Pacific Hydro & Acciona’s Acoustic ‘Consultant’ Fakes ‘Compliance’ Reports for Non-Compliant Wind Farms

Definition of fraud

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Victorian Senator – and STT Champion – John Madigan delivered the speech-of-a-lifetime in the Federal Senate this week, recorded in the video and Hansard (transcript) below. What John reveals is nothing short of criminal, as we detail later in the post.

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SENATE
Hansard
TUESDAY, 15 SEPTEMBER 2015

Senator MADIGAN: Firstly, I seek leave to table a document, and it was disclosed to all the whips earlier today.

Leave granted.

Tonight I speak about corruption and fraud in the power generation industry.

The Senate Wind Turbine Inquiry’s final report made 15 important recommendations. Today, I rise to speak in support the Labor senators’ Dissenting report’s fifth recommendation:

that state and territory government consider reforming the current system whereby windfarm developers directly retain acoustic consultants to provide advice on post-construction compliance.

Avoiding noise from wind turbines is an expensive bother that does not hold any appeal to windfarm operators.  Slowing down turbines increases costs and slows down profits.

So I was not surprised to learn that in the seven years of its controversial operation, the adjustments necessary to ensure Cape Bridgewater Windfarm operated in compliance with its planning permit have never been applied.

Mr President, wind farm operators have found a far less expensive and simple process to game the system. They employ compliant “experts.”

In 2006, Marshall Day Acoustics with consultant Christophe Delaire prepared a pre-construction Noise Impact Assessment for the Cape Bridgewater Windfarm.

The report predicted that compliance could not be achieved at Cape Bridgewater windfarm without operating 13 of 29 wind turbines in reduced operational noise modes.

Before it was even built, developers knew this windfarm would operate in breach of permit unless adjustments were made.

But Delaire told the committee of inquiry:

following measurements on site, it was found that noise optimisation was not required.

How did Delaire’s “expert” pre-construction and post construction reports come to draw such contrasting conclusions?

The answer is simple.  Pacific Hydro didn’t noise optimise turbines at Cape Bridgewater because they knew they wouldn’t have to!  They only had to commission a post-construction noise report to say the windfarm was compliant.

On both occasions, Pacific Hydro got exactly the report they wanted from MDA.  But the compliance assessments were not compliant with the standard and neither were the reports!

Questions of multiple reports reaching opposite conclusions were raised at the Portland Hearing.

During the Cape Bridgewater windfarm’s noise monitoring program, measurements were taken every month and monthly noise reports were generated to assess compliance at dwellings.

Let’s look at a few from House 63.

October 2008: “windfarm noise levels exceed the NZ noise limits.”

June 2009:  “the NZ limits are significantly exceeded”.

July 2009: “the NZ limits are significantly exceeded”.

MDA’s original reports identified noncompliance at multiple homes and every wind speed.

This didn’t satisfy the client.

On 22 July, MDA reissued revised monthly reports for every house and every month.  These reports were to Pacific Hydro’s satisfaction (but not the permit’s.)

The reissued versions for October and July said: there is reasonable correlation between measured noise levels and wind speeds.

References to exceeding the NZ limits, erased.

Without incriminating original reports, MDA’s final report concluded:

noise emissions from the Cape Bridgewater Windfarm comply with the NZ noise limits at all houses and at all assessed wind speeds.

Pacific Hydro submitted it to the Planning Minister as “proof” the Cape Bridgewater Windfarm was compliant.

But how?

MDA combined all the reissued monthly reports and averaged them out for each property.

There is nothing in the 1998 NZ standard that allows acousticians to find “average” post- construction noise levels and yet Pacific Hydro told the Committee:

Current noise standards require the average post-construction wind farm noise level.

There is no tolerance within the Standard that would allow a windfarm to casually comply with its noise limits, in some months but not others. Condition 13 does not allow the windfarm to occasionally comply with its permitted use.

NZ Standard is supposed to protect amenity and night time sleep. Windfarm planning permits are issued with conditions that decision-makers expect will protect the communities that host them – in real time.

In February 2009, the panel assessing the Lal Lal windfarm stated:

There is little point in giving permission for a windfarm to operate under certain conditions unless compliance with those conditions can be demonstrated.

Any exceedance of the limit should be considered as a breach of the condition.

