Trying to explain wind turbine noise to those who’ve never experienced it is like trying to explain a migraine to someone that’s never had a headache. Well, on this page, STT throws it over to those who have. Starting with a couple from South Australia’s Mid-North.
Clive and Trina Gare are cattle graziers with their home property situated between Hallett and Jamestown.
Since October 2010, the Gares have played host to 19, 2.1MW Suzlon s88 turbines, which sit on a range of hills to the West of their stately homestead. Under their contract with AGL they receive around $200,000 a year; and have pocketed over $1 million since the deal began.
On 10 June 2015, the Gares gave evidence to the Senate Inquiry into the great wind power fraud during its Adelaide hearing: [Hansard from the hearing is available here as HTML and here as a PDF (the Gare’s evidence commencing at p63)].
That evidence completely contradicts the wind industry lie that turbine hosts never, ever complain; a piece of propaganda cooked up by its media manipulators – including a former tobacco advertising guru – who run the story that it’s only “jealous” wind farm neighbours who complain about wind turbine noise, “jealous” because they’re not getting paid.
The Gares pocket $200,000 a year for the ‘pleasure’ of hosting 19 of these things; and, yet, make it very clear that it was the worst decision of their lives.
In their evidence they describe the noise from turbines as “unbearable”; requiring earplugs and the noise from the radio to help them get to sleep at night; and the situation when the turbines first started operating in October 2010 as “Crap, to put it honestly” – evidence which is entirely consistent with the types of complaints made routinely by wind farm neighbours who don’t get paid, in Australia and around the world; and as detailed in the examples below.
The Gare’s evidence is also entirely consistent with the experience of David and Alida Mortimer, also paid to host turbines for Infigen at Lake Bonney, near Millicent in SA’s South-East (see our post here).
Despite AGL spending tens of thousands on noise “mitigation” measures, the noise from turbines continues to ruin their ability to sleep in their own home, as Trina Gare put it:
No, they were waking me up on the weekend. You wake up to the thumping. This is with all the soundproofing in the house. As I said, I sleep with the radio on every night. If they are really cranked up I have to turn the volume up, so I will probably just go slowly deaf.
In her evidence Trina Gare stated, in the same terms as her husband Clive, that:
In my opinion, towers should not be any closer than five kilometres to a dwelling. If we had to buy another property, it would not be within a 20-kilometre distance to a wind farm. I think that says it all.
For more on the Gare’s experience, see our post here.
Try to have this playing while you read the rest of the page – it is not easy.
The noise can be very annoying and there is no escape. The following people have generously shared their stories of living, or running away from, wind turbines that have been sited too close to their homes, in the hope that it will prevent their ordeal happening to anyone else. They often lament about how damaging it has been to their communities and their environment.
We have collected experiences from real people in:
- Victoria (Hepburn Wind Farm, Waubra Wind Farm, Cape Bridgewater),
- New South Wales (Crookwell Wind Farm, Capital Wind Farm)
- South Australia (Waterloo Wind Farm).
Hepburn Wind Farm, Victoria
Marie Frost lives just over 500 metres away from the Hepburn Community Wind Farm at Leonard’s Hill, Victoria.
Marie is troubled by the audible noise that the turbines produce, particularly when the wind is blowing from the North-East.
In this video, Marie offers a heart-felt warning to all rural people threatened by turbines, to do everything in their power to stop them going ahead, as they can destroy a peaceful life as it has for her, and her family – Experience Marie’s story here – 3.07.
From day 1 of the turbines operating, Jan has suffered from the pulsating noise that the turbines produce within her home. Jan describes the resulting earache as like being inside an airplane, and the audible noise, that deprives her of sleep, like being at an airport. Her symptoms seem to be progressing the longer the turbines operate.
She feels stuck, in a living hell, in a home that no one would ever buy. Experience Jan’s story here – 2.37.
