Top Acoustics Professor Calls for Full Compensation for Wind Farm Victims, as Council Calls for “National Noise Cops”

John Madigan

Senate Inquiry Chair, John Madigan takes his team on the road.

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The Australian Senate Inquiry into the great wind power fraud hits the road tomorrow, 30 March – starting at Portland, Victoria (in the TAFE campus on Hurd Street from 8.30am) – the town next door to Pacific Hydro’s Cape Bridgewater disaster.

The hearing gives long-suffering residents there – and from elsewhere – a chance to hear Steven Cooper give an exposition on the findings of his groundbreaking study (see our posts here and here and here); it’s also the first opportunity for wind farm victims to lay out in tragic detail their misery and suffering before the Inquiry: a public forum, where sharks like Pac Hydro can’t – despite its best efforts to date – cover up its shameful conduct any longer.

Note that the opportunity to make submissions to the Inquiry has been extended to 4 May (as we’ll detail further below).

The Inquiry also provides the first and best opportunity to address the criminal manner in which the wind industry, and those that aid and abet it have trashed the ability of people to sleep in their own homes.

The wind industry and its institutional accomplices – particularly, the Clean Energy Regulator (see our post here), state and local government authorities, EPAs, etc – continue to ride roughshod over peoples’ common law rights to live in, use and otherwise enjoy their homes and properties: homes that, in far too many cases, have become worthless and un-liveable, due to “planning rules” that are so lax as to be risible.

Faced with the very real threat of fronting up to litigation – where liability in favour of the victims is – thanks to Cooper’s work – a virtual ‘slam dunk’, the local Glenelg Shire Council has gone into damage control.

The Council now wants a “publicly-accessible register established for all complaints against wind farms and an independent authority to enforce compliance of standards” (as detailed in the story from The Standard below).

Now that little suggestion – clearly aimed at legal tail-covering, and, no doubt, the result of a prod from the Council’s insurer – leads to the very sensible idea of having a “National Industrial Noise Authority” (for the purposes of this post, let’s call them, the “National Noise Cops”).

Police_Data_Terminal

Looks like another code three-twelve over at Cape Bridgewater, let’s roll!

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The National Noise Cops should be given the power, resources and authority to do for wind farm victims precisely what Councils, State and Federal governments have manifestly failed to do: namely, monitor and control industrial noise sources – including industrial wind turbines – shutting down those sources when they interfere with peoples’ common law rights to live in and enjoy their own homes; and to penalise the offenders when they refuse to follow the Noise Cops’ orders and directions.

Here’s The Standard setting out the Glenelg Shire Council’s response to its little legal-liability-epiphany.

Glenelg Shire Council seeks complaints register for wind farms
The Standard
Peter Collins
27 March 2015

GLENELG Shire Council wants a publicly-accessible register established for all complaints against wind farms and an independent authority to enforce compliance of standards.

In its submission to next Monday’s hearing in Portland of a Senate committee, the shire says there is considerable community fatigue and frustration around regulation of the industry.

“Council perceives this and the lack of community confidence in the regulation as a major concern,” shire planning and economic development manager Stephen Kerrigan wrote.

Seventeen of the 140 submissions lodged with the select committee on wind turbines will be heard at the Portland hearing in the TAFE campus on Hurd Street from 8.30am.

Another five local business and community members have also been listed to give evidence.

The committee, chaired by Senator John Madigan of Ballarat, is due to hand down its report by June 24.

Acoustics expert Steven Cooper will be first off the blocks with a summary of his report which found trends linked to sensations reported by residents living near the Cape Bridgewater wind farm.

He will be followed by Pacific Hydro which commissioned him for the landmark study in response to ongoing complaints from residents.

The shire council said it was also concerned about lack of credible information on health impacts of wind farms and suggested the National Health and Medical Research Council undertake an “expedited authoritative study” into the issue.

Mr Kerrigan noted recent work by the Municipal Association of Victoria in brokering an agreement with the Environment Protection Authority for auditors to provide monitoring and compliance services to councils and the wind power industry.

The council highlighted “significant” economic and social benefits from construction and operation of wind farms plus the detrimental effect on jobs caused by uncertainty on the renewable energy target.

About 100 jobs were cut from the workforce at Portland’s Keppel Prince, which was a major manufacturer of wind farm components.