An “average” noise level means nothing.  That’s why the permit requires that when the windfarm is operated it must comply with the NZ noise limits at all dwellings and clearly, this one doesn’t.

The Cape Bridgewater windfarm has never been compliant, despite the falsified conclusions drawn by MDA and the claims of its master, Pacific Hydro.

A Victorian Planning officer told the Committee:

“studies need to be done in a way which is robust.  That is why the peer review of the work is important.”

So why wasn’t a review of the Cape Bridgewater report commissioned as a matter of due diligence, not to mention consistency?

When Acciona gave the Minister its report, the Minister sent a copy to the EPA and within a week, he had commissioned an independent technical review.

He promptly wrote to Acciona describing multiple breaches of permit and expressing his dissatisfaction that compliance had been achieved with the noise monitoring program required by condition 17.

He said that the report shows that the operation of the Waubra Windfarm does not comply with the noise standard at several dwellings and he was not satisfied in accordance with Condition 14 that the operation of the facility complies with the relevant standard.

Then he asked Acciona to “noise optimise the turbines.”

Delaire from MDA prepared Waubra’s Windfarm’s preconstruction noise report which predicted noise would exceed the NZ limits and would only comply if 50 of its 128 turbines were noise optimised.

Same preconstruction formula, same post-construction problems.

If not for that pesky peer-review, Acciona might have got away with it.  They had never intended to operate noise optimise turbines in compliance with the limits.

WHY? Acciona had a MDA post construction noise report that concluded Waubra Windfarm operated in compliance with noise limits without needing to noise optimise any turbines, let alone fifty of them.

The Minister wrote to Acciona again a year later, stating that the MDA report it submitted showed non-compliance and that testing wasn’t undertaken in accordance with the NZ standard.  The Minister queried “who it was that undertook the assessment and whether this person or people were qualified and experienced to do so.”

MDA’s website says Delaire graduated with an engineering diploma in 2002 after beginning with MDA as a work experience student the year before.

Delaire has prepared acoustic reports for 50 wind farms.

MDA’s website promotes its:

“Proven record of successful wind farm approvals” and credits Delaire for developing a ‘specialty’ in wind farm environmental noise assessments.”

At the beginning of MDA’s reports there is an extraordinary disclaimer which acknowledges that reports are written to satisfy the client’s brief.  It says their reports ‘may not be suitable’ for other uses.

MDA’s disclaimer proves they are not fit for purpose as independent compliance documents.

MDA is a member firm of the Association of Australian Acoustical Consultants whose Code of Professional Conduct requires that members avoid making statements are misleading or unethical and endeavour to promote the well-being of the community.

They must not knowingly omit from any finalised report any information that would materially alter the conclusion that could be drawn from the report.

MDA has clearly failed the community. Consistently.

There’s no doubt that MDA’s commercial arrangements with both Acciona and Pacific Hydro adversely affected the independence of reports and the legitimacy of conclusions.

This example alone shows exactly why we needed an Inquiry that examined the regulatory governance of wind farms and why the scrutiny of an independent, national wind farm commissioner is essential.

There must be arm’s length relationships between acousticians and windfarm operators.  Independence would put a stop to the practice where false compliance documents allow operators to gain pecuniary advantage!

Local, state and Commonwealth government authorities, departments and agencies have been duped by sham compliance reports.

A windfarm that is “compliant” with state laws can receive RECs.

A “compliant” windfarm can secure finance – like the $70 million Pacific Hydro swindled from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

But those who these reports fail most are decent rural people left suffering the consequences of deception.  A shonky noise report can’t erase away the harm and nuisance it has caused for those living, working and suffering beside excessively noisy industrial machines.

Last month I asked the Victorian government to take a good hard look at all the submissions we received, in particular, from people duped by the regulatory failures of the Waubra and Cape Bridgewater windfarms.

Samantha Stepnell’s submission is #470.  Melissa Ware’s submission is #206.

While Acciona and Pacific Hydro were busy breaching their permits to maximise their profits, residents were and still are often exposed to horrendously excessive noise.  Twenty or more of these same people had sent affidavits to former Health Minister and current Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, in June 2010.

They reported severe sleep disturbances and a series of unexplained adverse health effects that were not present before the windfarm started operating.  Local doctors and a Sleep specialist confirmed concerns of a correlation.

