The MET masts used by hopeful wind power outfits to gauge wind speeds are the vanguard for every wind farm disaster: no MET mast data, no wind farm. As soon as they go up, the locals circle their wagons, marshal their forces and declare war on the proponent. No surprises there.
With the wind industry on the ropes in Australia, developers are quietly pulling down their MET masts at places like Robertstown in South Australia – much to the delight of locals (see our post here).
Wherever MET masts get the chop, the locals breathe a sigh of relief as it signals the developer’s defeat and a victory for a community under threat.
Another recent MET mast signalled-surrender took place at Hallett in South Australia – where AGL had threatened to destroy the iconic landmark, Mount Bryan – until the Full Court of the Supreme Court slammed the project because evidence emerged (originally concealed by AGL) that it would never satisfy the limits set by the EPA’s noise guidelines (see the judgment here). That decision was back in 2011, but the MET masts were only pulled down a few weeks ago, finally allowing locals to celebrate the end of what would have been an environmental travesty.
But there have been a number of cases where locals haven’t been prepared to wait for the developer to remove their masts on the grounds of defeat.
One developer in the mid-north of South Australia had its MET masts take several unscheduled tumbles to terra-firma – as stealthy locals, armed with bolt-cutters, snipped the guy wires and allowed wind and gravity to do the rest. A pretty clear statement of how the locals felt about the planned project. So much for wind industry claims about universal wind farm “support” in the bush!
Well, affirmative MET mast action isn’t just a South Australian thing. Oh no.
In a “we’ll fight them on the beaches” move, Scots have followed suit – grabbing their weapons of choice (a selection of spanners) in order to help a MET mast rest safely on the ground. Here’s a story of a community taking its future out of the hands of a bent planning system and a lying, cheating wind farm developer.
Vandals £50k windfarm wrecking spree
14 October 2014
Vandals have caused £50,000 worth of damage to hi-tech equipment which is part of controversial plans for a multi-million windfarm development.
An 80-metre high wind speed mast on farmland just off Corlic Hill was tampered with and then it completely collapsed.
Police say the incident happened between 3.50am and 4am on Friday 3 October.
The expensive 262ft tall equipment belongs to Greenock-based 2020 Renewables and was being used to gather data as part of the company’s plans for a massive £45 million windfarm at the site.
The proposed development was initially for 10 turbines — which would be visible from Greenock town centre — but following a review, the company now want to build eight.
Bosses from 2020 have today spoken of their ‘shock’ at the deliberate attack and say someone could easily have been killed as a result of it.
They are also offering a reward for any information leading to the arrest of those involved.
A spokesman for 2020 Renewables said: “We were shocked to find out that our met mast at Corlic Hill had been tampered with to bring about its deliberate destruction.
“Evidence from the site shows that several guy wires and shackles were disconnected from their anchors, leading to the collapse of the 80-metre high mast. The health and safety implications of this targeted act of vandalism are of serious concern, as an uncontrolled falling mast could have resulted in loss of life.
“We are co-operating with Greenock CID who are investigating the crime and studying CCTV footage in the area. If anyone has information about the incident, please contact DC Stuart Young on 492676.
“A reward for information leading to the arrest of those involved will be given.”
Police say they are treating the incident as ‘malicious mischief’ and have appealed for any eye-witnesses or anyone with information to come forward as a matter of urgency.
Constable Kyle MacDougall, of Greenock police, said: “It’s a wind measuring instrument put in place in farmland off Corlic Hill in Greenock and is to do with the windfarm development.
“It’s been played about with and collapsed and damaged the instrument. We are looking for anyone with information about this who could help us.”
The huge lamp-post-like structure is located between Greenock and Port Glasgow.
The proposed Inverclyde Windfarm site surrounds the high ground of Corlic Hill and includes parts of Burnhead Moor, Moukin Moor and Devol Moor.
An application for the eight turbine project is currently being considered by Inverclyde Council’s planning department.
There are more than 700 objections, and just one letter of support to date.
The developer’s moaning is just a bit rich where there are 700 opposed to its project and only 1 in favour (no doubt the land holder set to profit handsomely at taxpayers’ expense); where it’s hell-bent on turning hundreds of neighbouring homes into sonic torture traps (see our post here); and where it will smash the value of those properties, rendering many of them utterly worthless (see our post here) – causing (uncompensated) losses to that community worth a whole lot more than the £50,000 it spent on its MET mast.
And rich too is the developer’s line that: “The health and safety implications of this targeted act of vandalism are of serious concern, as an uncontrolled falling mast could have resulted in loss of life”.
Not bad from an industry that’s quite happy to spear its 160m high turbines within a few hundred metres of residential homes and even closer to roads; notwithstanding their frequent habit of flinging 50-60m blades (weighing 10 tonnes or more) – or parts thereof – up to a mile (1.6km) in what are euphemistically called “blade throw” or “component liberation” events (see our post here). And see this article.
