times
John Thistleton
29 September 2014

Marilyn Garry has rejected wind farm proponent Epuron’s offer of $30,000 a year for hosting three turbines and other infrastructure on her family’s grazing property near Binalong.

Wind farm hosts generally welcome an opportunity to host turbines because the cash flow counters drought and volatility in agriculture.

Epuron proposes a $700 million wind farm with more than 130 turbines on the peaks of Coppabella hills and Marilba hills. The two ranges sit on either side of Mrs Garry’s property “Mylora”.

Mrs Garry’s husband John died in April. She said while he considered hosting wind farm infrastructure following a meeting six years ago between Epuron and surrounding farmers, he eventually rejected them, too.

“They are just hideous. They will make sheep and cattle sterile,” Mrs Garry said. “The government is paying subsidies, if they don’t pay, if they pull the rug, the turbines will be left here to rust.

“We have an airstrip on our property. Our son flies down twice a year from Toowoomba with his wife and children. Everyone around here uses the airstrip for spreading aerial super, they pay $1 a tonne. It is also used for fire fighting,” Mrs Garry said.

She said turbines and powerlines would prevent aircraft from using the landing strip.

Mrs Garry has written to NSW Planning saying despite her rejection of Epuron’s turbines, they were still shown on maps, along with infrastructure.

Neighbour Mary Ann Robinson said NSW Planning had been led to believe Mrs Garry was to be a host, which meant Epuron was not required to do as many impact assessments.

Epuron says it will not discuss agreements it has with individual landholders.

Construction manager Andrew Wilson said even when a wind farm project had planning approval, infrastructure could not be built on any land without the consent and agreement of the landowner.

“Wind farms are not like other resource projects such as coal-seam gas as it can only proceed with the consent of the landowners and also involves the establishment and annual contribution to a community enhancement fund,” Mr Wilson said.

Epuron lodged a development application in 2009 and says the project has been on public exhibition twice, in 2009 and a preferred project report in 2012.

NSW Planning is now preparing an assessment report, which should be released soon, Mr Wilson said.

“The benefits of renewable energy and wind farms in particular are well established, not just for the landowners who lease part of their land to the wind farm company, but also for the surrounding community,” Mr Wilson said.

Epuron told the Renewable Energy Target review panel in June it had spent $470 million and, with certainty over the RET, would invest several billion dollars more in renewables.
The Canberra Times

Marilyn Garry is alive to the rort with her keen observation that: “The government is paying subsidies, if they don’t pay, if they pull the rug, the turbines will be left here to rust.”

Spot on, Marilyn!

While $10,000 a year might have sounded like easy money at the beginning, getting rid of a rusting turbine is going to cost a whole lot more than that (think crane hire at $10-30,000 per day, heavy haulage, de-construction specialists and dumping costs) – and don’t expect the wind farm operator to be around to pick up the tab.

The entities that developers use for their land holder agreements are invariably $2 companies, with no fixed assets. In the highly likely event that the parent company goes belly up, the entity that holds the land holder agreement would be wound up in a heartbeat and the turbines would remain rusting in the top paddock as reminders of a moment’s short-sighted greed.

Greed and stupidity are often found in the same bed: see if you can find a turbine host who had the foresight to obtain a decommissioning bond from the developer – backed up by some kind of valuable security, like an irrevocable performance bond, say.

Wise move, Marilyn.

Implicit in Marilyn’s rejection of Epuron’s overtures, is a rejection of the great wind industry lie about wind turbines “drought proofing” agricultural properties.

If a farming or grazing operation – like Marilyn’s – wasn’t viable over the long-term, then $10,000 per turbine per year wasn’t going to remedy that.

The Australian climate cycle is – as Dorothea Mackellar told us – built around “droughts and flooding rains”.

Competent farmers and graziers plan for dry spells with adequate fodder reserves (or ready access to same) and modify cropping programs or stocking rates to fit the rainfall that’s actually delivered: none of which depends on hosting wind turbines.

In reality, the wind industry pitch about “drought proofing” just points to the obvious: that a little additional and regular income can help pay the store account, irrespective of whether the heavens open.