By December 2010, eleven families around Waubra alone had vacated their homes, citing noise nuisance as the reason.

But the Victorian government refused Pyrenees Council’s request for a Health Impact Assessment, citing the NHMRC’s Rapid Review.  That very rapid review found that there was no evidence of adverse effects when planning guidelines were followed.

At Waubra, we know that they were not.  A simple peer review would have found that they weren’t followed at Cape Bridgewater either.

With callous indifference, the Victorian government has consistently failed in its duty of care to these people.

These people represent the human cost of corporate fraud, regulatory failure and political indifference.

These families still have the right to be able to sleep at night, to work safely on their farms and to live in the peace and quiet enjoyment of their homes.  This is as much a human rights issue as it is an environmental one.

The nocebo theory is obliterated by the fact that the noise measured at Waubra and Cape Bridgewater exceeds World Health Organisation recommendations for sleep protection.  Sleep deprivation is an indisputable adverse health effect.

Even the NHMRC now admits there are “probably” adverse health impacts for residents living within 1.5kms of a wind turbine.

I have been writing to the AMA since May 2014 about its windfarm position statement, asking why audible noise impacts had not been considered.  The AMA has failed to respond but blindly endorses the disproven nocebo drivel by Chapman and Crichton stating:

The available Australian and international evidence does not support the view that the infrasound or low frequency sound generated by wind farms, as they are currently regulated in Australia, causes adverse health effects on populations residing in their vicinity.

That’s because infrasound and low frequency sound from windfarms aren’t regulated in Australia!

Irrespective of what the AMA has been told or wants to admit, exposures to excessive audible noise, low frequency pressure and vibration cause debilitating nuisance, sleep disturbance and compromised health and amenity that reduces quality of life.

So where does that leave those suffering the continuing nuisance at Cape Bridgewater?

In submission #206, Melissa Ware said she was driven beyond despair and wretchedness.

Last year, Pacific Hydro told residents:

“it is our goal to improve your quality of life or at least restore it to what it was before the wind farm was there.”

They told me personally:

“We recognise that the wind farm has reduced their quality of life, and we want to help them get it back.”

But that was before Steven Cooper’s study found that all six residents surveyed are adversely impacted by the operation of the Cape Bridgewater Windfarm.

Funnily enough, Cooper was instructed not to test compliance!

Despite the infamous screeching, thumping, whirring, whistle and siren-like audible sounds produced by the Cape Bridgewater windfarm, Special Audible Characteristics weren’t assessed in MDA’s report.  If the 5 db SAC penalty were properly applied, an independent report would identify non-compliance at every dwelling, at every wind speed.

The Waubra and Cape Bridgewater reports were written within months of each other by the same acoustician from the same firm, using the same formula.

Perhaps the Planning Minister hasn’t commission a review of Cape Bridgewater’s report because he already knows it shows non-compliance?

Is this the real reason why the Planning Minister insists that it’s Glenelg Shire’s responsibility to enforce noise compliance at Cape Bridgewater, not his?

Glenelg Shire can’t enforce compliance without any access to noise reports and the complaints procedure. Only the minister has that information.

Condition 13 says compliance must be to the satisfaction of the Minister.  Council cannot legally exercise that judgement.

Condition 13 remains un-resolved, Cape Bridgewater windfarm continues to operate at full capacity and maximum noise without any regulatory authority accepting responsibility for enforcement.

In submission 456, Sonia Trist explains how officers from the Victorian Planning Department admitted noise limits are exceeded at her home, one apologising that:

“The Department adjusts information to obtain the required results.”

In June 2014, this retiring officer called me; and later sent me an email, blowing-the-whistle on his department, stating that:

“There is so such more to convey and I am sorry that I cannot do so now. Department incompetence and indifference is the primary reason for the current situation.

I found it hard to find the truth, working inside, so it must be hard for your side.”

On “my side” are those exposed to excessive and harmful, sleep destroying, audible noise emissions at levels that exceed noise standards and breach permits.

Those not on my side include complicit regulators, wilfully blind health bodies, greedy operators who put corporate profits before country people.  And neither are crooked acousticians flaunting a fraudulent reporting formula, that concludes compliance when there isn’t.