Concern about the state government’s handing back responsibility to councils for issuing, enforcement and compliance of wind farm planning permits will also be aired.

“In closing, Glenelg Shire Council supports policies and processes which promote deployment of renewable energy projects, the attraction of clean energy investment and creation of jobs within the shire without posing undue risk to the health and wellbeing of its residents and ratepayers,” Mr Kerrigan said.
The Standard

Before we pick up again on the theme of noise standards and the National Noise Cops, STT can’t help but notice the drivel pitched up about “clean energy investment and creation of jobs”.

Germany, the world “leader”, when it comes to throwing billions in subsidies at wind power, has shown the wind industry’s argument about creating thousands of groovy, “green” jobs to be nothing more than a complete fiction (see our post here).

In Portland, Keppel Prince moans about the “loss” of 100 jobs due to uncertainty over the LRET. These boys clearly want to have their cake and eat it too. Its continued operation critically depends upon the life and longevity of the local aluminium smelter: if the smelter goes, Keppel Prince is finished.

And despite Keppel Prince bleating about “uncertainty” over the Renewable Energy Target, the continuation of the LRET guarantees (as a legislated fact) that the cost of electricity will go through the roof in the next four years, as an absolute “certainty”.

The LRET will add $50 billion in REC Tax/Subsidy to all Australian power bills: a whopping subsidy, designed to be directed to wind power outfits (see our post here). As a consequence of that $50 billion Federal Tax on electricity, mineral processors, like aluminium smelters will go the way of the Tasmanian Tiger – and with them, something like 4,500 REAL jobs (those directly employed by smelters) – and a further 12-13,000 REAL jobs in the wider aluminium industry (see our posts here and here and here).

And, when the LRET inevitably smashes Australia’s mineral processors across the Country, its “collateral damage” will include every metal basher that builds and engineers the machinery and equipment they use: eg, engineers and metal fabricators that serve aluminium smelters, just like Keppel Prince. What’s that they say about being destroyed by greed and stupidity?

Now, back to Glenelg Shire Council’s talk about noise “standards” and an independent body to enforce them. The first, and most obvious point, is that the current “standards” were written by the wind industry; and deliberately designed to bury the real problem – incessant low-frequency noise and infrasound – a problem the wind industry has known about for over 30 years (see our post here).

It’s a problem which Steven Cooper’s Cape Bridgewater study has simply confirmed – according to America’s top acoustic experts, Dr Paul Schomer and George Hessler – the data gathered by Cooper itself proves the relationship between adverse health effects and turbine generated noise and vibration (see our post here).

And that work is backed up by top quality field research done last year by Professor Colin Hansen – and his team from Adelaide University at Waterloo – showing high-levels of turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound inside homes up to 8.7km from turbines (see our post here).

That work simply highlights the need for standards that actually take into account incessant low-frequency noise and infrasound; unlike the South Australian EPA’s farcical claim that “modern wind farms” don’t produce infrasound at all (see our post here).

Colin Hansen – easily the best-qualified and most respected Australian academic when it comes to noise and vibration – has pitched in with an offer to bring his immense skills to the task of elaborating on the precise cause of the sensations and symptoms suffered by victims (ie, the particular levels and frequencies generated). But it’s his utterly sensible call for full compensation for those victims – that appears in this piece from The Australian’s Graham Lloyd – that we’ll pick up on in a moment.

Call to subject others to wind farm noise
The Australian
Graham Lloyd
26 March 2015

Recordings of infrasound and low-frequency noise from wind turbines should be played into the bedrooms of random rural residents to investigate health concerns, a senior acoustics academic says.

Emeritus professor Colin Hansen from the University of Adelaide says testing should be conducted on people who do not live near wind farms.

In a submission to a Senate inquiry next week, he says if a health concern from infrasound and low-frequency noise is proven authorities should state what level of impact or “collateral damage” is acceptable and set up a compensation fund to buy out affected residents.

Professor Hansen was a peer reviewer of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s review of the health impacts of wind farms.

Some residents living near wind turbines across the world have complained of sleep disturbance and other seasickness-type symptoms.

The council said it would support research that addressed the relationship between wind-farm noise and health effects.

