Top Acoustics Professor Calls for Full Compensation for Wind Farm Victims, as Council Calls for “National Noise Cops”
The Australian Senate Inquiry into the great wind power fraud hits the road tomorrow, 30 March – starting at Portland, Victoria (in the TAFE campus on Hurd Street from 8.30am) – the town next door to Pacific Hydro’s Cape Bridgewater disaster.
The hearing gives long-suffering residents there – and from elsewhere – a chance to hear Steven Cooper give an exposition on the findings of his groundbreaking study (see our posts here and here and here); it’s also the first opportunity for wind farm victims to lay out in tragic detail their misery and suffering before the Inquiry: a public forum, where sharks like Pac Hydro can’t – despite its best efforts to date – cover up its shameful conduct any longer.
Note that the opportunity to make submissions to the Inquiry has been extended to 4 May (as we’ll detail further below).
The Inquiry also provides the first and best opportunity to address the criminal manner in which the wind industry, and those that aid and abet it have trashed the ability of people to sleep in their own homes.
The wind industry and its institutional accomplices – particularly, the Clean Energy Regulator (see our post here), state and local government authorities, EPAs, etc – continue to ride roughshod over peoples’ common law rights to live in, use and otherwise enjoy their homes and properties: homes that, in far too many cases, have become worthless and un-liveable, due to “planning rules” that are so lax as to be risible.
Faced with the very real threat of fronting up to litigation – where liability in favour of the victims is – thanks to Cooper’s work – a virtual ‘slam dunk’, the local Glenelg Shire Council has gone into damage control.
The Council now wants a “publicly-accessible register established for all complaints against wind farms and an independent authority to enforce compliance of standards” (as detailed in the story from The Standard below).
Now that little suggestion – clearly aimed at legal tail-covering, and, no doubt, the result of a prod from the Council’s insurer – leads to the very sensible idea of having a “National Industrial Noise Authority” (for the purposes of this post, let’s call them, the “National Noise Cops”).
The National Noise Cops should be given the power, resources and authority to do for wind farm victims precisely what Councils, State and Federal governments have manifestly failed to do: namely, monitor and control industrial noise sources – including industrial wind turbines – shutting down those sources when they interfere with peoples’ common law rights to live in and enjoy their own homes; and to penalise the offenders when they refuse to follow the Noise Cops’ orders and directions.
Here’s The Standard setting out the Glenelg Shire Council’s response to its little legal-liability-epiphany.
Glenelg Shire Council seeks complaints register for wind farms
27 March 2015
GLENELG Shire Council wants a publicly-accessible register established for all complaints against wind farms and an independent authority to enforce compliance of standards.
In its submission to next Monday’s hearing in Portland of a Senate committee, the shire says there is considerable community fatigue and frustration around regulation of the industry.
“Council perceives this and the lack of community confidence in the regulation as a major concern,” shire planning and economic development manager Stephen Kerrigan wrote.
Seventeen of the 140 submissions lodged with the select committee on wind turbines will be heard at the Portland hearing in the TAFE campus on Hurd Street from 8.30am.
Another five local business and community members have also been listed to give evidence.
The committee, chaired by Senator John Madigan of Ballarat, is due to hand down its report by June 24.
Acoustics expert Steven Cooper will be first off the blocks with a summary of his report which found trends linked to sensations reported by residents living near the Cape Bridgewater wind farm.
He will be followed by Pacific Hydro which commissioned him for the landmark study in response to ongoing complaints from residents.
The shire council said it was also concerned about lack of credible information on health impacts of wind farms and suggested the National Health and Medical Research Council undertake an “expedited authoritative study” into the issue.
Mr Kerrigan noted recent work by the Municipal Association of Victoria in brokering an agreement with the Environment Protection Authority for auditors to provide monitoring and compliance services to councils and the wind power industry.
The council highlighted “significant” economic and social benefits from construction and operation of wind farms plus the detrimental effect on jobs caused by uncertainty on the renewable energy target.