Notable for their refusal to attend the senate inquiry and be questioned, the Australian Medical Association were not alone.  Others who similarly refused were the authors of the two NHMRC commissioned Literature Reviews from both Adelaide University and Monash University, and Professor Gary Wittert.

In December, 2013, I warned about the culture of non-compliance arising from systemic regulatory failure in Victoria.

But that culture of non-compliance, aided, abetted and enabled by recklessly irresponsible reporting and regulatory indifference will only continue for as long as we tolerate it.

This industry demands root and branch regulatory reform.

Those who have actively and deceptively harmed communities, gamed the planning system, rorted the RET and exposed the CEFC and the private sector to investment risk must be investigated and held to account.

I urge the government to swiftly adopt the prudent Recommendations of the Wind Turbine Inquiry. We insist that the Labour Senator’s fifth recommendation is acted upon as a matter of urgency.
Senator Madigan 

[the speech is available from Hansard here or as a PDF here]

The speech was picked up by Graham Lloyd in The Australian.

Wind farm noise compliance reports faked, says senator John Madigan
The Australian
Graham Lloyd
18 September 2015

All levels of government have been duped by sham compliance reports which allowed major wind farms to breach noise limits and collect millions of dollars in subsidies, says independent senator John Madigan.

Senator Madigan used parliamentary privilege to blow the whistle on what he said was a corrupt system of wind farm noise assessments. He singled out international noise consultants Marshall Day (MDA) and its consultant Christophe Delaire, who has been involved in more than 50 wind farm projects.

Senator Madigan told the Senate MDA’s commercial arrangements with wind farm operators Acciona and Pacific Hydro had “adversely affected the independence of its reports and the legitimacy of conclusions”.

He was speaking in support of a Labor recommendation, in its dissenting report to the Senate inquiry into wind farms and health, that wind companies use independent consultants to assess post-construction noise compliance.

Senator Madigan said in the seven years of its operation the adjustments necessary to ensure the Cape Bridgewater wind farm in Victoria operated in compliance with its planning permit had never been applied. Instead, the wind farm operator had employed “experts”.

After initially saying the company was considering a response to Senator Madigan’s speech, MDA chief executive Peter Fearnside said “we have decided not to respond”.

A spokesman for Pacific Hydro, the operator of the Cape Bridgewater facility, said “our only response is the wind farm is compliant and there was nothing irregular in the way the compliance reports were produced”.

Senator Madigan told parliament the Cape Bridgewater wind farm had never been compliant with its noise requirements, “despite the falsified conclusions drawn by MDA and the claims of its master, Pacific Hydro”.

He said MDA’s website promoted its “proven record of successful wind farm approvals”.

Senator Madigan outlined a system of using post-construction reports to overcome issues of noncompliance raised in the pre-construction analysis.

A 2006 analysis by MDA predicted that compliance could not be achieved at Cape Bridgewater without operating 13 of the 29 wind turbines in reduced operational noise modes. But a post-construction report by the company cleared the wind farm.

Senator Madigan detailed a system of “averaging” used by MDA, which he said was not permitted by the wind farm noise guidelines.

“An ‘average’ noise level means nothing,” he said. “That’s why the permit requires that when the wind farm is operated it must comply with the NZ noise limits at all dwellings.”

The reports have been accepted by government bodies, resulting in millions of dollars worth of subsidy payments to the operators.
The Australian

bob the builder

Non-complaint wind farm? Can Marshall Day ‘fix it’?
Why yes they can. For a price, of course …

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What is set out in John Madigan’s speech, and picked up by Graham Lloyd, is fraud, pure and simple.

Try making a false declaration in your tax return and see how the Australian Tax Office responds. The ATO’s compliance and recovery squad are on you in a heartbeat and you can (rightly) be expected to get hit with whopping fines and penalties and – if serious enough – or you’ve done it before – you’ll end up with a spell in the cooler, as night follows day.

The Australian Commonwealth welfare agency, Centrelink has an entire division devoted to beating up on single mothers who try to “game” the system a little by fudging their returns and declarations – about income they might earn on the side; or about where the kid’s dad is really living. Old-age pensioners cop the same kind of scrutiny.