It would also fund research into the broader social and environmental circumstances that influence annoyance, sleep disturbance, quality of life and health effects that are reported by residents living in proximity to wind farms.

The call for research follows the recent council statement concluding the body of direct evidence on wind farms and health was small and of poor quality.

“Internationally, there is little research evidence regarding the health effects of wind farms,” the council said.

“Over 4000 papers were identified in the reviews and, of these papers, only 13 studies were found that considered possible ­relationships between wind-farm emissions and health outcomes.

“Only one of these studies was conducted in Australia.”

The council expert group that oversaw the review identified areas for further research.

The review did not include results from what has been called a breakthrough study by acoustics expert Steven Cooper at the Cape Bridgewater wind farm.

Mr Cooper will be the first witness to address the Senate inquiry when it meets in Portland next week.

US acoustics expert Paul Schomer told the inquiry in a submission that the Cooper study “shows that wind turbine emissions affect some people independently of them seeing turbines, hearing turbines, or feeling vibrations from turbines”.

“We, the entire world, desperately need proper, valid research to determine what effects wind turbine emissions have on people,” Dr Schomer said.

Pacific Hydro, which funded the Cooper study, has said it did not accept that a “cause and effect” relationship between wind farms and health impacts on nearby residents had been established by the Cooper research.

But Mr Cooper said his study had provided a methodology for full-scale medical trials.

Professor Hansen said recordings played to residents living a long way from wind farms could help determine what parts of the noise spectrum cause the most annoyance and adverse effects on people.

They could help determine what physical mechanisms were responsible for the undesirable noise components by theoretical analysis, laboratory experiments and on-site measurements, he said.

And they could help determine what changes to turbine design and wind farm layout could be made to minimise the generation of the undesirable noise components.
The Australian

While victims could bring those responsible to account in private litigation, STT begs the poser: why should the victims of a government sponsored subsidy scheme have to pay upfront to be compensated for their inevitable suffering and losses?

The wind industry exists (and only exists) by reason of the Large-Scale RET and the REC Tax/Subsidy directed to wind power generators under it – and paid for by ALL Australian electricity consumers, including those with homes and properties adjacent to wind farms (see our posts here and here).

As the beneficiaries of what Liberal MP – Angus “the Enforcer” Taylor properly describes as “corporate welfare on steroids”, mandating that the wind industry fully compensate wind farm neighbours for all of their losses seems only fair.

At the Federal level, Australia is all about compensation: whether it’s Centrelink, a National Disability Insurance Scheme or a national healthcare scheme (ie Medicare), the Federal government has no trouble at all forcing taxpayers to cough up and ensure that those without, or who have suffered some of the bad luck dished up by daily life, get compensated.

In the same vein, the wind industry has already pocketed something like $9 billion worth of REC Tax/Subsidies – and is lining up for a further $50 billion of the same under the LRET: “compensation” for producing “renewable” energy that they hope to gleefully pocket at power consumers’ expense.

The wind industry’s victims have, therefore, been belted twice: once through their power bills, paying for the subsidies that resulted in the giant fans speared into their backyards; and again, through their personal loss and suffering, and the economic loss of the value of their (often unliveable and/or worthless) homes and properties.

The wind industry and its parasites were pretty quick to set the ‘rules’ in a way that means wind power outfits can operate around the clock, without any regard for the harm caused (eg, sleep deprivation) – ‘rules’ maliciously designed to discriminate against wind farm neighbours.

These are the boys who have sought to evade and avoid any kind of reasonable controls on their operations.

From the outset, they’ve made every effort to ensure that irrelevant and, therefore, woefully inadequate noise standards were adopted and are maintained – for a chronology of wind industry deception on this score, see our post: Three Decades of Wind Industry Deception: A Chronology of a Global Conspiracy of Silence and Subterfuge.

And these boys have doggedly refused to cooperate whenever victims are trying to impose even those woeful standards; and who now – like the Clean Energy Council and the Australian Wind Alliance – are quick to pooh-pooh Steven Cooper’s study on obviously spurious grounds; and who will fight tooth-and-nail to prevent any possibility of the same thing ever happening again.

So, it seems only fair that wind power outfits – who benefit from the largest single industry subsidy scheme in the history of the Commonwealth – see some of the value of the REC Tax/Subsidy (that they would otherwise keep for themselves) get siphoned off to compensate those whose lives and interests they’ve bent over backwards to destroy.

