Pacific Hydro’s Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm Nightmare Unfolds as Senate Inquiry Hits Portland

For Pacific Hydro & the Wind Industry, the fall-out continues …


The Australian Senate Inquiry into the great wind power fraud kicked off last Monday, 30 March.

And, fitting it was, that this band of merry men – Queensland National Senator, Matthew Canavan, WA Liberal, Chris Back, independents Nick Xenophon and John Madigan, Liberal Democrat, David Leyonhjelm, Family First Senator, Bob Day (and one, not-so-happy, Labor women, and wind power fraud apologist), Tasmanian ALP Senator, Anne Urquhart – set to work taking the lid off the wind industry’s “stinky pot”, at Portland, Victoria: the town next door to Pacific Hydro’s Cape Bridgewater disaster.

The hall was packed with people from threatened communities from all over Victoria and South Australia; and long-suffering wind farm neighbours from there – and from elsewhere – keen to hear Steven Cooper’s exposition on the findings of his groundbreaking study (see our posts here and here and here).

The hearing was the first opportunity for wind farm victims to lay out, in tragic detail, their misery and suffering before the Inquiry; and, despite efforts by Pac Hydro to derail the Inquiry by loading it with patsies and ‘friendlies’, the victims’ stories were heard, loud and clear.

Here’s local rag, The Standard’s take on that part of the proceedings.

Wind turbines hell to live near, residents tell Portland hearing
Everard Himmelreich
The Standard
1 April 2015

LIFE near turbines is hell, according to a panel of south-west property owners who have battled against wind farms for the best part of a decade.

Several wind farm opponents expressed their anguish and frustration with energy companies to the Select Committee on Turbines which was instigated by crossbench senators six months ago to examine the renewable energy source.

The panel held its first hearing in Portland this week and senators met with farmers and other property owners concerned about the health impacts of living near wind turbines.

Glenthompson residents Bill and Sandy Rogerson addressed the committee about their concerns regarding their personal health and the well-being of their livestock.

“There is a real need for all wind turbines to be shut down at night across Australia,” Mr Rogerson told the senate panel. “Within months of the wind turbines operating near our farm, we both experienced health problems.

“The number of deformed lambs increased over the period of the wind farm operating near our property. The lambing rate in our merino stock decreased to a rate of 37 per cent from 85 per cent prior to the wind farms being established.”

Macarthur artist Jan Hetherington told the panel she had suffered a range of ailments due to a nearby wind farm, resulting in a loss of income.

“The Victorian Planning Department and the Victorian Health Department have failed us,” she said.

“There needs to be proper research (into the impact of turbines) and this research needs to be conducted in the field, not behind some desk in downtown Melbourne.”

Derrinallum farmer Hamish Cumming addressed the senate panel about his research regarding the impact of wind turbines on native birdlife.

He said the level of community disenchantment with wind farms was understated.

“There was a survey a few months ago in a NSW newspaper and another at the same time in a northern Victorian newspaper and they both found that roughly 80 per cent of those who responded were against wind farms in their area,” Mr Cumming said.

“The wind farm companies put this message out there that everything is rosy in the south-west, that the majority of farmers support wind farms when they know that is not the case.”

Retired station manager John Pollard, his wife Robyn, Macarthur farmer Annie Gardner and Southern Grampians Landscape Guardians president Keith Staff also appeared before the select committee.
The Standard

Keith staff
Maureen and Keith “Bulldog” Staff: at the barricades, Canberra, June 2013.


Keith “Bulldog” Staff, dug in against Senator Urquhaut’s nit-picking and gave as good as he got; as did numerous wind farm victims from across Victoria.

But the standout performance was given by STT Champion, Hamish Cumming, during Anne Urquhart’s attempt to grill him about bird fatalities recorded at AGL’s Macarthur, bird slaughterhouse and elsewhere (see our post here).

Hamish has fought tooth and nail for years to protect and prevent his beloved, and critically endangered, Brolgas from being sliced, diced and belted to kingdom come by giant fans (see our posts here and here).

Hamish Cumming: not to be underestimated.


As Hamish laid out the scale and scope of the slaughter at Macarthur in graphic detail – using AGL’s own data, funnily enough – Urquhart piped up with the usual “defence” to wind turbine bird slaughter, about more birds being killed flying into tall buildings, hitting cars or being eaten by cats.