Defrauding the Commonwealth by telling fibs to Centrelink attracts serious criminal penalties over peanuts; and the perpetrators are made to repay every last cent received on false pretences to the Commonwealth. And going hard on welfare fraud is always seen as a vote winner, amongst our political betters. On that score, the Commonwealth offences for giving false or misleading information or documents to obtain benefits (and otherwise) appear in the Criminal Code Act 1995:

Part 7.4 — False or misleading statements

Division 136 — False or misleading statements in applications

136.1   False or misleading statements in applications

Knowledge

(1)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

(a)  the person makes a statement (whether orally, in a document or in any other way); and

(b)  the person does so knowing that the statement:

(i)  is false or misleading; or

(ii)  omits any matter or thing without which the statement is misleading; and

(c)  the statement is made in, or in connection with:

(i)  an application for a licence, permit or authority; or

(ii)  an application for registration; or

(iii)  an application or claim for a benefit; and

(d)  any of the following subparagraphs applies:

(i)  the statement is made to a Commonwealth entity;

(ii)  the statement is made to a person who is exercising powers or performing functions under, or in connection with, a law of the Commonwealth;

(iii)  the statement is made in compliance or purported compliance with a law of the Commonwealth.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 12 months.

(1A)  Absolute liability applies to each of the subparagraph (1)(d)(i), (ii) and (iii) elements of the offence.

(2)  Subsection (1) does not apply as a result of subparagraph (1)(b)(i) if the statement is not false or misleading in a material particular.

Note: A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in subsection (2). See subsection 13.3(3).

(3)  Subsection (1) does not apply as a result of subparagraph (1)(b)(ii) if the statement did not omit any matter or thing without which the statement is misleading in a material particular.

Note: A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in subsection (3). See subsection 13.3(3).

Recklessness

(4)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

(a)  the person makes a statement (whether orally, in a document or in any other way); and

(b)  the person does so reckless as to whether the statement:

(i)  is false or misleading; or

(ii)  omits any matter or thing without which the statement is misleading; and

(c)  the statement is made in, or in connection with:

(i)  an application for a licence, permit or authority; or

(ii)  an application for registration; or

(iii)  an application or claim for a benefit; and

(d)  any of the following subparagraphs applies:

(i)  the statement is made to a Commonwealth entity;

(ii)  the statement is made to a person who is exercising powers or performing functions under, or in connection with, a law of the Commonwealth;

(iii)  the statement is made in compliance or purported compliance with a law of the Commonwealth.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 6 months.

(4A)  Absolute liability applies to each of the subparagraph (4)(d)(i), (ii) and (iii) elements of the offence.

(5)  Subsection (4) does not apply as a result of subparagraph (4)(b)(i) if the statement is not false or misleading in a material particular.

Note: A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in subsection (5). See subsection 13.3(3).

(6)  Subsection (4) does not apply as a result of subparagraph (4)(b)(ii) if the statement did not omit any matter or thing without which the statement is misleading in a material particular.

Note: A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in subsection (6). See subsection 13.3(3). ….

Definitions

(9)  In this section:

“benefit” includes any advantage and is not limited to property.

Division 137 — False or misleading information or documents

137.1   False or misleading information

(1)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

(a)  the person gives information to another person; and

(b)  the person does so knowing that the information:

(i)  is false or misleading; or

(ii)  omits any matter or thing without which the information is misleading; and

(c)  any of the following subparagraphs applies:

(i)  the information is given to a Commonwealth entity;

(ii)  the information is given to a person who is exercising powers or performing functions under, or in connection with, a law of the Commonwealth;

(iii)  the information is given in compliance or purported compliance with a law of the Commonwealth.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 12 months.

(1A)  Absolute liability applies to each of the subparagraph (1)(c)(i), (ii) and (iii) elements of the offence.

(2)  Subsection (1) does not apply as a result of subparagraph (1)(b)(i) if the information is not false or misleading in a material particular.

Note: A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in subsection (2). See subsection 13.3(3).

(3)  Subsection (1) does not apply as a result of subparagraph (1)(b)(ii) if the information did not omit any matter or thing without which the information is misleading in a material particular.

Note:  A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in subsection (3). See subsection 13.3(3).

(4)  Subsection (1) does not apply as a result of subparagraph (1)(c)(i) if, before the information was given by a person to the Commonwealth entity, the Commonwealth entity did not take reasonable steps to inform the person of the existence of the offence against subsection (1).

Note: A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in subsection (4). See subsection 13.3(3).