Waubra Wind Farm, Victoria
Carl and Samantha Stepnell have long since left their home, which was 900m from the turbines at the Waubra Wind Farm. They have moved a 30 minute drive away for the sake of their health and sanity. Samantha was severely affected, as soon as the turbines started – although it took Carl 6 months or so before he began to feel the effects. He had headaches at first, then sleep deprivation, waking with chest pains and blood noses. Although it is noisy in Ballarat (only a km from a freeway) they can at least sleep again and have some night-time reprieve from what ever it is that comes out of those turbines. Experience Carl and Samantha’s story here 5.03. Another ABC story about the plight of the Stepnell family, and their contribution to the Senate Enquiry into Wind Farms, is available here.
Andrew and Maggie Reid have a farm near Waubra that is surrounded by wind turbines. They are impacted by the noise (headaches, head pressure) but the focus of this story is how it has impacted their community life. Andrew is a 5th generation farmer in the area and has a long history of being a part of community sporting clubs – but no more. They can’t even go into town without being chided by hecklers. They feel that the coming of the wind industry (Acciona) to Waubra has cost them their right to free speech, their right to association and their right to property. Experience Andrew and Maggie’s story here – 4.27.
Noel and Janine Dean farm prime agricultural land, with significant irrigation infrastructure, located near the turbines of the Waubra wind farm in Victoria. Noel can’t live with the pain of the noise emitted from the turbines and has moved away, at great expense. Experience Noel and Janine’s story here 3.38.
Robyn and Glen Brew run an organic farm at Evansford. Depending where they are on their property, they can see 10-20 turbines. The turbines have impacted on their health and made sleeping and working in the paddocks on the farm difficult.
They also share how their neighbours have been impacted. Experience their health story here – 5.35.
Robyn and Glen have also seen a change in their animals. Robyn has kept chickens for 30 years and has found that those nights when she is most disturbed by the turbines, she can guarantee her chickens will also lay deformed eggs. When Glen has kept sheep near the turbines, the lamb death rate skyrockets. Also they note that the bats that lived in the area before the turbines started have virtually disappeared. Experience their concerns about their animals here – 3.34.
Berni Janssen lives at the end of a valley that funnels the impact of 30 wind turbines from Waubra Wind Farm towards her home. There is audible noise from the turbines in certain weather conditions, but it is how she feels when the turbines are operating that has severely impacts on her sleep and ability to work as a project manager and a writer. Bernie also discusses the injustice of having to complain about wind farm annoyance to the wind farm company, who do nothing and argues that there needs to be an independent body established. Berni’s reasons for sharing her story: to limit the expansion of the Waubra wind farm and to alert unsuspecting rural people of what they can be in for if a wind farm is coming to a place near them. Experience Berni’s story here – 3.16.
Enid Thomas has sleep apnea (problems breathing while sleeping) which she has managed well with a machine that blows humidified air into her lungs as she sleeps. When the nearby Waubra wind turbines began turning, she started suffering intense vibrations through her machine and into her head, severely upsetting her sleep. The sleep deprivation is so bad that she has considered suicide. Experience Enid’s story here – 2.16.
Donald first experienced motion sickness symptoms when visiting Noel and Janine Dean’s property, which is a kilometre or so away from the Thomas’ home. This was when only a portion of the installed turbines were operational.
Since then, he finds he has a range of adverse health effects depending on the weather. If it is windy, the turbines are very noisy and this disturbs his sleep. But the worst is when it is not windy at the house and yet the turbines are turning. This creates penetrating severe headaches, raised blood pressure, fearful nights and the consequences of sleep deprivation.
Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm, Victoria
Brian and Joanne Kermond live near Pacific Hydro’s Cape Bridgewater turbines in Victoria. Although Brian was involved in the construction of the turbines, he became very ill when the rotors began turning with a sea-sickness-like dizziness. Joanne describes their symptoms – headache, nausea, sleeplessness, irritability, lack of concentration, vertigo.
And experience Brian’s story in this video – 3.32.
Sonia Trist feels that she can no longer stay in her home near the Cape Bridgewater wind farm. She describes her symptoms – anxiety and sudden wakening at night.
Sonia calls on all those affected by wind turbines to be strong, join together and stand up and be counted, to help eradicate the cruel farce that is the wind industry. Experience Sonia’s story here – 6.37.
