What the Wind Industry Doesn’t Want Anyone to Know

In this repost, STT welcomes Britain’s Peak Protection Force – and its blog, MindWind to our International Network.

This insightful piece tackles the type of awkward questions that the wind industry would rather you never asked. And, sure as hell, will never openly answer.

Awkward Questions Answered
MindWind
Peak Protection Force
24 September 2017

This weekend’s roadtrip was one that could not have come at a better time, and its write-up could not be more germane to the discussion at hand.

I travelled about 80 miles from Leeds to just outside Louth in Lincolnshire, and along the way I saw: one dead coal-fired power station (Ferrybridge); one operational coal-fired power station, with a new gas-fired power station being constructed alongside (Eggborough); one hybrid coal/biomass power station (Drax); one of the largest and most hideous “cumulative” agglomerations of onshore wind farms in Britain (stretching pretty much unbroken from Goole to Scunthorpe); and several private wind turbines of varying size, location and impact.

You could not ask for a better control environment than today’s journey from which to take a closer look at different forms of power generation and their respective impacts.

With this blog in mind, I listened to no music along the way and instead gathered my thoughts.

As always, it’s mostly critical thinking of my own arguments, trying to be the first to spot any inherent logical flaws, and asking myself those annoying awkward questions before anyone else does, such as:

Awkward Question #1: If we can’t see any turbines and we don’t even know they are there (eg at night, or even just because we’re looking the other way), can they still affect us?

Let’s work through it logically. If so, if under a controlled experiment people’s brain activity changed in the vicinity of a wind turbine that they didn’t even know was present, then that’s your smoking gun right there: something about the turbine other than its appearance would be having a neurological impact.

If not however, if we approach a turbine in the dark and don’t even notice its presence, then that would indicate one of two things:

Either: (a) whatever it is that has an impact when we see turbines has nothing whatsoever to do with their sound, magnetic vibrations or otherwise general uselessness, solely their visual appearance.

Or: (b) the visual impact is itself merely a trigger for some other personal cause of amygdala hijack (“Catcher In The Rye” theory, ie it wasn’t anything inherently about the book itself that led Mark Chapman to murder John Lennon, any other book being equally capable of being interpreted by the assassin’s mind as a trigger to attack Lennon).

Derren Brown proved this with an excellent episode based on programming a participant to assassinate Stephen Fry with various everyday triggers (eg seeing an advert on a bus). So it is perfectly possible that just about anything could set off an amygdala hijack in people, either deliberately or accidentally.

Maybe it’s just an irrational phobia, or even in some way related subconsciously to the arachnoid appearance of the turbines (not that I’m remotely scared of spiders, mind!)

I don’t have the answer but I’d love to test the theory, to find out if our brains detect the presence of turbines even when we can’t see them.

Awkward Question #2: If it’s just an issue of height and inappropriate rural development, how come radio masts, pylons and other assorted towers don’t have the same psychological impact? What about churches, for God’s sake???

This is interesting to me, with the giant Emley Tower visible from just around the corner from home. I love the Emley Tower, it’s one of Yorkshire’s iconic landmarks, higher even than the Eiffel Tower. That certainly comes between me and the Peak, so how come that gets a free pass?

I even used to use the huge Holme Moss tower, actually located within the Peak National Park, as a logo for Peak City Radio. That too dominates the surroundings for miles and miles. The fact is, I can’t immediately rationalise why these towers are acceptable and even the smallest wind turbine isn’t. Maybe it has something to do with the motion of the blades, which certainly doesn’t help matters, but to be honest even at a standstill turbines cause an unpleasant sensation.

I think the type and colour of high-visibility paint used is a huge part of the problem. To coin a phrase, wind turbines are “hideously white”. Not to mention the sharp and dangerous-looking blades. They just scream out: “WRONG ON EVERY LEVEL”!

Here’s a thesis that has just come to me: all the other kinds of towers resemble a peak, one way or another. They are essentially pyramid or cone shaped, which is natural-looking and in keeping with the laws of gravity and the physical universe.

Wind turbines seem to defy gravity, visually anyway, like it’s taking the earth an unhealthy amount of strain to prop them up, and are therefore almost the psychological antithesis to everything we love about mountain landscapes.