(5)  Subsection (1) does not apply as a result of subparagraph (1)(c)(ii) if, before the information was given by a person (the first person ) to the person mentioned in that subparagraph (the second person ), the second person did not take reasonable steps to inform the first person of the existence of the offence against subsection (1).

Note: A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in subsection (5). See subsection 13.3(3).

(6)  For the purposes of subsections (4) and (5), it is sufficient if the following form of words is used:

“Giving false or misleading information is a serious offence”.

137.2 False or misleading documents

(1)  A person is guilty of an offence if:

(a)  the person produces a document to another person; and

(b)  the person does so knowing that the document is false or misleading; and

(c)  the document is produced in compliance or purported compliance with a law of the Commonwealth.

Penalty:  Imprisonment for 12 months.

(2)  Subsection (1) does not apply if the document is not false or misleading in a material particular.

Note: A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in subsection (2). See subsection 13.3(3).

(3)  Subsection (1) does not apply to a person who produces a document if the document is accompanied by a written statement signed by the person or, in the case of a body corporate, by a competent officer of the body corporate:

(a)  stating that the document is, to the knowledge of the first-mentioned person, false or misleading in a material particular; and

(b)  setting out, or referring to, the material particular in which the document is, to the knowledge of the first-mentioned person, false or misleading.

Note:  A defendant bears an evidential burden in relation to the matter in subsection (3). See subsection 13.3(3).

John Madigan

John Madigan: a ‘fraud’ by any other name, is still a ‘fraud’.

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Now, with those provisions in mind, go back and read what John Madigan had to say about the noise reports produced by Marshall Day. At Cape Bridgewater, Marshall Day first reports clear breaches of Pacific Hydro’s planning permit (“wind farm noise levels exceed the NZ noise limits”; and twice stating that “the NZ limits are significantly exceeded”), but these are simply airbrushed out of the report submitted by Pacific Hydro to planning authorities, the EPA and, later, to the Australian Senate.

Both Pacific Hydro and Acciona also “produce” documents, provide “information” and make “statements” and “representations” to Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator (CER) that they are, at all times, satisfying Commonwealth and State Law, including the conditions of their planning permits.

They need to make such statements and provide such information and documents in order to remain accredited to receive renewable energy certificates (RECs). RECs are, in substance, a Federally mandated tax on all Australian power consumers; issued directly as a subsidy to wind power outfits; and, therefore, a “benefit” obtained from a “Commonwealth authority” – ie the CER.

Wind farms are defined as “power stations” under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000; and the CER’s power to accredit them to receive RECs appears in section 14(2):

A power station is eligible for accreditation if:

(b) the power station satisfies any prescribed requirements.

For that section the “prescribed requirements” appear in the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Regulations 2001 and Regulation 4(1)(c):

Eligibility for accreditation

(1) For paragraph 14(2)(b) of the Act:

(c) the power station must be operated in accordance with any relevant Commonwealth, State, Territory or local government planning and approval requirements.

From the clear wording of the Act and Reg 4(1)(c) a power station cannot be lawfully eligible to be accredited to receive RECs, unless that regulation is wholly satisfied, as a matter of fact.

The Marshall Day ‘compliance’ reports presented to the Senate by John Madigan – and the other matters raised by him – show that the Cape Bridgewater and Waubra wind farms are being operated in flagrant breach of their planning consents (and, therefore, contravening State and/or local government planning and approval requirements); and, accordingly, should not be accredited to receive RECs – neither is being “operated in accordance with [its] … planning and approval requirements”.

On the evidence put forward by John Madigan to the Australian Parliament, there are at least 2 wind power outfits in Australia presenting false information about their entitlement to receive RECs. In South Australia, its EPA prepares and relies upon its own bogus noise reports, aiding and abetting operators there (see our post here).

The CER and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation can’t say that they haven’t had notice of what is, pure and simple, a fraud against all Australian power consumers:

Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator Doles Out $Billions in Subsidies to Non-Compliant Wind Farms

Put in a false declaration to the ATO or Centrelink, and the Commonwealth will use the provisions of the Criminal Code Act (set out above) to crush you like a bug. But, put in a false declaration to the CER – as a wind power outfit – and you’ll be applauded for doing ‘your bit for Australia’s renewable energy future’.