It also seems more than fair and reasonable to have the Federal Government establish, and properly fund, a body (the National Industrial Noise Authority, discussed above) that will enforce a uniform industrial noise standard – carefully designed by people like Colin Hansen and Steven Cooper – at wind farms; and ALL other industrial operations.

This body, and its rules, should not be allowed to distinguish between noise sources; so that a Coal-Seam-Gas Plant or Gas Turbine Power Generator will be subject to the same standard, rules of operation and penalties as wind farm operators, which – unlike many other noise sources, like airports and live music venues – currently operate around the clock, with complete impunity. And, worse, with the complete endorsement of State “regulators”, like the South Australian EPA that runs in lockstep with the wind industry’s pet acoustic consultants, who, rather helpfully, wrote the “standards”, which the EPA happily fails to enforce (see our post here).

This is not just about setting up another regulator; it’s about overcoming institutional corruption and systemic regulatory failure, in order to ensure that the long-standing, common law rights of Australian citizens’ to live in, use and enjoy their homes and properties are protected and preserved. The people of this Country of ours deserve nothing less; wherever they live; and whatever the noise source (see our post here).

Remember, governments set this mess up in the first place; and, therefore, it is well within their power to clean it up and put things right.

And now is the hour.

Fortunately, all these matters and more are on the radar and squarely in the sights of the Senate Select Committee, its terms of reference including the following:

(1) That a select committee, to be known as the Select Committee on Wind Turbines be established to inquire into and report on the application of regulatory governance and economic impact of wind turbines by 24 June 2015, with particular reference to:

(b) how effective the Clean Energy Regulator is in performing its legislative responsibilities and whether there is a need to broaden those responsibilities;

(c) the role and capacity of the National Health and Medical Research Council in providing guidance to state and territory authorities;

(d) the implementation of planning processes in relation to wind farms, including the level of information available to prospective wind farm hosts;

(e) the adequacy of monitoring and compliance governance of wind farms;

(f) the application and integrity of national wind farm guidelines;

(i) any related matter.

If, like those unfortunates at Cape Bridgewater, you are suffering from, or are threatened by, turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound – then you’ve got chance to have your say on:

  • the ‘standards’ and planning ‘controls’ that are so lax as to be risible;
  • the callous conduct of wind power outfits, like Pac Hydro & Co;
  • the institutional corruption that not only permits, but which actively defends that conduct;
  • the losses you have suffered, or are likely to suffer, as a result of the above;
  • why there should be mandatory compensation payable to wind farm neighbours for all such losses (incurred or anticipated) caused by wind power generators; and
  • that the compensation payable should come from a fund set-up through a mandatory levy placed on the RECs received by all wind power generators;
  • the need for, and merits of, establishing a properly funded National Industrial Noise Authority to protect common law property rights; and
  • the need for a proper standard for that body to enforce – a standard that actually protects peoples’ common law rights to sleep in, and otherwise enjoy, their homes.

So why not get in there and hammer them, by dropping a detailed submission to the Senate Inquiry along those lines?

Note that the opportunity to make submissions to the Committee ends on 4 May 2015. See the link here.

Prof Colin Hansen

Professor Colin Hansen: time for wind power outfits to open their cheque books, and pay full-tote-odds to get their victims out of harms’ way.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. PORTLAND INDEED PAYS A CRUEL PRICE FOR THE “GREEN” JOBS MIRAGE.
    Keppel Prince announced late last year that it would close its wind division with the loss of 100 jobs, a cruel blow to those who lost their jobs. On the Keppel Prince web site, the company describes its capabilities thus: “Keppel Prince Engineering specialises in the construction, fabrication and maintenance of industrial structures and equipment offering end-to-end solutions across a broad range of industries.”

    Since the Victorian, Bracks Labor government long ago embraced policies pandering to the Green Left in order to shore-up failing electoral support, we have seen a succession of ill-considered, empty promises of “Green jobs”. Sadly these jobs were never going to be sustainable or enduring, in fact they were never anything more than “smoke and mirrors”, utterly dependent on ongoing high cost subsidies. This was how Victoria came to be suckered into supporting wind projects with promises such as this one from 2004:

    The Age July 7, 2004 – 12:30PM

    Victorian Premier Steve Bracks announced the opening of Australia’s largest wind farm project and the construction of a new wind turbine blade factory in Portland, southwest Victoria.