About 100 jobs were cut from the workforce at Portland’s Keppel Prince, which was a major manufacturer of wind farm components.
Concern about the state government’s handing back responsibility to councils for issuing, enforcement and compliance of wind farm planning permits will also be aired.
“In closing, Glenelg Shire Council supports policies and processes which promote deployment of renewable energy projects, the attraction of clean energy investment and creation of jobs within the shire without posing undue risk to the health and wellbeing of its residents and ratepayers,” Mr Kerrigan said.
Before we pick up again on the theme of noise standards and the National Noise Cops, STT can’t help but notice the drivel pitched up about “clean energy investment and creation of jobs”.
Germany, the world “leader”, when it comes to throwing billions in subsidies at wind power, has shown the wind industry’s argument about creating thousands of groovy, “green” jobs to be nothing more than a complete fiction (see our post here).
In Portland, Keppel Prince moans about the “loss” of 100 jobs due to uncertainty over the LRET. These boys clearly want to have their cake and eat it too. Its continued operation critically depends upon the life and longevity of the local aluminium smelter: if the smelter goes, Keppel Prince is finished.
And despite Keppel Prince bleating about “uncertainty” over the Renewable Energy Target, the continuation of the LRET guarantees (as a legislated fact) that the cost of electricity will go through the roof in the next four years, as an absolute “certainty”.
The LRET will add $50 billion in REC Tax/Subsidy to all Australian power bills: a whopping subsidy, designed to be directed to wind power outfits (see our post here). As a consequence of that $50 billion Federal Tax on electricity, mineral processors, like aluminium smelters will go the way of the Tasmanian Tiger – and with them, something like 4,500 REAL jobs (those directly employed by smelters) – and a further 12-13,000 REAL jobs in the wider aluminium industry (see our posts here and here andhere).
And, when the LRET inevitably smashes Australia’s mineral processors across the Country, its “collateral damage” will include every metal basher that builds and engineers the machinery and equipment they use: eg, engineers and metal fabricators that serve aluminium smelters, just like Keppel Prince. What’s that they say about being destroyed by greed and stupidity?
Now, back to Glenelg Shire Council’s talk about noise “standards” and an independent body to enforce them. The first, and most obvious point, is that the current “standards” were written by the wind industry; and deliberately designed to bury the real problem – incessant low-frequency noise and infrasound – a problem the wind industry has known about for over 30 years (see our post here).
It’s a problem which Steven Cooper’s Cape Bridgewater study has simply confirmed – according to America’s top acoustic experts, Dr Paul Schomer and George Hessler – the data gathered by Cooper itself proves the relationship between adverse health effects and turbine generated noise and vibration (see our post here).
And that work is backed up by top quality field research done last year by Professor Colin Hansen – and his team from Adelaide University at Waterloo – showing high-levels of turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound inside homes up to 8.7km from turbines (see our post here).
That work simply highlights the need for standards that actually take into account incessant low-frequency noise and infrasound; unlike the South Australian EPA’s farcical claim that “modern wind farms” don’t produce infrasound at all (see our post here).
Colin Hansen – easily the best-qualified and most respected Australian academic when it comes to noise and vibration – has pitched in with an offer to bring his immense skills to the task of elaborating on the precise cause of the sensations and symptoms suffered by victims (ie, the particular levels and frequencies generated). But it’s his utterly sensible call for full compensation for those victims – that appears in this piece from The Australian’s Graham Lloyd – that we’ll pick up on in a moment.
Call to subject others to wind farm noise
26 March 2015
Recordings of infrasound and low-frequency noise from wind turbines should be played into the bedrooms of random rural residents to investigate health concerns, a senior acoustics academic says.
Emeritus professor Colin Hansen from the University of Adelaide says testing should be conducted on people who do not live near wind farms.