The institutional corruption – and the economic fraud that follows from it – is in itself sufficient cause for outrage. However, that’s to overlook the human victims of the most disgraceful chapter in Australia’s political history, ever.

What dogged campaigners, like John Madigan have uncovered, stinks like prawns rotting on an Australian jetty in summertime; stomach churning and so repulsive it has to be shunned and avoided.

What can’t be avoided is the fact that these so called “noise regulations” were purportedly designed to protect human health and amenity. That they don’t – even when complied with – is the product of the wind industry’s (clearly corruptible, if not corrupt) pet acoustic consultants writing “standards” which do no such thing:

Three Decades of Wind Industry Deception: A Chronology of a Global Conspiracy of Silence and Subterfuge

But – assuming for the moment that these ‘regulations’ – if actually applied – might in fact permit people like Sonia Trist, Jan Hetherington and Annie Gardner (and a cast of hundreds of others) to sleep comfortably in their own homes, the fact that regulators like the CER, planning authorities and EPAs are happy to accept cooked-up noise data – and deliberately falsified noise reports – is just as criminal as the financial fraud laid out by John Madigan.

The right to live in, sleep in and otherwise enjoy one’s own home is a common law right. Governments, at least decent and responsible governments, do everything in their power to protect, preserve and, if they’re any good, enhance that right.

What’s gone on in this country is a disgrace. Enough is enough.

Flagrant, state-sponsored criminal misconduct, wrapped up with community division, neighbour-hating-turbine-hosting-neighbour and unnecessary human suffering sounds like something from Dostoevsky’s Russia, but it’s real and happening right here, right now:

Three Magnificent Women Take On Australia’s Monstrous Wind Power Outfits & their Pathetic Political Backers

In the week just gone, Australia witnessed a political coup and installation of Malcolm Turnbull as PM. A lawyer, journalist, and all-round advocate by trade and nature, ought to be able to recognise criminal activity when it’s staring him in the face.

Where the victims are all Australian power consumers – and every unfortunate with these things speared into their backyards; driving them nuts; and driving them out of their homes, Malcolm should need little encouragement to ensure that right be done. As the new Federal head boy, it is, after all, his patch.

At a minimum, there has to be an immediate moratorium on the Commonwealth accrediting any more wind farms to receive RECs. The CER has demonstrated its bias, if not willing involvement, in condoning precisely what John Madigan lays out above. When it comes to administering the largest single Commonwealth subsidy scheme in history, it simply can’t be trusted.

State and local governments are beyond salvation – the only way to put an end to this wholesale fraud, rorting and corruption is to prevent hopeful wind farm developers from gaining accreditation from the CER to obtain RECs: the Federal government can prevent any more damage being done in a heartbeat, by simply chopping access to the REC subsidy.

Then, it’s a task of recovering the value of the RECs fraudulently obtained to date – from the likes of Pacific Hydro and Acciona – an exercise likely to recover far more for the Commonwealth, than getting Centrelink to beat up on single mothers and old-age pensioners, forcing them to repay what they’ve taken by misrepresenting their true incomes, assets, living arrangements, etc.

Adding to the damage caused by a calculated financial fraud on every Australian power consumer, is the unnecessary harm caused to rural Australians forced to tolerate incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound, killing their ability to use and enjoy their homes, as of right:

SA Farmers Paid $1 Million to Host 19 Turbines Tell Senate they “Would Never Do it Again” due to “Unbearable” Sleep-Destroying Noise

Greg Hunt’s ultimate 33,000 GWh target under the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target requires another 2,500 of these things to be carpeted all across Australia’s rural heartland.

With the communities targeted knowing precisely how operators like Pacific Hydro and Acciona are defrauding the Commonwealth, by turning in falsified noise reports and otherwise, STT does not expect them to rest easy for much longer.

Armed with the knowledge – thanks to the efforts of John Madigan and those with him on the Senate Inquiry – that wind power outfits and their pet acoustic consultants are ready to lie and fabricate evidence in order to keep rolling in an endless stream of REC subsidy; and, worse, that those we pay handsomely to enforce the rules, actively condone and support that very behaviour, rural communities will explode, if this debacle goes any further.

STT hears that dozens of communities have just launched the first wave of a counter-attack, aimed at protecting and preserving their health, wealth and happiness.

Over to you Malcolm. Your Countrymen and Countrywomen deserve a whole lot better than this.