Hamish came back swinging, telling the Inquiry that in all of his years he’d never seen an eagle or Brolga killed by a car or a building; and that he’d never seen an eagle or Brolga taken by a “kitty”, either.

Urquhart also opened up the bogus wind industry claim about wind power reducing CO2 emissions in the electricity sector – the, apparent, “justification” for the wind industry’s rampant bird and bat slaughter; and came off like she’d gone 9 rounds with Muhammad Ali.

If you’re stepping into the ring, it pays to know your opponent.


Hamish, these days a farmer and grazier, was a mechanical engineer with 20 years international experience; and knows as much as there is to know about power grids, power plants and how they operate in reality; and, as a result, how utterly unreliable and intermittent wind power increases CO2 emissions. Oops! Hamish has been ‘switched-on’ and belting that myth for years (see our post here).

The Hansard (transcript) of Hamish’s cracking effort – and those of the others who appeared – should be available soon; we’ll be popping up the evidence given as it comes to hand.

In the meantime, here’s another wrap-up on the wind industry’s “hearing from Hell” by The Standard.

Wind farm projects a burden on south-west councils says Senate inquiry
The Standard
Alex Sinnott
31 March 2015

COUNCILS have been unfairly burdened with handling wind farm projects after higher levels of government handballed responsibility, the head of a Senate inquiry has claimed.

A panel of some of Australia’s best-known senators took part in a public hearing on wind turbines in Portland yesterday, with dozens of witnesses called.

Independent senator John Madigan led the inquiry and said the huge volume of complaints and criticism regarding south-west wind farms was a large burden for local government to carry.

He said state and federal governments should have been more involved in the planning of many of the region’s wind farms, given the scale and impact of such projects.

“One of the key points I’ve found is that local government is seriously under-resourced and that isn’t just contained to one council,” Senator Madigan said.

“Local councils are having to deal with economic development on a large scale when it comes to wind farms yet they’re not given the funding and the staff to cope with these massive projects.

“When you stretch resources like that, obviously, issues such as the ones that have been discussed today are going to occur and that’s not good enough.”

Officials from Glenelg, Ararat and Pyrenees shires made presentations at yesterday’s hearing at South West TAFE’s Portland campus.

It was the first session of the Select Committee on Turbines which was established by crossbench senators six months ago to investigate the renewable energy source.

Aside from Senator Madigan, other members of the panel include senators David Leyonhjelm (Liberal Democratic), Matthew Canavan (Nationals), Anne Urquhart (Labor), Chris Back (Liberals) and Bob Day (Family First). Independent senator Nick Xenophon was also part of yesterday’s hearing via telephone from his Adelaide office.

Senator Canavan said the inquiry highlighted the depth of concern within south-west communities located close to wind farms.

“Social views and scientific understanding is forever evolving and wind farms aren’t exempt,” the Queensland senator said. “I use the example of sunlight and UV radiation. A generation ago, people would go to the beach, get sunburnt and think that was healthy. Our views on the impact of sunlight have changed and I think the same is occurring for sound. Just because it can’t be heard audibly does not mean that it isn’t doing damage.”

Other witnesses who spoke to the panel included engineer Steven Cooper, Pacific Hydro representative Andrew Richards, Penshurst resident Keith Staff, Macarthur artist Jan Hetherington, Darlington farmer Hamish Cumming and Macarthur farmer Annie Gardner among others.

Moyne Shire councillor Jim Doukas said there had long been a lack of transparency around wind farm developments and the impact on nearby residents.

“The senators have really done their homework,” Cr Doukas said. “On the other side, some of the wind farm companies didn’t bother to show up and the ones that did were not very clear in the message they were trying to get across.”
The Standard

Nice work there, from Jim Doukas. Jim’s one of the very few councillors from western Victoria that hasn’t signed up as a spruiker for the great wind power fraud. To the contrary; he gets it; and goes in hard (see our post here).

jim doukas
Jim Doukas: one Councillor that hasn’t
signed on to the wind industry’s pay-roll.


One of the “wind farm companies” that Jim talks about being “not very clear in the message they were trying to get across” was, of course, Pac Hydro.

During proceedings, it came up with a line that only a wind power outfit facing $millions in liability to its victims would have the need and/or audacity to use. Here’s The Australian on how – when the spotlight is turned on it – the wind industry and its spin-masters are simply spinning out of control.

