Wind turbine ‘delusionalitis’

Claims that wind has no social license for expansion are bizarre when you consider the nature of the arguments and proposals from those opposed to wind farms. If these illogical complaints can dictate policy, let's kiss goodbye vaccinations, fluoride in water, and motor vehicles while we're at it.

Why is it that Victoria, the most politically moderate state in the country – the land of Robert Menzies, Malcolm Fraser and Petro Georgio; the place where multiculturalism is not a dirty word; a place where the machinations of the NSW Labor Right would never have been tolerated – has managed to throw up two loony senators in succession?

At first it was thought just a horrible fluke of idiotic Labor Party preferencing that we ended up with Steve ‘I can’t spell, but reckon I know a bit about modelling the climate system’ Fielding.

But then he was replaced with John ‘I’ve learnt all I need to know about climate change from Dorothea Mackellar’s poetry’ Madigan.

Senator John Madigan from the Democratic Labor Party comes from a good place – he’s concerned for the downtrodden and the dispossessed. But he seems to suffer from a similar ailment to the likes of Cardinal George Pell and Fielding, who it appears believe that the globe’s climate is dictated by God rather than physics. 

In his concern for the potential health effects of wind turbines, Madigan has put before parliament a series of amendments to the Renewable Energy Act. These would suspend the accreditation of a wind farm to create renewable energy certificates if it creates “excessive noise”. He defines that to be when the level of noise that is attributable to the wind farm exceeds background noise by 10 dB(A) or more when measured within 30 metres of a household or business premise.

Now this is where I always tend to get confused with these people that believe wind farms are harming health. They claim that the cause of health ailments is due to wind farms generating infrasound – which is inaudible to the human ear. But then they try to hinder or stop wind farm development on the basis of them creating what they say is “excessive” noise that is not infrasound.

Ignoring this rather odd contradiction, why not apply this kind of law beyond wind farms to any man-made structure or activity? After all it’s not just the noise from wind farms that people complain about.  Below is a diagram outlining the amount of noise typically created by a range of activities:

Source: Sonus – Wind farm Technical Paper Environmental Noise Nov 2011

According to Madigan’s proposal we should ban cars and trucks from being able to drive on public roads. Heck why stop at that? We should also ban busy offices that must be causing an epidemic of health problems because they are so excessively noisy.

But Madigan doesn’t stop there.

One of the other amendments Madigan has put forward applies to Subsection 30E of the Act. This empowers the regulator to suspend accreditation of a power station if they believe the power station is being operated in contravention of a law of Commonwealth or state government. Madigan’s amendment, directly copied and pasted from his bill is below:

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m having trouble working out how a regulator or a judge is supposed to interpret when a wind farm has broken an “unwritten” law. Is this where Madigan calls in a priest from his beloved Catholic Church for divine guidance perhaps?  

This kind of nonsense filters throughout the entire anti-wind farm movement. Sarah Laurie, of the Waubra Foundation, as an example wrote in a September submission on the Collector wind farm that:

“There may well be other toxic agents involved [beyond infrasound] ……including EMF, ground borne vibrations, and rapid fluctuations in barometric pressure, sufficient to explode bats lungs and at times with sufficient energy to perceptibly rock stationary cars even further than a kilometre away from the nearest wind turbine.”

Noticeably shaking cars more than a kilometre away – I wonder how often that happens? Ground borne vibrations that are a toxic agent? This all looks a lot like someone fishing for a reason, any reason, to knock back wind farm development.

And of course, as reported in Climate Spectator, the anti-wind farm brigade also suggest that there is an elaborate conspiracy between the Australian Energy Market Operator, government authorities, universities, and power station owners to obscure the real truth: that electricity from wind turbines doesn’t offset fossil fuel consumption in coal and gas power stations.

Is this some kind of bizarre mystical cult?

Origin and EnergyAustralia are trying to assert that the objections of this small cult constitute a loss of social licence.

Okay, there is also a substantial number of people who think vaccinations don’t work – so there goes the social licence for government mass-vaccination programs. Fluoride in the water? Nah, some people think that’s a problem too so let’s just let people’s teeth rot.