In a submission to a Senate inquiry next week, he says if a health concern from infrasound and low-frequency noise is proven authorities should state what level of impact or “collateral damage” is acceptable and set up a compensation fund to buy out affected residents.
Professor Hansen was a peer reviewer of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s review of the health impacts of wind farms.
Some residents living near wind turbines across the world have complained of sleep disturbance and other seasickness-type symptoms.
The council said it would support research that addressed the relationship between wind-farm noise and health effects.
It would also fund research into the broader social and environmental circumstances that influence annoyance, sleep disturbance, quality of life and health effects that are reported by residents living in proximity to wind farms.
The call for research follows the recent council statement concluding the body of direct evidence on wind farms and health was small and of poor quality.
“Internationally, there is little research evidence regarding the health effects of wind farms,” the council said.
“Over 4000 papers were identified in the reviews and, of these papers, only 13 studies were found that considered possible relationships between wind-farm emissions and health outcomes.
“Only one of these studies was conducted in Australia.”
The council expert group that oversaw the review identified areas for further research.
The review did not include results from what has been called a breakthrough study by acoustics expert Steven Cooper at the Cape Bridgewater wind farm.
Mr Cooper will be the first witness to address the Senate inquiry when it meets in Portland next week.
US acoustics expert Paul Schomer told the inquiry in a submission that the Cooper study “shows that wind turbine emissions affect some people independently of them seeing turbines, hearing turbines, or feeling vibrations from turbines”.
“We, the entire world, desperately need proper, valid research to determine what effects wind turbine emissions have on people,” Dr Schomer said.
Pacific Hydro, which funded the Cooper study, has said it did not accept that a “cause and effect” relationship between wind farms and health impacts on nearby residents had been established by the Cooper research.
But Mr Cooper said his study had provided a methodology for full-scale medical trials.
Professor Hansen said recordings played to residents living a long way from wind farms could help determine what parts of the noise spectrum cause the most annoyance and adverse effects on people.
They could help determine what physical mechanisms were responsible for the undesirable noise components by theoretical analysis, laboratory experiments and on-site measurements, he said.
And they could help determine what changes to turbine design and wind farm layout could be made to minimise the generation of the undesirable noise components.
While victims could bring those responsible to account in private litigation, STT begs the poser: why should the victims of a government sponsored subsidy scheme have to pay upfront to be compensated for their inevitable suffering and losses?
The wind industry exists (and only exists) by reason of the Large-Scale RET and the REC Tax/Subsidy directed to wind power generators under it – and paid for by ALL Australian electricity consumers, including those with homes and properties adjacent to wind farms (see our posts hereand here).
As the beneficiaries of what Liberal MP – Angus “the Enforcer” Taylor properly describes as “corporate welfare on steroids”, mandating that the wind industry fully compensate wind farm neighbours for all of their losses seems only fair.
At the Federal level, Australia is all about compensation: whether it’s Centrelink, a National Disability Insurance Scheme or a national healthcare scheme (ie Medicare), the Federal government has no trouble at all forcing taxpayers to cough up and ensure that those without, or who have suffered some of the bad luck dished up by daily life, get compensated.
In the same vein, the wind industry has already pocketed something like $9 billion worth of REC Tax/Subsidies – and is lining up for a further $50 billion of the same under the LRET: “compensation” for producing “renewable” energy that they hope to gleefully pocket at power consumers’ expense.
The wind industry’s victims have, therefore, been belted twice: once through their power bills, paying for the subsidies that resulted in the giant fans speared into their backyards; and again, through their personal loss and suffering, and the economic loss of the value of their (often unliveable and/or worthless) homes and properties.
The wind industry and its parasites were pretty quick to set the ‘rules’ in a way that means wind power outfits can operate around the clock, without any regard for the harm caused (eg, sleep deprivation) – ‘rules’ maliciously designed to discriminate against wind farm neighbours.
These are the boys who have sought to evade and avoid any kind of reasonable controls on their operations.