Wind turbines, especially those with the extra-long blades, look upside down somehow. They certainly clash with upland landscapes aesthetically, and therefore psychologically (unless we are now saying aesthetics don’t affect our moods, in which case we might as well just scrap art and music).

Throw The Hay Wain in the bin. Raze Mont Sainte-Victoire. “I wandered, lonely as a Planning Inspector”. “To sleep, perchance, to dream…not to be kept awake by the constant whoosh, whoosh whoosh…”

All other machines tend to get smaller as they get better, less lumbering and more efficient. Wind turbines seem to get bigger and bigger, looking for all the world like they’re regressing in terms of style and sophistication. It’s like the new iPhone being the size of a shoebox!

Here’s my favourite answer though, especially for fans of synchronised dancing. I once read a decidedly Toynbee-esque puff piece for industrial wind farms, prattling on about the “beauty of all these sleek turbines, dancing gracefully like ballerinas in the breeze”…or something equally vomit-inducing. The logic-slapdown to that inane opinion (which you still come across in The Guardian comments section from time to time) is to say: the whole point of ballet is that the nimble dancers are perfectly synchronised, both with each other and with the music.

Unfortunately wind turbines seem to have a tin ear to the beat, and therefore rather than emulating the Bolshoi Ballet gliding around the stage in perfect sync to the music of Tchaikovsky; instead the chaotic, haphazard, bad-trip contortions of a dozen 150m tall wind turbines, totally jarring and out of phase with each other, end up resembling nothing more than a mass brawl outside Wetherspoons on a Saturday night. A brawl which the turbines probably helped cause in the first place, by making the locals feel aggressive.

Out of phase industrial wind turbines in the countryside are single-handedly the most ugly, soul-destroying and discombobulating sight I have ever experienced in my entire life.

Awkward question #3: What about old-fashioned windmills? Aren’t they supposed to be beautiful, sometimes even tourist attractions? Plenty of artists have painted them…

This question is one I ponder often, as my uncle and aunt lovingly restored an old windmill, adding sails (not blades), four of them (not three), and taking the best part of twenty years to restore a black stump into a working windmill. I used to love the bread they made! Occasionally even scones.

So when I say all owners of wind energy infrastructure should face a mandatory 25 year jail sentence, am I including my dear old uncle and auntie? How come their beautifully renovated windmill gets a free pass?

(Incidentally, this is the same aunt that suddenly started suffering from depression and insomnia at the age of 80. For what it’s worth, the swinging blades of a large farm turbine started appearing just beyond her garden fence a couple of years ago. Funny that…)

Again, I don’t immediately have the answer, but I do know not a single neighbour ever complained about the noise or visual pollution of the windmill, painstakingly restored with the aid of local craftsmen, in the community in which they spent all their lives.

The differences between their windmill and your modern wind turbine are legion – they did it as a labour of love, not for money, with top priority given to aesthetics and style. Different materials used – wood, not steel, for a start. No high-voltage electricity, certainly no live current fluctuating wildly and erratically. No neodymium magnets either, not that I’m aware of…

Maybe hundreds of corporate old-fashioned windmills, located and styled as inappropriately as modern turbines, would have the same impact on our psychology. Maybe they did. Maybe that’s why we got rid of them! In a hundred years from now, maybe there might survive two or three industrial wind turbine remains that might too become tourist attractions, quaint relics of a bygone era, looked upon with incredulity by our descendants.

Awkward question #4: There are so many things in life that cause stress and grief to people, why concentrate on something whose sole impact so far seems to have been that it briefly intruded upon your country drive for a few seconds? FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS! Man up for crying out loud and just be grateful that they’re not mining coal underneath Ilkley Moor.

I use the country drive as a control experiment, to demonstrate an example of how to enter the alpha mental state (which is seen by psychologists as the state of maximum creativity and clarity). I encourage each and everyone of you to try it for yourself.

Here’s another control experiment for you all: where do you go on holiday? Why do you even go on holiday? What does it do to your mind? What would happen if you didn’t take a holiday?