Turbine study ‘not meant to be scientific’
The Australian
Rachel Baxendale
31 March 2015

The wind farm company which commissioned a recent groundbreaking study investigating links between health complaints and low-frequency noise generated by wind turbines has told a Senate committee it was “never meant to be a scientific study”.

Acoustics engineer Steven Cooper, who has advised on transport and industrial noise and vibrations in Australia, the US and Britain for more than 25 years, released his report on renewable energy company Pacific Hydro’s Cape Bridgewater wind farm, in Victoria’s southwest, in January.

The study linked sensations including sleep disturbance to wind conditions that produced acoustic results.

Despite never claiming to have medical expertise and admitting the study, which examined the experiences of six people living in three houses next to the wind farm, required replication, Mr Cooper was attacked by sections of the media including the ABC’s Media Watch.

Pacific Hydro executive manager Andrew Richards tried to downplay Mr Cooper’s findings by saying they couldn’t be considered as “scientifically rigorous”.

“To be fair to Mr Cooper, it was never meant to be a scientific study,” Mr Richards said. “It was an attempt by Pacific Hydro to understand.

“Steven was the choice of the residents to complete the study. He set up the study program, acting on the brief we gave him.”

Yesterday’s select committee into wind turbines was attended by Queensland National senator Matthew Canavan, WA Liberal Chris Back, independents Nick Xenophon and John Madigan, Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm, Family First senator Bob Day and Tasmanian ALP senator Anne Urquhart.

Senator Xenophon told Mr Richards that Mr Cooper was an acoustics expert with an international reputation.

“He’s used by the Department of Defence. I think aircraft noise around the world, the way aircraft approach runways around the world, has been influenced significantly by Mr Cooper’s work so it’s not as though you chose a layperson who has no knowledge of acoustics,” Senator Xenophon said. “So if that doesn’t give us a scientific flavour or indications in respect of health matters, then what is it?”

Mr Richards said he recognised Mr Cooper was an “acoustician of some experience”. “But the fact is, it doesn’t matter how experienced an acoustician is or what their credentials are, if the testing program wasn’t set up in a rigorous scientific method, then it can’t really claim to be a rigorous scientific report. Again, it was never meant to be,” he said.

Mr Cooper described his acoustics work as “the tail that’s wagged the dog” on the effects of wind farms on health, saying much more work needed to be done with a larger sample size and from a medical perspective.
The Australian

The demolition job performed by SA’s favourite Greek, Nick Xenophon on Pac Hydro’s Andrew Richards was something to behold; and well worth the ticket price, we’re told.

STT can’t wait to bring you the Hansard recording Nick Xenophon’s cross-examination of Richards, during which he managed to slay every nonsense and myth pitched up by Richards, including those used by Pac Hydro – the wind industry’s paid spruikers, mock-medicos and the ABC’s Ministry of Truth – to attack Cooper’s groundbreaking study – the one bought and paid for by Pac Hydro, and for which it set the limitations, not Cooper.

Nick Xenophon: slices wind industry spin like warm, Greek feta.


When Pac Hydro’s Richards blurted out that Cooper’s study “was never meant to be a scientific study”, what he meant to say is that it was always Pac Hydro’s intention that his study wouldn’t “amount to anything at all”.

In truth, appointing Cooper was a classic “bait and switch” effort, aimed at keeping a lid on residents’ complaints: where things went wrong, is that Pac Hydro had foolishly convinced itself that Cooper’s study would fail to prove a thing.

After 6 years of being bombarded with hundreds of bitter complaints from residents, Pac Hydro engaged a top-flight “community outrage” management outfit, called Futureye to slam the lid on those complaints (see our post here).

Futureye failed to quash the complaints – the victims’ seething rage and the complaints continued. No surprises there.

Pac Hydro then made a decision which runs entirely counter to everything that appears in the wind industry’s “playbook”.

Pac Hydro decided to give the residents what they wanted: agreeing to pay to engage Steven Cooper to carry out a proper noise study – and to cough up all the wind speed and turbine operational data required for that task – what’s called SCADA data.

So why did Pac Hydro do it?

STT hears that the boys from Marshall Day and Sonus – Pac Hydro’s pet acoustic consultants – took the view that Steven Cooper would never find anything; their own testing showed that the wind farm was “compliant” with the noise standard; that the infrasound produced by the turbines was the same as that produced by waves on a moonlit beach; the whole thing was like a zephyr in a thimble; and that it would all blow over soon enough – so why not let Cooper have the data and knock himself out?