    Speaking from Portland, Mr Bracks said the $270 million investment by Australia’s biggest private sector wind power operator, Pacific Hydro Ltd and the $9 million investment by Danish blade manufacturing company Vestas would create more than 400 jobs in the regional centre.

    The 195 megawatt (MW) Portland Wind Energy Project features 120 wind turbines on four sites around Portland at Cape Bridgewater, Cape Nelson, Cape Sir William Grant and Yambuk.” (My emphasis)

    ​Premier Steve Bracks was pictured at the time, here, with Keppel Prince Engineering manager
    Steve Garner (far left) and representatives from Pacific Hydro and Vestas (2004)

    But then, just three years later, we read:

    “Sarah Wotherspoon, Herald Sun August 23, 2007

    A MAJOR international wind turbine manufacturer will close its Victorian plant at the end of the year, saying Australia’s renewable energy sector was not a viable investment.

    About 130 jobs will go when Vestas Blades Australia closes its Portland factory in December, 2 1/2 years after it opened.

    Vestas Asia-Pacific senior vice-president Jorn Hammer said the Portland venture was no longer profitable.

    “It’s not viable for us to make further investments in the Australian market . . . we don’t see the market as big enough in Australia to justify the expense,” he said.

    “When we committed to build the factory we believed there was support for the wind industry in Australia, and that has not come through to the extent we anticipated.”” (My emphasis)

    In more recent times Keppel Prince also had its expectations of participating in another local renewable power project dashed when the proponent Victorian Wave Partners shelved the project. Keppel Prince had hoped to build power buoys for a proposed $230 million wave power project which had promised 300 construction jobs:

    Sean McComish, The Standard July 17, 2014

    Plans to build the world’s largest wave power project in Portland have been scrapped.

    The $230 million bid to harness the ocean’s currents was dumped this week by Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) and its subsidiary Victorian Wave Partners.

    South-west leaders have expressed disappointment at the move, which could have injected millions of dollars in to the local economy.”

    Local Portland Liberal MP Denis Napthine, the former State Premier, has shown himself to be a big fan of subsidised wind turbines, at the opening of the large Macarthur Wind Farm located in his electorate he was moved to comment:

    I think they (the turbines) are absolutely fantastic

    However, as STT has pointed out previously, when approached by rural residents whose health is suffering as a result of exposure to low frequency noise and infra-sound produced by the turbines of that very same Macarthur Wind Farm, Denis Napthine’s sneering response reportedly was:

    “Who are you going to vote for? Labour or the Greens? Then you’ll just get more turbines all over the place.”

    So with “friends” like the current Daniel Andrews, CFMEU/Green cosy Labor state government (the Andrews government has just cut back the required 2 km setback between wind turbines and residences to 1 km) and a local member who gets all doe-eyed at the sight of wind turbines, it’s quite on the cards the good folk of Portland will be taunted yet again with the mirage of “green” jobs for all. You’d think with the passing parade of failed “green” job schemes the penny might just have dropped by now with dopey Victorian politicians. Collectively they seem incapable of grasping that international research clearly shows that each subsidised “green” job kills between 2 and 3 jobs in the real (unsubsidised) economy for every subsidised “green” job created.

    • I understand the Vestas blades factory in Portland shipped those blades to the US ie they were not used in Australia yet were generously subsidised by Australian taxpayers for use in Australia.

      Looks like a standard international wind rort to me.

  2. ‘corporate welfare on steroids’? Angus is being kind

    More like ‘corporate welfare on ice’.

    The self aggrandisement, aggressive disruption of rural communities and bullying and personal smearing of people raising legitimate concerns are all hallmarks of an addiction to wind subsidies akin to the malevolent violence of amphetamine addiction. And they will do anything they can, including breaking the law, to get their subsidy fix.

    The withdrawal symptoms have only just started.

  3. Rural Ontario victims in Canada deserve full compensation as well. Better still, let’s also get rid of these things completely!

  4. It is about time that the windweasel grubs were brought to account, and we will see what big crying babies they are. They will spit the dummy big time.

  5. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

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