Now, how would you react if, on arrival at your long-awaited destination, for which you booked time off work weeks in advance, you check in and see a building site outside your window? (Go to Brighton if you want the answer, more of which later. MUCH MORE…)

There are many physical symptoms of an amygdala hijack: stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol flood the body, as if to prepare for a life-or-death fight. Our heartbeats quicken and our breathing shallows. We feel a quivering in our solar plexus, limbs, often even our voice. We may notice heat flush our face, our throat constrict, or the back of our neck tighten and jaw set. This is all “emergency” animal instinct, largely out of our control, though there are coping strategies once you are aware what is happening.

Bear in mind, then, if you are on any kind of “nature” holiday whatsoever, attempting to heal yourself from the stress of everyday living by reverting to a more organic existence for a few days, then an amygdala hijack is BAD NEWS. Bear in mind also that it can take up to four hours, if not longer, for the body to relax and calm down fully after a hijack.

A 30 second glimpse of an industrial wind farm can trigger an unpleasant physiological reaction lasting up to four hours. Our National Parks need to be places where people can safely roam for long periods of time without coming anywhere near a toxic wind farm. No wind farms must be allowed within four hours travel time of a National Park, otherwise we might as well scrap the National Parks, there’s no point even having them.

Maybe now you might start to understand the mental health implications of removing people’s places of leisure, recreation, rejuvenation, refreshment, exercise, fresh air, green fields, hills, moorlands, mountains, rivers and the ocean, soft horizons stretching as far as the eye can see, with just the odd small building blending into the landscape.

So what do we do with our turbines then? We don’t want them in nice areas because it makes them less nice. We don’t want them in bad areas, because that’s just taking advantage of vulnerable people and stigmatising deprived communities even more. We don’t want to see them from our beaches. We don’t want them within four hours travel of any National Park.

The only logical solution is to Build Absolutely None Anywhere Near Anyone.

Awkward Question #5: You keep banging on about the unspoilt countryside and torturing people in their homes, yet when it comes to private turbines, it’s the very people who erect them who have to live with them, closer than anyone else. How come turbine owners never complain about health problems? Surely if people didn’t want them, they wouldn’t keep them, so who do you think you are are to stick your nose into country matters? You’re just as much a townie as anyone else. If country dwellers keep erecting turbines, doesn’t that indicate a popular, quality product that people choose to buy?

I’m going to get into a fistfight with myself at this rate! Don’t worry by the way, I’m not arguing with myself out loud. But here’s the answer to that difficult one. Firstly, if you oppose fox-hunting then you can’t ask me the above question with a straight face. If country dwellers want to fox-hunt, by your logic, us townies should butt out of that too and let them get on with it. Why do you oppose fox-hunting, even if you never see it day-to-day in the city, and you proactively have to travel miles into the countryside on the offchance of tracking down a hunt?

Whatever drives you to oppose predatory fox-hunters, that’s what drives me to oppose predatory hill-hunters, so look into your soul, ask yourself why you find fox-hunting so unacceptable, and realise I feel exactly the same about the gratuitous desecration of our hills. Same people, probably. Same lack of respect for other living creatures.

So how come these fox-hunting (probably) turbine owners never complain about getting sick? They must be happy with their turbines, right? Shouldn’t I just leave them alone and stop picking on them? First answer: confirmation bias. Clearly people who get involved with wind turbines are biased towards them for some reason, and therefore they see the world through a totally different prism from mine. That’s fine, and I welcome the discourse, as always. Any happy turbine owners in tip-top health, feel free to fill me in and turn me on. I’m all ears.

(I might just remind people that DelBoy was always the last to lose enthusiasm for his own schemes – long after Rodney, Uncle Albert and Raquel would twig this was another utter loser of an idea, Del would still be convinced success was just around the corner. “Never stop believing. This time next year we’ll be millionaires. This time next year we’ll start making money from the turbine, Rodney…”)

A more sinister explanation is that maybe once they’ve made their Faustian pact, turbine owners are contractually obliged to shut up and only say nice things about their purchases, no matter how many times the blades fly off. Or, if not obliged to say nice things, embarrassed to admit they screwed up.

One step ahead of the pure DelBoy denialists, these owners may secretly acknowledge that they’ve been sold a pup, but really can’t be arsed with the inevitable “I told you so”s from us lot, so they just keep their heads down, try and make the best of a bad job and hope that somehow they can be extricated from their nightmare contract asap. Just a hypothesis this, not based on anything other than the odd case in America where a few landowners have finally blown the whistle on the godawful wind turbine deals they found themselves embroiled in.

