Australian Senators Demand Wind Farm Moratorium: NHMRC (finally) Decides to Conduct Actual Health Research

insomnia

Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council long ago disqualified itself as a body fit, willing, or even able to investigate and report on the known and obvious consequences to human health and well-being caused by incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound.

From the get go, it’s been infiltrated by wind industry consultants, such as Norm Broner and Renzo Tonin; and wind industry advocates like Liz Hanna, who continue to direct traffic at, what is supposed to be, an independent medical research body, designed to protect public health at enormous taxpayer expense (see our post here).

In early 2015, the NHMRC pumped out yet another politically inspired piece of propaganda, asserting that there was “no consistent evidence” of wind farms causing adverse health effects.

The inclusion of the weasel word “consistent” in the NHMRC’s puffy press piece was telling; and it’s a theme we’ve visited a few times in relation to the concept of basic science, in the general, and hypothesis testing, in the particular (see our post here).

To date, the drivel pitched up the NHMRC has been nothing more than highly selective and deliberately crafted literature reviews, in sync with the mantras chanted by the wind power cultists permeating its ranks.

The NRMRC’s first (inexplicably) rushed effort was a biased and incomplete literature review pumped out back in 2010. The very, very Rapid Review was so quick off the mark that it completely missed the decade of work put together by Neil Kelley & Co during the 1980s in the US (see our post here).

In early 2014, the bureaucratic nincompoops that people the NHMRC rushed to print with a loosely titled “Information Paper” – STT thinks “Mis-information Paper” would have been closer to the mark. Again, it ignored the highly detailed and comprehensive work done by Kelley and the boys from MIT and NASA – what would America’s top rocket scientists know, hey? (see our post here). And the NHMRC slammed the bag on submissions back in September 2012 – so it was only 18 months out of date.

Now, probably aware that it could no longer get away with any more propaganda-come-incomplete-literature-reviews, the NHMRC has decided that it’s time to get Tracey & Co out of the library; and to head into the field where the harm caused by incessant low-frequency noise and infrasound is actually being suffered.

girl in library

Having spent 6 deliberately fruitless years in the library, Tracey
was told to head out to meet the victims face-to-face.

****

That awareness (some might call it ‘shame’) is, no doubt, driven by the Australian Senate Inquiry and the thumping report it delivered back in August last year (see our post here); and the scathing evidence of the NHMRC’s ‘performance’, given by the likes of Dr Bob Thorne (see our post here).

Last week, the NHMRC announced that $3.3 million is to be directed to, wait for it, actual scientific research into the known and obvious health effects caused to wind farm neighbours by turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound, such as sleep deprivation and the mental anxiety and stress that follows.  All, totally unnecessary, of course.

Sure, more than six years have passed since the NHMRC was first presented with the tragic tales of wind farm neighbours, being belted with incessant wind turbine noise emissions – like those at Waubra in Victoria and Waterloo in South Australia – but, as they say, “better late than never”.

The wind industry, its parasites and spruikers have reacted in their usual hysterical way, howling about the cost of the research, which they claim is exorbitant and unnecessary (for example this ‘how-dare-they-question the Wind Gods’ rant from wind-cult central, the SMH): a matter to which we will return in a moment.

But first, we pick up STT Champion, Federal Senator John Madigan’s common sense call for an immediate moratorium on the construction of any new wind farms, in order to prevent any more wholly unnecessary misery and suffering.

Senator John Madigan calls for moratorium on future wind farm developments pending outcome of NHRMC study
23 March 2016

Independent Senator for Victoria John Madigan has welcomed the announcement of a study into the effects of wind farms on human health, while calling for a moratorium on all future windfarm developments pending its outcome.

This NHMRC’s announcement is in line with its 2014 recommendations, made following a review of the literature, which found that while it was clear that some people who live in close proximity to wind farms complain that the turbines make them sick, to date there has not been research of the kind needed to properly test these claims.

Senator Madigan said: “This is a very simple issue. We have a new industry operating infrastructure that some people say is making them sick. There is insufficient research of the type needed to determine the validity of these claims. Therefore, the NHRMC has commissioned a study that will do this. In the circumstances, it is the only sensible course of action.

“In the meantime, the precautionary principle requires that all future wind farm development should be put on hold, pending the outcome of the study.

“Criticism of the cost of the study is so misconceived it is difficult to take seriously. Are critics seriously suggesting the government should not spend the $3.3 million necessary to fund a sophisticated epidemiological study that will resolve an issue concerning a threat to national health and conversely, the future of a billion dollar industry that is the beneficiary of hundreds of millions of dollars in government issued subsidies?

“I was initially surprised by the hostile reaction of activist groups and sections of the media to this announcement. These people dispute the claims of those living under wind turbines that this makes them sick. That’s fine: It’s these claims the proposed study is designed to test. Why on earth would they oppose settling the issue through rigorous scientific research? Presumably they expect to be vindicated. Why would they so vehemently oppose this?

