WINDWEASELS….and How They Intend to Steal Your Home & Your Property Rights….

How Wind Farm Subsidies are Used to Steal People’s Homes

money pit

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In two well-drawn pieces, Jamin Hübner throws light on the greatest economic and environmental fraud of all time. His insight and clarity of expression are notable; and so is his particular focus on the fact that the massive and endless subsidies being thrown at wind power outfits (to make ‘possible’, the otherwise impossible) has the insidious and unjustified result of destroying the value of neighbours’ properties; or as Jamin puts it – “wind energy is one of the most efficient ways of depreciating land“.

Some might call it ‘appropriation by stealth’, we call it ‘state-sponsored theft’.

Wind farms the worst idea since Cash for Clunkers
The Daily Republic
Jamin Hübner
29 April 2015

Remember Cash for Clunkers? That 2009 government program that spent $6 billion to save $1 billion? Imagine walking up to a person and saying, “I want to save some money; I’ll give you six dollars if you give me one dollar back.” Genius. Leave it to Congress to devise (and enact) such brilliance.

There are dozens of government programs like these — all failures. The reason why is easy to understand: the government has no money of its own. It can only take from others and “give” some of it back. A full return is impossible, since this process of organized theft costs money itself. The end result is a net loss — regardless of how many jobs were temporarily created.

Wind farms is another such program. I didn’t realize this at first when witnessing their construction near Tripp (and soon to be Bon Homme County, where I was raised).

I used to think wind farms were about electricity … until I realized:

  1. Few, if any, wind farms bring electricity to an area that does not already have it. It’s too much work and money to build an entire electrical grid from the ground up. Wind energy is “supplemental,” not essential.
  2. Wind farms are subsidized by the government precisely because they generate a loss. Wind farms have to be paid to operate. People, uncoerced and unbribed, do not want wind farms because if they did, they would build them on their own like any other product in the free market.
  3. Wind farms function as a tax deduction for the wealthy — which is why they are built in the first place. Warren Buffett says it best: “I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate … on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.” Exactly. Wind energy is a siphoning mechanism that offsets taxes and puts federal money into political and corporate pockets. Electricity and lease-agreement royalties are only a byproduct (and a great public cover). Proof of this is that wind farm production nearly stops every time the production credit gets suspended or canceled by Congress.

I use to think wind farms were “green energy” … until I realized:

  1. Hundreds of thousands of birds (and even more bats) die each year from wind turbines.
  2. At 450 to 500 feet tall, wind farms are a pilot’s nightmare (recall the death of four air passengers near Highmore last year). Crop dusting has now become a risky and complicated agricultural venture.
  3. Wind turbines are made of heavy gauge metal and concrete — transported across the nation with the heaviest gas-guzzlers of machinery. While not as bad as Al Gore’s private jet, the carbon footprint is anything but green.
  4. Local soils are depleted because of underground vibrations, audible and inaudible low-frequency noise (“infrasound”) and electromagnetic radiation from power cables that drive away earthworms and other local organisms, the same way loud marine motors drive away fish.
  5. Wind energy cannot be stored (e.g., batteries) and can only harness wind speeds within a tight range.
  6. Chances are, there will be no incentive to remove the turbines once the temporary government funds disappear. Massive steel towers rusting over decades in agricultural fields are not very “green.”

I used to think wind farms supported local energy … until I realized:

  1. A substantial percentage of wind farms are owned by overseas investors/corporations. This is not evident until the initial developers literally “sell the farm” after having built it.
  2. Wind turbines are typically not built by local construction workers and materials.
  3. Because of noise, adverse health effects (e.g., loss of sleep), visual pollution (bright red lights at night and shadow-flicker during mornings/evenings) and all other related liabilities (e.g., shoddy 30- and 65-year wind right contracts), wind energy is one of the most efficient ways of depreciating land.
  4. Small communities are divided, not united, over wind farm projects. One only has to read the Avon Clarion editorials for March and April to witness such intensity and strife. This isn’t to mention the deceptive methods of obtaining wind rights (wind developers put snake-oil salesmen to shame).

At the end of the day, it is not politics or science that determine how wind farms should develop. It is the right to private property. If some people don’t care about the noise, shadows and flashing lights, no problem. But for those who do, they should be justly compensated to the extent that their rights are violated. As Supreme Court Justice Andrew Napolitano observed in “It’s Dangerous to Be Right When the Government is Wrong,” “If you lived in a very crowded area, would the government be justified in preventing you from blaring extraordinarily loud music at midnight, or at least requiring you to pay “damages” to your neighbors for doing so?