I’ll keep coming back to these Awkward Questions, and feel free to throw in your own. I love it! I fail to understand people who feel passionately about an issue NOT welcoming questions, counterarguments and logic-chopping. It’s fun! And if you can’t answer a question, then it can sometimes lead you to query your own shibboleths and maybe change your thinking. I’m happy to do that. I’ve been asking wind supporters to engage with me, reassure me, persuade me and set me straight for three years now. They never do.

When I posted the Crook Hill Eco Disaster website, I was expecting to be threatened with legal action for libel at any moment, or at least have some arsey letter from Coronation Power, had I in anyway lied or misrepresented the “Eco-Destruction On An Industrial Scale”, as I tagged it.

The website still stands, unchallenged, unopposed. Search Crook Hill Wind Farm on Google, and my website appears before the official one! My website is effectively the go-to resource for information about the wind farm. Nobody seems that bothered. I only ever had one complaint about my website, and that was from a fellow Wind Warrior who was concerned my Bible quotations (“Take these things away, stop making my Father’s house a place of business”) might be a bit inappropriate.

Not that I was wrong, but that I might be weakening my own argument by bringing religion into it. Anyway, I put the Crook Hill Eco Disaster website up there expecting some kind of reaction from the developers, but nobody batted an eyelid. It just indicates to me that the parties behind the wind farm really don’t give a tinker’s cuss what people think of them, as long as they get their money. Basically, gangsters, for want of a better term.

I know, if it was me, if I thought I was working on an amazing “clean, green” earth-saving project, and some uppity website pops up criticising everything I was doing, I’d absolutely take steps to reassure them and set them straight that they had it all wrong, this is a great project, they should come and meet me for a chat, check out the operations, be involved and see for themselves what’s really going on. I’d relish the chance to win over a sceptic, if I genuinely believed what I was doing was in their best interests. The fact that nobody involved with Crook Hill reached out to me speaks volumes.

In the next section, I’ll talk in more detail about my complicated relationship with the Green Party and those who vote for it…

“Nature, live! Live, nature! Powers of Nature: Destroy illusion and reveal the truth!”

That was the motto of my Crook Hill Eco Disaster website: http://www.crookhillecodisaster.co.uk
MindWind

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. Hi all, this is Mr MindWind! Firstly, thanks for reposting the link and the ensuing debate. I am a bit confused by some of the debate above, who is saying what about whom. Absolutely nothing but praise and credit to Stop These Things, and a million thanks for reposting the blog! Not sure quite what all the stuff about worrying about how I come across relates to, but will try to clarify…my blog is a personal testimony coming at the wind power debate from a very specific point: how do wind turbines affect our mental health? How do they affect our moods and our emotions? Putting myself as a psychological guinea pig and saying, “OK I was in a good mood until I visited this location and was affected by this turbine, this is what it did to my thought processes.” Any personal bravado is merely to say, “I’m not NORMALLY angry or aggressive, far from it, it’s a direct pscychological response to the turbines.”
    As always, if anyone has any questions or feedback, the blog is 100% about free and open discourse.
    I would say Stop These Things is one of my go-to sites for news, data, statistics, and absolutely a key influence on my own website! Mine just takes the same themes and brings them into my own life. In reality, I have lots of friends who are not yet aware of the wind scam, so it’s vital I reach out to them as well as those who are already clued up. They might wonder why we are so angry!
    Keep up the great work guys.

    • MindWind, STT admires your work. Otherwise we would not have reposted your work in full, and given your site an endorsement to our 31,600 followers.

      Our comment was directed at epamaegina, who was criticising STT for using ‘blanket ridicule’. We admit the charge, and also admit to using mockery, irony and sarcasm. In the right hands, those literary devices have deadly and persuasive effect. Your approach is personal, and we appreciate the reasons you give for that.

      STT has been at this for nearly 5 years. The style has shifted markedly over that time, but the substantial message is the same. The giveaway is in the name. It is not about the authors, it’s about power consumers, farmers, neighbours, birds, bats, the environment and the economy that employs people, feeds families and creates wealth and lasting prosperity. Subsidised wind power has damaged, destroyed and still threatens them all.

      So, if our tone includes blanket ridicule, epamaegina’s charge, there’s the reason.