“The uncomfortable truth is that many of these activists are passionate about their cause to the point of zealotry. Like all zealots, their excessive passion to advance their cause at any cost has seen them lose perspective when it comes to a broader moral compass. At the end of the day these people don’t care if wind farms make people sick. They just want them built due to their obsession with climate change.

“How else to explain the deeply shameful attacks by Greens politicians and other activists on the people who say they are getting sick. Throughout the inquiry I chaired these people were relentlessly mocked, labelled ‘flat earthers’ and alien abductees, by the Greens, their activist supporters and sections of the media. They justified this on the basis their symptoms were all in their minds, rather than having a genuine physical basis. Yet, even if it turns out to be a psychological issue that made these people sick, how on earth does this justify attacking them.”
Senator John Madigan

John Madigan

John Madigan says, “enough is enough”.

****

John Madigan, always quick off the mark, was quickly followed by other Senators – WA Liberal, Chris Back, as The Guardian reported.

Wind power: senators want moratorium on turbines until health studies conclude
The Guardian
Shalailah Medhora
23 March 2016

Coalition senator Chris Back joins independent senator John Madigan’s call put projects on hold as a ‘precaution’

Two members of a Senate inquiry into the health effects of wind farms – including a Coalition backbencher – have called for a moratorium on building new turbines until two separate medical studies conclude.

On Tuesday, the National Health and Medical Research Council announced that it would allocate $3.3m for two university studies on whether noise emitted from wind turbines, known as infrasound, affected health, sleep and mood.

The independent senator John Madigan on Wednesday called for all projects to be put on hold as a “precaution”.

“We have a new industry operating infrastructure that some people say is making them sick,” he said. “There is insufficient research of the type needed to determine the validity of these claims.”

A Coalition senator, Chris Back, was part of a Senate inquiry into the effects of wind turbines. He supported Madigan’s call for a moratorium.

“This research is very important as the only scientific pilot study conducted in Australia measuring the effects of vibration, low-frequency noise and infrasound has indicated that there are health problems that requires further investigation,” he said.

“This important research will provide the affected communities with information regarding health and safety of living nearby to industrial size wind turbines. It is well known that industrial noise effects health.”

Putting money into investigating possible health effects of infrasound was consistent with previous National Health and Medical Research Council recommendations, said the environment minister, Greg Hunt.

“Their preliminary finding was they had no evidence of health effects but they also recommended there should be further study and investigations,” Hunt said. “So we are following the advice of the National Health and Medical Research Council.”

The issue was “of concern to a lot of people”, Malcolm Turnbull said.

“A reasonable exercise for the government is to … investigate the matter,” the prime minister told reporters.

When asked if he was putting money to a syndrome that had already been disproved, Turnbull answered: “If the conclusion is as you suspect it will be, that will serve to allay lot of anxiety and that’s a very important thing to do.”

A Senate inquiry into turbines handed down its report in August. It recommended national standards on the amount of noise emitted be put into place and that the government put a five-year cap on renewable energy certificates.

Labor said the recommendations were “reckless, ridiculous and irresponsible”.

Turnbull and Hunt on Wednesday announced the formation of a $1bn clean energy fund aimed at creating innovative renewables and then commercialising the new technology.
The Guardian

Chris Back

Chris Back joins the chorus calling for an end to the calamity.

****

Chris Back – who sat on the Senate Inquiry – was joined in his call for an immediate moratorium on wind farm construction by another on that committee, SA Independent Senator Bob Day.

STT hears that SA’s favourite Greek, Senator Nick Xenophon, who also sat on the committee, is going to join the push to shut down the construction of any new wind farms, until such time as the defenders of these things can prove them not guilty of all charges. (Good luck with that!)

Now, that brings us to the (teeny-weeny) internal inconsistency in arguments against the research – pitched up by Labor, the Greens and others in the employ of the wind industry.

The first point is their wailing about what, in their myopic worldview, is the phenomenal $3.3 million directed at avoiding a colossal public health disaster (think of the misery suffered at the hands of Pacific Hydro at Cape Bridgewater; or of the 11, perfectly serviceable, farmhouses abandoned by their owners at Waubra – the owners bought out and gagged by a Spanish wind power outfit, Acciona).

Some might call it ‘hypocrisy’, some might call it ‘intellectual dishonesty’, STT calls it the malicious, sociopathic rantings of a deranged cult.

As the English literature student is asked to do, it’s time to “compare and contrast”.

John Madigan talks about “hundreds of millions” in subsidies to wind power outfits, in fact, the LRET is designed to deliver $3 billion a year in Renewable Energy Certificate subsidy to wind power outfits, every year until 2031 (see our post here). And all those $billions being ‘gifted’ to a power source which – because it cannot be delivered on demand and cannot be economically stored – has NO commercial value.

But let’s break it down by asking the question as to how long it would take to earn $3.3 million worth of RECs, from a single 3MW turbine?

A REC is issued for each MWh of wind power delivered to the grid. A 3 MW turbine – if it operated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – would receive 26,280 RECs (24 x 365 x 3).

Assuming, generously, a capacity factor of 35% (the cowboys from wind power outfits often wildly claim more than that) that single turbine will receive 9,198 RECs annually.