Melissa Ware and Rikki Nicholson also live near Pacific Hydro’s Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm, or Industrial Wind Factory as Rikki prefers to call it. It was only when they went and returned holidays that they realised that their annoying symptoms were related to being at their home. They describe their symptoms which are cumulative (waking at night with pulse racing, whole body vibration), the fact that a glass of water vibrates on the table, stray voltages are detectable in the air and they also demonstrate non-complying noise levels. They also lament the way in which their complaints are handled by the wind developer. Experience Melissa and Rikki’s story here – 9.05.
Capital Wind Farm, New South Wales
Ruth Corrigan who would like there to be no more wind farms built, in anyone’s backyard, until the medical studies have been done to find out why they are affecting some people so badly. Ruth is upset by the noise that she can hear in her home. Depending on the wind direction, she can’t sleep, suffers pressure headaches, wakes up with nose bleeds and goes through her days feeling like she is underwater. Ruth talks about her battle with the wind company Infigen, the Council and Government departments, to take notice of how her life was changed when the industrial wind complex started operating near her. Experience Ruth’s story here – 3.47.
Crookwell Wind Farm, New South Wales
Rose Dooley who has lived at Elm Grove at Crookwell, New South Wales, all her life. Homes are important places and Rose wants to stay in hers. Unfortunately her family home is 600m from turbines of the Crookwell Wind Farm which has been operating since 1998. Rose describes the noise that rolls down the gully from the turbines to be like a truck starting up. After such a long time being exposed to the noise, Rose has severe sleep deprivation – she averages only a half an hour of sleep a night when at her home, but can sleep well when she goes away. Besides being very tired, Rose has ear pain, headaches, pains in the chest, blood pressure problems and she also gets dizzy when here ears are noisy. She laments that the current plan is for even more and larger turbines to be installed which will surround her home in all directions. As one of Australia’s most experienced wind turbine neighbour, Rose believes that wind turbines should not be in anyone’s backyard. Experience Rose’s story here – 2.39.
Colin Dooley is Rose’s brother. He farms the land adjacent to the Crookwell wind farm. Although he doesn’t live as close as Rose, he still suffers from the noise. The Crookwell 2 and 3 wind farms have also been approved. When they go ahead his family farm, Elm Grove, will be surrounded on all 4 boundaries by wind turbines. Colin shares his fears for the future of his farm and the families in the area as aerial fire-fighting and weed control will no
longer be possible in the vicinity of the turbines due to restrictions on aircraft. Experience Colin’s story here – 3.27.
John and Anne Carter are cattle farmers They are not troubled by audible noise as their other neighbours are, but they are impacted by infrasound – Anne in particular as well as their animals. John has a stern message for potential hosts reminding them that if they sign the contracts they will no longer really own their land; their land will be significantly devalued (as it can no longer be subdivided), and it is likely that some of their family and their animals will be negatively impacted by the wind turbines. Experience their story here -5.36.
Waterloo Wind Farm, South Australia
Colin Schaefer lives 8 km from the Waterloo turbines in the mid-North of South Australia. You may have already come across Colin in an earlier post when he was on the Sunrise Report. Initially, Colin was as strong advocate for the turbines, even helping in their construction, but he now would like to warn you against them as he has witnessed the dire consequences it has had for his community. He reminds us that money isn’t everything. Remarkably, even at 8 kms, Colin can be woken some nights by annoying noise of the turbines in some weather conditions. Experience Colin’s story here – 3.32.
Johannes Marciniak is another victim from South Australia’s Waterloo Wind Farm which has been fully operational since October 2010. John was not in perfect health before the turbines started, controlling his blood pressure and diabetes with medication, but his conditions were severely aggravated whenever he came near operating turbines. He has moved away from his house as he believes if he stayed at his home he would be dead or a vegetable Experience Johannes’ story here – 3.50.
Please come back again later as there are still more videos to be added to this collection.
The documentary, Pandora’s Pinwheels, provides more detailed stories of these and other Australian victims of the health impacts of inappropriately sited industrial wind turbines (2 hours). It is a must for all rural people who are considering hosting wind farms on their property.