      We will never convince everyone, so we work on a take or leave it basis. There will always be intellectual lightweights and carpetbaggers who will argue in favour of wind power, as well as those who want to believe wind power is wonderful, free and will stop the planet from incinerating.

      Our followers include journalists from the MSM, who cite our facts, figures and arguments, without attribution; other bloggers; and most importantly, politicians. During the last Senate Inquiry into wind farms, this site was used by numerous Senators as a key reference source, much to the annoyance of wind developers. We didn’t get to that position by mincing our words or getting them wrong.

      So, our beef is with epamaegina, not MindWind. Keep up the good work. STT intends to do the same.

      • I agree, the concept of relying on the wind to power our economies is utterly ridiculous! Ridicule, satire and punky iconoclasm are great tools for smashing down prejudice and bigotry (most support for wind power arises from bigotry when you break it down). But balanced with the ridicule is empathy with those who fall for the scam (I did, once upon a time), understanding the neuro-linguistic programming that has been systematically targeted at people’s minds and allowed the wind scammers to persuade an entire generation to hand over control of their critical faculties. The best defence against NLP (ie all the misleading pro-wind advertising and indoctrination) is to call it out when we see it. Often the wind industry invites its own ridicule, simply by being so at odds with the nature of reality.

  2. I don’t know whether my audience is strange or not. It is as it is, and I am trying to change it in the direction you want, if the point is to find a better way for generating electricity than wind parks.

  3. The Mindwind author has written another very imaginative analysis of present-day discord (which should be more public) in the ecological movement: https://peakproductionscouk.wordpress.com/2017/09/25/bananas-vs-watermelons-internal-vs-external-loci-of-control/ His perceptiveness and humour are a more potent weapon than blanket ridicule.

    • Thank you for the link to another MindWind post. We agree that it is not loaded with ‘blanket ridicule’.

      It’s pretty hard to load up on ridicule when the author is the star of the show.

      Instead, the piece you have directed us to is loaded with the perpendicular pronoun ‘I’. Which is great if readers really care about the identity and self-indulgent musings of the author.

      In an age when letting the world know how one ‘feels’ about the burning issues of the day (eg gay marriage, climate change, refugees, etc, etc) identity is all. However, this site will continue with its tone, picking up 50,000 hits every month from its 31,000 followers – which tends to suggest that this site is a pretty potent weapon. And that tone will include ridicule, because the world is loaded with the wilfully obtuse, and life is way too short to wait for the slow-witted and ignorant to catch up.

      We wish MindWind all the best. But he would be better served by tackling the subject matter head-on, instead of fretting about how his readers might view him. Who knows? He might just run rings around STT…

      • I don’t want to encourage antagonism between Mindwind and Stopthesethings. They are addressed to different audiences. It just happens that Mindwind is more effective as a means of persuading the audience that I personally have more to do with. But I learned ot its existence through Stopthesethings.

      • You must have a strange audience? We weren’t being criticised by MindWind for using the oh, so very effective tool of ridicule. That dig came from you.

  4. Peter Pronczak says:

    Interesting post.
    Consider some of the following:
    In Australia working near high voltage areas have a time limit; women of child bearing age don’t work next to 415volt electric motors (common in the likes of industrial laundries) because it can effect foetal development and who knows what else; an ABC radio station in Brisbane, QLD., was shut down after a cancer cluster was found in a number of women – 18 women in total have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Telcos can only spend a limited amount of time in the electrical base of mobile ‘phone towers and the same applies to the switchboards of factories.

    The application of electrical power to a specific aerial array can apply an atmospheric ionisation effect causing it to rain in specific areas – an Australian company has experimented in South Australia and Queensland and sold the technology in the Middle East. Also the life of a French satellite operating over the west coast of the Americas was extended when a group of scientists looking at data noticed ionic anomalies coinciding with earthquake activity; I think an Italian researcher noticed the same type of disturbance prior to the Japanese tsunami.

    So it is a fact that particular arrays and concentrations of electrical currents do have both beneficial and dangerous consequences.
    It raises the question as to whether or not field measurements have been investigated in the vicinity of wind farms.
    Personally were I flying a light aircraft in their vicinity, I would be cautious of trusting my instrument panel readings

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