In that respect, hosting turbines is no different than earning income “off-farm” – sons going out shearing to earn cash elsewhere; or having a wife working as a nurse or teacher in town, for example – activities which aren’t called “drought proofing”. However, none of those activities generate the deep seated animosity of (former) friends and neighbours that comes with hosting turbines (see our post here).

To consider that a paltry $10,000 per turbine amounts to just compensation is to overlook the fat pile of REC Subsidy and sales income that the operator will collect from it.

Compared with the piddling $10,000-$15,000 a year that turbine hosts receive per turbine, the wind power outfit will receive upwards of $800,000 a year in REC subsidies, alone.

A REC is issued for each MWh of wind power delivered to the grid. A 3 MW turbine – if it operated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – would receive 26,280 RECs (24 x 365 x 3). Assuming, generously, a capacity factor of 35% (the cowboys from wind power outfits often wildly claim more than that) that single turbine will receive 9,198 RECs annually.

At $94 – the expected price for RECs once the shortfall penalty bites this year – that single turbine will rake in $864,612 in Commonwealth mandated subsidy, which is drawn from all Australian power consumers as a tax on their power bills. But wait, there’s more: that subsidy doesn’t last for a single year.

A turbine operating now will continue to receive the REC subsidy for 16 years, until 2031 – such that a single 3 MW turbine can pocket a further $13,833,792 over the remaining life of the LRET.

In the meantime, the host gets a nominal $160,000 over the same period (with no index for inflation, the real value falling over time) and will end up with a pile of rusting turbines that they will have to pay to remove when the things fall apart, fling their blades to the four-winds, burst into flame or the subsidy scam inevitably gets scrapped – whichever occurs first.

And it’s the REC cost to power consumers that has Victorian Farmers up in arms.

Farmers are power consumers too – and can fairly chew it up, depending on the type of operation.

Irrigators, horticulturalists, pig, poultry and dairy producers use tonnes of the stuff, so any increase in power prices means a hit to wafer thin margins; and their bottom line.

Far from wind farms “drought proofing” farming operations, the mandatory RET (upon which all wind farms critically depend) is “profit proofing” them. Here’s a Media Release from the Victorian Farmers Federation.

Renewable Energy Targets costs farmers millions
Victorian Farmers Federation
Friday 5 September, 2014

VICTORIAN farmers have called on the Federal Government to abolish the Renewable Energy Target (RET), arguing it costs them millions of dollars in higher electricity bills.

“The RET is simply unsustainable as it forces all of us to pay millions more for electricity to subsidise everything from solar hot water systems to wind farms and solar power stations,” Victorian Farmers Federation president Peter Tuohey said.

VFF analysis has shown horticulture, dairy, chicken meat, egg and pig producers are paying up to 10 per cent more for electricity as a result of these charges.

“We’ve got rid of the carbon tax, now let’s get rid of the RET,” Mr Tuohey said.

The RET charges appear on farmers’ bills as:

  • The SRES (Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme), which forces electricity consumers to subsidise small-scale renewable energy systems in homes (solar water heaters, solar panels and small-scale wind and hydro systems.)
  • The LRET (Large-scale Renewable Energy Target), to cover large-scale investment in renewable energy projects, such as wind and solar farms.

Mr Tuohey said the Federal Government’s Expert Panel Report on the RET Scheme had already warned it would cost Australian’s $28 billion and 5000 jobs to ensure at least 20 per cent of Australia’s energy is from renewable sources by 2020.

“The RET is a high cost approach to reducing emissions, given it simply focuses on electricity generation, not efficiency,” he said.
Victorian Farmers Federation

peter touhey

Peter Tuohey: the RET isn’t drought proofing
Australian farms, it’s “profit proofing” them.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Look at the current curriculum for primary aged students, with full promotion of wind energy, the ‘green’ brainwashing starts young. How did this happen in such a short space of time and when will the curriculum be revised to portray facts rather than fiction? We know wind energy has only ever been about creating profits and not the planet or anything on it. Like shouting the Emperor is wearing no clothes; wind turbines just don’t work.

  2. Keith Staff says:

    Don’t forget to include endangered Birds and Bats. If they are not chopped to bits by turbine blades, they leave the area. This is known as displacement. Proponents deny theses facts. Bats do mistake turbine towers for trees. And there is also collision with overhead power lines.