At $93 – the expected price for RECs once the shortfall penalty bites this year – that single turbine will rake in $855,414 in Commonwealth mandated subsidy, which is drawn from all Australian power consumers as a tax on their power bills. But wait, there’s more: that subsidy doesn’t last for a single year. Oh no. A turbine operating now will continue to receive the REC subsidy for 15 years, until 2031 – such that a single 3 MW turbine can pocket a further $12,831,210 over the remaining life of the LRET.

Even on the current REC spot price of $78, that single turbine (generating 9,198 RECs worth $717,444) will take less than 5 years to pocket $3.3 million: the ‘outrageous’ amount, said by a former tobacco advertising guru and his acolytes to be a pointless waste.

The wind worship cult’s disingenuous wailing is simply “set-piece” stuff drawn from the hypocrite’s handbook – like an accused criminal publicly protesting, way too much, about his innocence before his trial; the answer he fears most will be delivered soon enough by the jury in charge of his fate.

You see, their “argument” – and that of their wind industry paymasters – is fairly easily tested: if wind turbine noise and vibration doesn’t cause health effects (like sleep deprivation, say) then the industry should welcome a full-blown study, along the lines of what Steven Cooper did at Cape Bridgewater (with medicos involved to look at the physiological effects in detail; and matched controls to support the findings).

That way, the cult’s beloved wind industry could clear its name as the cause of untold human misery; and, having been found innocent of that charge, could then simply focus on defrauding power consumers and taxpayers of $billions in subsidies; leaving tens of thousands of households no longer able to afford power at all, as the inevitable result (see our posts here and here). And turning all of the other States in the Country into colossal energy disasters, like Australia’s wind power ‘capital’, South Australia (see our post here).

But, actions belie words, most every time.

Big tobacco did it, the asbestos industry did it and the wind industry has taken to it like a duck to water: lie, cover up the facts and when the facts get out – run and hide (see our post here).

The NHMRC has an opportunity to redeem itself, doing what it should have done over 6 years ago. And Malcolm Turnbull has an opportunity to act like a man in charge of the health, wealth and happiness of his rural constituents, by backing his WA Senator, Chris Back’s call to prevent any more, wholly unnecessary harm.

Turnbull

Malcolm, we know it’s always about you, but this time it’s about them.

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Jim Hutson says:

    I remember Sir Humphrey Appleby saying, “Minister,—- you cannot hold an enquiry with first determining the outcome , you don’t know where it will finish up ” Yes, yes , Sir Humphrey, what am I going to do, I will fix it Minister, You can do that, yes Minister, do it all the time. Thank goodness for that, I don’t know what I would do without you Humphrey. Yes Minister.

  2. Reblogged this on Patti Kellar and commented:
    Hope this happens for the Aussie’s. We in Ontario Canada continue to be subjected to the emissions of turbines without relief in sight. The Huron County Health Unit is undertaking an investigation however there will be no outcomes that help victims in the immediate future, a sad reality of our times. We have a government that touts inclusion and transparency yet they refuse to listen to victims of Industrial Wind Turbines. People continue to be exposed to this environmental hazard and suffer the consequences all while the government of the day runs around, patting themselves on the back. Ontario – Contrary to government rhetoric is now a place where NOT EVERYONE MATTERS.

    • And Premier Wynne in Ontario just said publicly that people who being negatively impacted and expressing their opposition to turbines eventually get used to them.

  3. Support Good Science says:

    Does intermittent low frequency and vibration from nearby wind turbines impact the hearing development of unborn and newly born babies? Intermittent low frequency has been demonstrated via rigorous science to disturb prenatal and new born hearing development. A whole scientific literature exists on this matter. Noise standards are applied to neo-natal ICUs. Is the NHMRC considering intermittent low frequency generated by wind turbines on pre-natal and new born hearing development?

  4. david mortimer says:

    I am just a little bit concerned that one of the tests is similar to the Auckland university test in that they are going to play a wind farm recording to various community members alternated with “sham” infra sound and no infra sound. We all know the results of the Auckland tests – totally inconclusive!
    Also to compare street infra sound with turbine infra sound??

    I looks like they are trotting out the same old fudge.
    Am I reading NHMRC wrong?

  5. stand against wind says:

    Great summary. Was appalled by the SMH coverage belittling rural Australians impacted by wind turbines. How discomforting for its North Shore readers trying to assuage their greenhouse guilt as they turn on the heating and fill up their SUVs.

  6. What a relief to see the NHMRC doing something about an issue that affects hundreds upon hundreds of rural Australian households.

    How unfortunate that some “professor emeritus” who thinks he is a specialist on wind turbine issues still displays a profound ignorance of the issues of noise and health and doesn’t seem to understand that a “lack of evidence” means a need to do research.

  7. Reblogged this on windfarmaction and commented:
    We all wonder when the UK will smell the coffee

  8. Makes No Sense says:

    I do hope that the studies to be conducted will directly involve those residents living near turbines who are reporting problems. Is the NHMRC serious about high quality and relevant research? Or is it a case of studying what’s irrelevant and then (again) saying there is “no evidence” of a problem?

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