“Certainly, by playing obnoxious music, you are diminishing your neighbors’ natural right to the use and enjoyment of their property. And over time, if you were habitually noisy, then most likely would decrease the market value of their property. Thus, although the government could not criminalize this kind of expression, it would be more than justified in making it actionable, or in other words, the basis for lawsuit.”
The Daily Republic

Dr Jamin Hubner

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Let’s talk about money and wind farms
The Daily Republic
Jamin Hübner
14 August 2015

On April 29, The Daily Republic published my column, “Wind Farms: The Worst Idea Since Cash for Clunkers.” Since then, there have been several local responses to both my article and to criticism of wind energy in general. Allow me to briefly focus on two items.

I reminded readers that (all things considered) government programs cost greater than what such programs “produce.” Subsidies equal (inherently inefficient) income redistribution. The government cannot “pull a rabbit out of a hat.” In a May 14 column for The Daily Republic, Anthony Rezac essentially reached into a hat and proclaimed, “oh yes it can.” I will leave him to that imaginary world.

By June 8, the CEO of American Wind Association finished crafting a remarkably misleading piece of political prose for the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. Like Rezac and others, the majority of anti-wind concerns were casually dismissed while strings of dollar bills were lowered into readers’ faces and swung repeatedly (perhaps this would silence the critics). But, no—no fires were put out, and I might suggest that waving a dismissive hand at South Dakotans as if they were too gullible to care is not a particularly good strategy.

So, since all that pro-wind advocates seem capable of consistently conversing about is money, let’s talk about money and wind farms.

First, to repeat, wind farms have to be subsidized because they generate such a huge financial loss, and no one in the free market is silly enough to build them from their own resources. In Buffett’s words, “they don’t make sense without the tax credit.” It is precisely because of this monetary loss that pro-wind advocates have to resign to exaggerated estimates, numerical figures, and macro-level statistics (absent of micro-level realities) in the first place. They are on the defensive for good reasons.

Second, by comparison, wind energy is the most financially wasteful government-sponsored energy program in existence. This was ably demonstrated in a 2010 study conducted by Simmons et. al. for Utah State University. One key finding was, “In 2010 the wind energy sector received 42 percent of total federal subsidies while producing only 2 percent of the nation’s total electricity. By comparison, coal receives 10 percent of all subsidies and generates 45 percent and nuclear is about even at about 20 percent.”

These figures have not significantly improved today. And yet we are supposed to believe Tom Kiernan’s claim that wind energy will soon “compete” with other sources of energy? Like a tricycle in Nascar.

Third, claiming American wind energy helps the American economy by being distinctively “local” is absurd. Between 75-90 percent of wind farms are owned by foreign corporations/investors, and more than 60 percent of wind turbines are manufactured by foreign companies, according to Choma. American wind energy is as American as a pair of shoes labeled “Made in China.”

Fourth, property owners who have sold their wind rights may never earn their royalties fast enough to cover the loss in property values from owning them. In other words, those who are supposed to be making millions, don’t. (You can find this out yourself simply by asking around.) None of the financial figures produced by the AWA or — to my knowledge, by any pro-wind advocate — takes into full account this central negative factor: depreciation of land. This is significant not only because of the amount of depreciation for land near and under wind farms (which is high), but because of the ever-increasing value of land (amplifying the losses).

More than a half-dozen independent studies conducted by appraisers and university-sponsored groups in the last decade found a 15-59 percent decrease in property values on or near wind farms (see McCann Appraisal LLC, summaries). (Predictably, pro-wind studies creatively generate data with lower estimates).

Combined with 30-40 percent income tax on earnings from wind royalties, shoddy contracts often not inflation-adjusted and dependent on Washington’s empty wallet (and irrational politics), certain land-owners with wind farms ultimately earn pennies instead of millions over the long haul. (This is what you won’t hear when signing a 30- or 60-year contract.) Even for the lucky few in better situations, the profits still don’t add up to the glorious estimates because of these losses.

Fifth, because of this liability, investors will go elsewhere to invest their money (as will families in local communities). Few want to live on or near a wind farm, and no investor wants to invest in land that has any potential for significant depreciation. (And this is true whether land actually depreciates or not; ambiguity is enough to stop investors).