Some might call what happened at Greenock “malicious property damage” but – with the threat of sonic torture, smashed property values and the risk of death from “uncontrolled flying blades” – from the developer’s potential victims’ viewpoint – it could equally earn the tag of community “self-defence”.
Mind you, if it were done by intellectual infants from the hard-green-left it would be readily excused as “exuberant political activism”: think of the wanton destruction that was part and parcel of the anti-WTO riots in Seattle.
Mindless destruction of property by anti-capitalists gets the tick of approval among left-wing nutjobs – provided the property being destroyed belongs to McDonalds, Starbucks or Nike – even though the perpetrators never face any direct threat from their victims – unless the risk of choking on a Big Mac counts as a threat.
While the wind farm developer at Greenock is keen to play up the safety risk attached to the locals’ “uncontrolled” dropping of its MET mast, that act may well have saved a life or two.
Ag Plane Crash Leads to $6.7 Million Wrongful Death Verdict
25 September 2014
When Steve Allen, a highly respected Northern California ag pilot with 26,000 accident free hours, crashed his Rockwell S-2R into a whisper-thin, barely visible galvanized steel wind observation tower on January 11, 2011, a dark and sickening secret about personal greed and avarice was exposed for all the world to see.
The $6.7 million wrongful death settlement the aviator’s family was awarded this month will hopefully help ensure other similar tragedies won’t happen in the future.
The tower, measuring just inches under 200 feet, was hastily erected in 2009 by wind energy interests “prospecting” for the perfect site for a new wind farm in Contra Costa County east of San Francisco. The odd height of the tower is central to the case — any tower under 200 feet doesn’t need to be lighted or reported to the FAA. But because these towers can pop up almost anywhere and are nearly impossible to see in flight, they pose a special danger to aerial application aircraft.
Allen, 58, was spreading winter wheat for a local farm when he flew his single-engine turboprop into the unlit, unmarked tower. According to the National Transportation Safety Board accident report, the pilot was never told about its existence and never saw it.
The meteorological evaluation towers, known as METs and equipped with small anemometers, have been cropping up all across the country as investors seek to cash in on the wind energy craze. By keeping them just below 200 feet, wind farm entrepreneurs save the money, time and hassle of registering them with the FAA — while putting ag pilot’s lives at risk.
“No amount of money is ever going to compensate the Allen family for the loss of Mr. Allen,” said Roger Dreyer, the family’s lawyer. “He was an exceptional pilot, father and husband. We can only hope that those individuals in the wind industry, agricultural field and those who manufacture and install these MET towers understand that their failure to mark them adequately with lights and obstruction warning devices puts aviators, like Mr. Allen, at risk of losing their lives when there is absolutely no reason for taking that risk.”
3 thoughts on “MET Mast Mayhem: Scots Use Guerrilla Tactics to Stop These Things”
Should be dropping the big ones. The only thing is, you may need something better then bolt cutters.
This does not surprise me to hear stories of people finally resorting to taking the law into their own hands. When people are backed into a corner they will strike back. Their rights have been destroyed by greedy Wind developers assisted by the ever so willing Planning departments through Government Policy. And all for the “cult” of Climate Change.
Yes a cleaner Planet is a good thing. But not at any cost especially when we could be planting more trees, eating less meat, using the car less or better still, building the Very Fast Train.
On the subject of MET masts vs aviation, a proponent of wind power in Southwest Victoria wants to build a Wind Farm right under the western flight path into Warrnambool airport. Despite being advised not by the powers that be, they have gone ahead and erected a MET mast anyway! The sheer arrogance of these people never ceases to amaze me. The same situation has been proposed by Synergy Wind under the western fight path into nearby Portland airport. I hope that somebody has had the presence of mind to update the pilots flying in to Warrnambool. Visibility can be pretty low at times down this way and the weather can get pretty wild. So wild in fact that even the Wind Turbines shut down!
Wanton destruction should not be condoned, but is it wanton when people are fighting to save their environments, health and livelihoods?
When big money moves into an area and bullies and or lies its way into people’s lives confrontation and hostilities are going to occur.
Not everyone will succumb to the bribes and misinformation, people today are educated, able to read and assess things for themselves.
While this is an inconvenience for big money ‘developers’ and those who support them they will just have to accept that they cannot bully or buy their way into everyone’s lives, they will have to accept that people will do whatever they have to, to protect their families and environments.
If this means taking action to forestall or thwart ‘developers’ advances can that be deemed wrong or a case of people taking a stand and saying enough is enough go away and do not come back.
Carefully dropping MET’s is less dangerous than having a turbine collapse, blades disintegrate, and allowing torturous noise to endanger the lives of those living nearby.
The wanton destruction of habitats, environments and lives costs more financially, socially and ecologically. So shouldn’t those promoting this be considered dangerous and subjected to having their plans intensively investigated and the ‘developers’ held to account in the courts?
After all impacts of noise on human beings can be considered torture.