Malcolm Turnbull: needs to get a grip on the greatest fraud of all time.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Why would people all around the world where these things are , all be complaining about the same noise issues. Do the authorities not get that the complaints are where ever these monsters are, WAKE UP YOU FOOLS BUILD A WIND FARM IN YOUR SUBURB THEN. Do people think that everyone is a fraud. Like these mouths that spew out such lies that noise is not an issue.

  2. STT – why does the Hansard link take us to Senator Leyonhjelm on motorcycle safety?

  3. A big thank you to Senator Madigan for having the guts to bring this out in the open and not use it to get a vote or two on a more popular subject.

    As we found out over the week, politics is a dirty business. Noted that CFMEU get their uniforms made in China but oppose the FTA. Nothing in media whatsoever when Dutton bought this up in question time. As with Senator Madigan’s facts on non-compliant wind farms.

  4. Forensic Investigator says:

    A Royal Commission into the corrupt practices involving the wind industry and its fraudulent regulation and political manipulation is the only way to achieve justice for all Australians.

    Thank you to Senator Madigan and his honest committee colleagues who have set out the facts, that the newly led government ignores at its peril.

  5. “After initially saying the company was considering a response to Senator Madigan’s speech, MDA chief executive Peter Fearnside said “we have decided not to respond”.

    No wonder. It was Peter Fearnside who ‘signed off’ on Christophe Delaire’s Waubra Wind Farm report.

  6. It begs to question all noise compliance everywhere, not just Wind Turbines, but Industrial Areas, too – industrial noise is making me ill. I think it is reasonable to hazard a guess that this kind of thing happens all the time.

  7. This sounds very familiar with the story at AGL’s Macarthur wind farm of 140 Vestas V 112 3 megawatt turbines….

    There are reports at Macarthur, of compliance noise testing NOT carried out within the Victorian guidelines, that is instead of between 5 and 10 metres from homes, out to 35 metres from homes.

    Also reports of batteries/equipment failing time and time again – amazingly only on extremely windy days/weeks – wonder why???

    Senator Madigan claims “local, state and Commonwealth government authorities, departments and agencies have been duped by sham compliance reports”.

    But, they’re all in on it …. the Federal government knows full well what’s going on and have done NOTHING about it, continuing to pay REC’s to AGL. Victorian State government ticked huge changes to Macarthur’s turbine generating capacity without any new noise testing/modelling – also failed to notify residents/Shire of substantial changes under Section 52 of Victorian Planning and Environment Act – and Moyne Shire, were presented with a comprehensive Assessment of both State and Shire peer reviews of AGL’s Compliance Noise testing report, indicating in no uncertain terms that this wind farm IS NOT COMPLIANT.

    Alas the Moyne Shire decided NOT to accept this damning report by a top INDEPENDENT acoustician, let alone read it – willful blindness on behalf of all three levels of government.

    No wonder so many residents are suffering from ongoing headaches/ear and nose pressure/dizziness/sleep deprivation/nausea/chest burning/tinnitus to mention a few symptoms, and find they have to leave their homes to get a proper night’s sleep, away from constant hammering from infrasound and vibration in their homes and on their farms their workplaces.

    Well done to Senator Madigan, for his courage to speak out in his genuine attempt to represent those hundreds/thousands of rural Australians whose human rights have been taken from them and whose lives have been changed for ever; due to the trespass of their property rights, by their greedy neighbours’ industrial development.

    • @cherryann,
      Perhaps the Clean Energy Regulator has turned a willfully ‘blind eye’ to the issue of Macarthur’s RECs because the CER- (aka, Ms Chloe Munro) – for and on behalf of the pro-Union consortium who won the contract to build the complete did Wonthaggi desal plant, entered into a long term PPA for that purpose.
      You see, the winning tenderer of the Desal plant agreed to “offset” emissions from the (would be) emissions intensive desal plant by purchasing RECs from both the Oaklands Hill and Macarthur Wind farms.

      Did I mention that the Vic Labor government’s former ‘Progressive Business’ fundraising arm chief, Phillip Staindl, was instrumental in brokering the deal with Ms Munro that awarded Aquashaw’s desal plant contract?

      Probably just a coincidence that the same Phillip Staindl is now engaged as Pacific Hydro’s paid lobbyist…..

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