Hubris can lead to destructive over-confidence; and that can easily lead the sufferer into unforced errors – just like this one. Oops!

Contrary to Pac Hydro’s continued efforts to downplay the significance of Cooper’s report – even though it’s in the public domain – Pac Hydro are still fighting like fury to keep a lid on it; and the evidence that supports it.

Although, just why Pac Hydro are trying so hard to bury the evidence –  if, as it says, the study proves nothing – is a mystery: on Pac Hydro’s case, Cooper’s data and findings don’t amount to a hill-of-beans; and should, therefore, be nothing to worry about.

Pac Hydro’s suppression shenanigans caught the attention of not only the senators during the hearing, but also STT Champion, The Australian’s, Graham Lloyd.

Senate inquisition blows away the wind farm spin
The Australian
Graham Lloyd
31 March 2015

Evidence of suppression and spin is an ominous start to a senate inquiry into Australia’s renewable energy industry that goes well beyond whether some people living in the shadow of giant windmills report feeling unwell.

This is a senate inquiry the renewable industry did not want, but independent senator John Madigan was determined to make it happen.

Portland and the Victorian coastal town of Cape Bridgewater provided a fitting backdrop for the inquiry’s first public hearing. It is where acoustics expert Steven Cooper conducted groundbreaking research for Pacific Hydro, the results of which the wind industry has been struggling to disown.

Cooper told yesterday’s senate hearing how Pacific Hydro had effectively gagged him from publishing or presenting papers on the results of his work by claiming copyright. There was also evidence that by limiting the number of participants in the Cape Bridgewater survey to six, the company had built into the research brief a ready defence to attack what Cooper had found.

The results of Cooper’s work are now out, hailed by some of the world’s most recognised acoustic peers and, thanks to the privilege afforded by parliament, the renewable energy industry tactics have been laid bare.

Cooper’s evidence provides a valuable context for when the senate inquiry gets to its core business of exploring the adequacy of wind farm monitoring and compliance.

This includes the management and oversight of billions of dollars worth of subsidies created through the Renewable Energy Target scheme.

The inquiry will probe the operations of the Clean Energy Regulator, which holds the register for renewable energy certificates, and the National Health and Medical Research Council’s appraisal of the health impact of wind farms.
The Australian

stinky pot
30 March 2015, Portland, Victoria: the day the lid
came off the wind industry’s stinky pot, for good.

11 thoughts on “Pacific Hydro’s Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm Nightmare Unfolds as Senate Inquiry Hits Portland

  1. I would like to know what forms of non carbon producing energy this group supports in order to reduce green house gases and try to tackle climate change.

    1. Thanks for your question, Joy.

      STT takes the obvious view that wind power is not a meaningful power generation source, simply because it cannot be delivered on demand, and therefore requires 100% of its capacity to be backed up 100% of the time:

      Wind Power Myths BUSTED

      As a result it will never displace, let alone replace fossil fuel generation sources:

      Why Coal Miners, Oil and Gas Producers Simply Love Wind Power

      We are in favour of any renewable power source that can be delivered on demand, such as hydro and geo-thermal:

      The Water of Life: Can the Fans and Upgrade the Dams

      The Snowy Scheme: Time to Do it Again

      Geothermal: a REAL Renewable Alternative

      We are not opposed to solar, where in remote locations it can be used to provide stand alone power on an economic basis:

      Queensland says: Time to Scrap the Renewable Energy Target

      And, if CO2 gas is the mortal threat we are repeatedly told to fear, then the only meaningful power source that can deliver reliable power at a reasonable cost without producing CO2 during generation is nuclear:

      Psst, Wanna “Save” the Planet? Then it’s Time to Go Nuclear

      Lunacy of Wind & Solar Power Policy: Political Incompetence or Conspiracy?

      Hope that’s answered your question.

  2. Why is it that anyone who has anything to do with the “Globull Warming Scam” turn out to be a bunch of Crooks, about to fleece every-one?
    Follow the Money!

  3. The product placement of wind turbines can be seen the world over in an effort to condition the masses to accept these things without question. ‘Control’ is the word that comes to mind here. The Australian Greens have fallen for it as have the Friends of the Earth. And schools and social groups have also been drawn in through community funding from the wind developers. Well now the truth is out thanks to the latest Senate Inquiry.

    This is a scam!

    This industry has taken a design that is known to produce infrasound and made it bigger! A design that to my eyes seems to bear more than a passing resemblance to the propellor of a World War II bomber! Coincidence?