From the outset, they’ve made every effort to ensure that irrelevant and, therefore, woefully inadequate noise standards were adopted and are maintained – for a chronology of wind industry deception on this score, see our post: Three Decades of Wind Industry Deception: A Chronology of a Global Conspiracy of Silence and Subterfuge.
And these boys have doggedly refused to cooperate whenever victims are trying to impose even those woeful standards; and who now – like the Clean Energy Council and the Australian Wind Alliance – are quick to pooh-pooh Steven Cooper’s study on obviously spurious grounds; and who will fight tooth-and-nail to prevent any possibility of the same thing ever happening again.
So, it seems only fair that wind power outfits – who benefit from the largest single industry subsidy scheme in the history of the Commonwealth – see some of the value of the REC Tax/Subsidy (that they would otherwise keep for themselves) get siphoned off to compensate those whose lives and interests they’ve bent over backwards to destroy.
It also seems more than fair and reasonable to have the Federal Government establish, and properly fund, a body (the National Industrial Noise Authority, discussed above) that will enforce a uniform industrial noise standard – carefully designed by people like Colin Hansen and Steven Cooper – at wind farms; and ALL other industrial operations.
This body, and its rules, should not be allowed to distinguish between noise sources; so that a Coal-Seam-Gas Plant or Gas Turbine Power Generator will be subject to the same standard, rules of operation and penalties as wind farm operators, which – unlike many other noise sources, like airports and live music venues – currently operate around the clock, with complete impunity. And, worse, with the complete endorsement of State “regulators”, like the South Australian EPA that runs in lockstep with the wind industry’s pet acoustic consultants, who, rather helpfully, wrote the “standards”, which the EPA happily fails to enforce (see our post here).
This is not just about setting up another regulator; it’s about overcoming institutional corruption and systemic regulatory failure, in order to ensure that the long-standing, common law rights of Australian citizens’ to live in, use and enjoy their homes and properties are protected and preserved. The people of this Country of ours deserve nothing less; wherever they live; and whatever the noise source (see our post here).
Remember, governments set this mess up in the first place; and, therefore, it is well within their power to clean it up and put things right.
And now is the hour.
Fortunately, all these matters and more are on the radar and squarely in the sights of the Senate Select Committee, its terms of reference including the following:
(1) That a select committee, to be known as the Select Committee on Wind Turbines be established to inquire into and report on the application of regulatory governance and economic impact of wind turbines by 24 June 2015, with particular reference to:
(b) how effective the Clean Energy Regulator is in performing its legislative responsibilities and whether there is a need to broaden those responsibilities;
(c) the role and capacity of the National Health and Medical Research Council in providing guidance to state and territory authorities;
(d) the implementation of planning processes in relation to wind farms, including the level of information available to prospective wind farm hosts;
(e) the adequacy of monitoring and compliance governance of wind farms;
(f) the application and integrity of national wind farm guidelines;
(i) any related matter.
If, like those unfortunates at Cape Bridgewater, you are suffering from, or are threatened by, turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound – then you’ve got chance to have your say on:
- the ‘standards’ and planning ‘controls’ that are so lax as to be risible;
- the callous conduct of wind power outfits, like Pac Hydro & Co;
- the institutional corruption that not only permits, but which actively defends that conduct;
- the losses you have suffered, or are likely to suffer, as a result of the above;
- why there should be mandatory compensation payable to wind farm neighbours for all such losses (incurred or anticipated) caused by wind power generators; and
- that the compensation payable should come from a fund set-up through a mandatory levy placed on the RECs received by all wind power generators;
- the need for, and merits of, establishing a properly funded National Industrial Noise Authority to protect common law property rights; and
- the need for a proper standard for that body to enforce – a standard that actually protects peoples’ common law rights to sleep in, and otherwise enjoy, their homes.
So why not get in there and hammer them, by dropping a detailed submission to the Senate Inquiry along those lines?
Note that the opportunity to make submissions to the Committee ends on 4 May 2015. See the link here.