Sixth, as mentioned above, wind-farm developers’ numbers (whether royalty estimates, long term sales, “bringing money to the community,” etc.) are so out of touch with reality that it’s hard to even keep a straight face. Speaking of, Kiernan in his article even claims wind energy will contribute to the prevention of “a total of 22,000 premature deaths by mid-century” via cleaner air. What’s next? The vibration from turbines will cure constipation? Happy day, Farmer Joe.

Space does not allow for seventh, eighth, etc. But, wind energy advocates should at least pause before mindlessly regurgitating monetary figures in public and proclaiming everyone a financial winner with wind farms. Nothing is free, and the monstrous costs of wind energy are coming to the light year after year.
The Daily Republic

thief

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Dr. Sarah Laurie sticks up for Victims of Bad Gov’t Policies, re: Wind Turbines!

Senate Wind Farm Inquiry – Dr Sarah Laurie says: “Kill the Noise & give Neighbours a Fair Go”

senate review

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The Senate Inquiry has had to wade through a fairly pungent cesspit of ‘material’ dropped on it by the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers. No doubt to their great relief (or, in the case of wind industry stooge, Anne Urquhart, infuriation) the Senators have heard from a raft of genuine and highly qualified people, who are clearly dedicated to protecting their fellow human beings – rather than ridiculing, denigrating or deriding them as “anti-wind farm wing-nuts” or “Dick Brains“.

One of those rare breaths of empathetic fresh air arrived before the Committee in the form of Dr Sarah Laurie (one of STT’s ‘Australians of the Year); and a Champion for human health and human rights.

Sarah has been out to protect people from all manner of excessive industrial noise since she pitched up with the Waubra Foundation in 2010.

In the finest tradition of what made (and STT would like to think still makes) Australia a decent place for all comers, Sarah has thrown everything she’s got at getting a solid set of truly relevant noise regulations – that will actually be enforced – with one thing in mind: a “fair go” for all.

STT’s covered the concept of a National Noise Regulator, with the sort of teeth needed to prevent industries of all descriptions – not just wind power outfits –  from destroying peoples’ rights to sleep, live in and otherwise enjoy their homes, a couple of times:

Top Acoustics Professor Calls for Full Compensation for Wind Farm Victims, as Council Calls for “National Noise Cops”

Alan Moran: on the Insane & Pointless Cost of Wind Power

Here’s Dr Laurie detailing to the Inquiry the common-sense-concept of having one noise rule for all.

Senate Select Committee on Wind Turbines – 29 May 2015

LAURIE, Ms Sarah, Chief Executive Officer, Waubra Foundation

CHAIR: Welcome. Could you please confirm that information on parliamentary privilege and the protection of witnesses in evidence has been provided to you?

Ms Laurie: Yes, it has.

CHAIR: Thank you. I now invite you to make a brief opening statement. At the conclusion of your remarks I will invite members of the committee to put questions to you.

Ms Laurie: Thank you, Senators, for the invitation to attend this Senate inquiry into regulatory issues relating to industrial wind turbines.

The systemic regulatory failure with respect to the way industrial and environmental noise pollution is regulated in Australia is not confined to wind turbine noise. As you would have seen from the submissions of the Wollar Progress Association; and residents living near the coalmines in the Upper Hunter region and residents of Lithgow impacted by coal fired power stations and extractor fan noise and vibration. Their stories, both with respect to the range and severity of symptoms and the way they are treated by the noise polluters and the government regulatory authorities, are all too familiar to the growing numbers of rural residents living near industrial wind power generators.

Once sensitised, residents affected by infrasound and low-frequency noise from coal fired power stations find they also react to wind turbines in the same way. The body and the brain do not care about the source of the sound and vibration. The reactions are involuntary and hardwired, and part of our physiological fight/flight response.

At the heart of this systemic regulatory failure of environmental noise pollution is the failure of the planning and noise pollution regulations, because they all fail to varying degrees to predict, measure and regulate the excessive noise and vibration in the lower frequencies—in the infrasound and low-frequency noise regions, specifically between 0.1 and 200 hertz. These regulations also permit levels of audible noise which are guaranteed to cause adverse impacts because they are so much higher than the very quiet background noise environments in rural areas. These rules are not fit for purpose, and guarantee that some residents will be seriously harmed.