    Yes a cleaner planet is a good thing. But ‘BIG WIND’ is not the answer. For a start it cannot ever hope to keep up with global population growth.

    And one final point. Labour may have won the recent Victorian State Election. But for the seats of Ripon and the Southwest who already have Wind Turbines…well, they voted Liberal!

    ‘Big Wind’ is on the nose.

  4. It was clear that L Ewbank was sitting at the back of the room
    at Portland with his little laptop, “feeding” Urquhart questions,
    direct to her little laptop! How pathetic?

    Clearly the wind industry and their cohorts are in panic mode.

    Lets all take it right up to them. Don’t give in for one second to
    their ignorant, bully boy tactics.

  5. Richards! The lid is off the stinky pot and it’s gone, never to be found again. All you windy grubs are left out in the open wide space now, without a thing to cover yourselves.

    Windweasels thought they would just keep pulling the wool over our eyes, and getting away with it forever. They were going to be found out one day, and the day has come.

    When Steven Cooper swam out into the pond (the swan story, hey) with all the other accoustic people, like Marshall Day and Sonus, you thought he would be the same.

    Steven is a real professional accoustician that does what it takes to get to the real facts. Windweasels like PAC-HYDRO, AGL and the rest thought you all could fool us forever, not so. This is why they’re all are running around like chooks with their heads cut off now.

    D-Day is here now.

  6. The day at Portland was a day which the IWT industry and its adherents will remember for a very long time.

    Senator Urquhart’s attempts to discredit Steven Cooper, Hamish Cummings and others simply resulted in discrediting herself.

    If she had listened to the evidence being presented, she would have learnt more and been able to ask relevant and worthwhile questions; rather than those she was reading on her little computer, where her attention was focused.

    The Pac Hyrdo representative Andrew Richards, would have done better had he made some attempt to know what was expected of him. And if he had taken time to understand the company he was representing; and the effects reported by those suffering, as a result of that company’s actions.

    Instead, he came across as a lead-footed parrot, repeating unsubstantiated rubbish, he’s no doubt read in the company’s propaganda packages.

    Well done everyone who laid bare their concerns, well done Keith, who Urquhart tried, but failed to ‘trip up’ with questions (completely irrelevant to the Inquiry) about his knowledge of the operator(s) of STT.

    To have questioned him on STT just shows what an impact you are having.

    Labor, and the others she was there representing, like the Friends of the Earth, are obviously in a panic and completely bamboozled by you STT.

    The Portland hearing appears to have opened the eyes of some who had kept them shut for fear of being called names by the industry and its spruikers or for other reasons.

    The inquiry’s terms of reference have sent this industry’s miserable cohorts into such a vortex of fear they are trying to think and find a way through the maelstrom of their twisted lies.

    They are learning that there’s no way out of their own, self created pit of lies.

  7. The ‘blowtorch’ has been ignited and turned on the ‘hypocrisy’ ‘lies’ and ‘misinformation’ that characterises the wind turbine industry.

    It’s now time to turn the heat up!

    This inquiry should not stop until all the ‘facts’ get a good hearing: from the totally compromised reference group of the NHMRC; to the complicity of the Clean Energy Regulator; AEMO and the AEMC; the CSIRO; universities and fundamentalist ‘greenies’; and union body’s committee meeting minutes, noting how to transfer the nation’s wealth to them by cashing in on subsidies.

    June will be too early to compile the full story.

    Meanwhile, this senate committee hearing deserves every support, from every citizen ever impacted by the physical manifestation of this massive scam; and all those who can see the reality that fantasists, such as NSW’s new Planning Minister, cannot and will not.

    We are all indebted, so far, to those who have stood up and been counted at the Portland hearing.

  8. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak and commented:
    The hearing was the first opportunity for wind farm victims to lay out, in tragic detail, their misery and suffering before the Inquiry; and, despite efforts by Pac Hydro to derail the Inquiry by loading it with patsies and ‘friendlies’, the victims’ stories were heard, loud and clear.

  9. Pac Hydro are Streisand fans!

    Their favorites include:

    The Way We Were

    How Deep is the (Pac Hydro) Ocean

    No More Tears

    Send in the Clowns

    What Kind of Fool (featuring the PacH Ensemble)

    Don’t Rain on my Parade

    Some Day my Prince Will Come is not on the Hydro list as they consider it refers to Mr Cooper.

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