    Where are the Greens and the environmental groups? Well bugger me, they are too busy sipping their soy bean expresso in some trendy little inner city café to bother. Either that or they are collecting their donation from the Clean Energy Council.

  3. Jackie Rovenksy, says:

    This is an article which explains some of the problems created when industrial wind turbines invade rural areas.

    So often we see pictures of animals grazing quietly around turbines, but are they really so at ease? As stated, dogs have acute hearing, and horses are sensitive to noise and movement. We’ve also read before of problems faced by breeders of extra fine wool when their animals are ‘annoyed’ by the noise emitted by these things.

    We also know that we’ve been told for years not to make too much noise when walking through conservation parks or other environments where we might see our native creatures in the wild – but only if we are quiet.

    Where are they when there are all these turbines are thrashing the air? Do they stay and wait for the next event to frighten and possibly deafen them or do they move as far away as possible? What happens when they move to an area already ‘colonised’ by others, do they fight over scarce food sources or do they keep moving on or do the simply die of starvation?

    Those landowners who say no to the payments to host these machines of destruction are to be thanked for their efforts to stop the destruction, for their acceptance that what they do on their property can affect their neighbours.

    What we cannot condone or accept is the role that local authority’s play for turning a blind eye to the dangers these turbines hold. Especially when you consider they are ready to turn the screw when someone accidently puts a fence in the wrong place, or forgets to dot the i’s and cross the t’s on some innocuous form they deem to be of great importance. They are also quick to stop or to not give approval for a one-off activity, or a short term activity which may cause some noise to neighbours, but they don’t hold the same concerns or act with the same speed where industrial wind turbines that will create hours/years of damaging noise and environmental damage are concerned.

    Local authorities could do much more to support their communities, by not giving the companies a hand, but by working with their community to ensure they are not damaged, to stand up to the companies with respect to Planning Consents, and any dealings with State Government authorities.

    The sooner the injustice is stopped, the sooner this industry is made to pay for the damage they are doing, the better. As STT and others have shown, this industry has known from almost the start that it is harmful, yet they have ignored it, and tried to hide what and when they were made aware of this, so they should be made to pay. This industry’s behaviour is no different to others that have damaged humans, animals and the environment so why shouldn’t they be answerable?

  4. Terry Conn says:

    Congratulations to STT for another well written and informative post on the horrors relating to the ‘reality’ of wind farms.
    As ‘commenter’ Michael Spencer says, the problem is getting the truth through to those disconnected to the reality. Unless and until the ABC begins to demonstrate a smidgen of responsibility and investigate and report the actual facts then this whole business of misinformation will continue. In the meantime those landholders who continue to do business with wind farm developers also continue to deserve the condemnation from their peers that they will get until they die.

  5. Your articles are always very well written (and referenced). Unfortunately there are so many inner-city-suburban greenies who will never read them, and who are ‘off with the proverbial fairies’ in having absolutely no practical knowledge of the subject whatsoever! They all live with fantasy ideas completely divorced from reality, with the tragedy being that they have no idea that they might just well believe in unicorns and flying pigs!

    I am doing my little bit by working towards having a little ‘information resource’ made available (hopefully) aimed specifically at our young and propagandised (and mostly city dwellers) youth so that they might check a few things out for themselves, instead of getting their information from ‘Our ABC’, and the Fairfax Press, et al.

    You are welcome to take a look. There is a section on wind-farms (amongst lots of other relevant topics, including the REAL prospect of clean, ‘green’, and cheap power), hopefully to cover most of the main points.

    It’s a gigantic interactive PowerPoint show with over 1,000 Internet hyperlinks throughout. I’ve tried to make it both interesting and entertaining, and to introduce viewers to lots of GOOD news they do not get now. At the same time it should enable them to discover the true nature of the fraud to which they’ve been subjected regarding so-called ‘anthropogenic global warming/climate change/climate disruption/whatever-is-today’s-politically-correct-name-for-it’!

    You may download it here: http://www.galileomovement.com.au/media/ReconsideringClimateChange.ppsx

    Kindly give me your feed-back!

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