There has been pretence that there is no evidence of harm at the levels of infrasound and low-frequency noise being emitted. This is untrue. There is an extensive body of research conducted by NASA and the US Department of Energy 30 years ago, which: established direct causation of sleep disturbance and a range of physiological effects euphemistically called ‘annoyance’; acknowledged that people became sensitised or conditioned to the noise with ongoing exposure; and recommended exposure thresholds in order to ensure residents were protected from harm directly caused by this pulsing infrasound and low-frequency noise.

This research was conducted in residents living with sound and vibration from military aircraft, from gas and from wind turbines. Small rooms facing onto the noise source were described as being the worst. Residents described feeling unpleasant sensations at levels where the sound could not be heard but could still be perceived. These recommended exposure limits and the evidence of direct causation were widely known at the time but appeared to be ignored by noise pollution regulatory authorities and acousticians ever since and have never been adopted. This is a serious failure of the professional and ethical responsibilities of the acoustics profession.

Many medical practitioners remain completely ignorant of the effects of excessive noise in the lower frequencies, other than acknowledging that excessive night time noise could cause sleep disturbance which, if prolonged, could cause serious harm to physical and mental health. They do not realise that the neurophysiological stress, the cardiovascular pathology, the mental health pathology, and the cancers and chronic infections resulting from immunosuppression are all related to chronic sleep deprivation and chronic stress. Both these are designated as indirect effects from noise pollution by some, including the NHMRC in their 2010 rapid review.

However, the effects of chronic sleep deprivation are anything but indirect, as the UN committee against torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment has specifically acknowledged. In addition, there is a substantial body of research which has established a disease complex called vibroacoustic disease, also caused by excessive infrasound and low-frequency noise. Most of that research has been done in an occupational setting. This disease causes permanent damage to a variety of organs and tissues including, for example, damage to cardiac valves from thickened collagen, which is now being reported in residents living near industrial wind turbines in Germany and in Australia. It is concerning that in Portugal this pathology has been identified in a child exposed to excessive infrasound and low-frequency noise in utero and in his early years. People living near coalmines in the Upper Hunter have also started to report pathology consistent with vibroacoustic disease.

Also of concern are the unexplained and life-threatening adrenaline surge pathologies being reported by residents living near coalmines and industrial-scale wind turbines in Canada and Australia: takotsubo heart attacks and acute adrenal crises with reported blood pressures well over 200 millimetres of mercury systolic. There is a concern among some cardiologists with an interest in takotsubo cardiomyopathies that excessive lower frequency sound energy could be causing some of these cases. At the moment we have minimal information about the exposure doses when these events occur but it is hoped that portable dosimeters which can accurately measure these exposures to infrasound will expand our knowledge.

In summary, there has been a fundamental failure of the health, planning and noise pollution regulatory authorities to listen, investigate and act decisively to stop the predictable and serious damage to the health of vulnerable rural community members. The systemic regulatory failure is not confined to rural areas, however. The culture of silence—the use of gag agreements to silence both sick people and independent acoustic consultants—has meant that important scientific knowledge is kept out of the public domain. This problem is increasing in scale because of the increasing industrialisation of our quiet rural areas and because machines are getting bigger, so there is a shift in frequencies generated down to the lower part of the spectrum. This problem is not going to go away. Planning and noise pollution regulatory authorities are invariably physically located hundreds of kilometres away from where the adverse impacts are experienced and are not held accountable to anyone for the public health disasters in rural communities which their decisions are creating.

The National Health and Medical Research Council has gravely failed the Australian public and the governments it advises by failing to ensure that serious conflicts of interest were not prevented with their choice of experts for their literature reviews. These have had a material impact on the quality of the advice from the NHMRC and have led to dangerously optimistic predictions about the safe distance of impact from wind turbine noise, for example. This has been achieved by cherry-picking data, ensuring the goalposts for the inclusion of studies were extremely narrow, and even resorting to misclassification of studies. The only possible reason for it was to ensure these studies were never included because they would damage the commercial interests of the wind industry. Incompetence is another, perhaps less likely, explanation.

The human cost of the failure to protect people from excessive noise pollution, especially at night, is terrible. I have personally helped to prevent a number of suicides of people who were utterly desperate because of the consequences of excessive noise pollution and who reached out for help. It was just lucky that I was available by phone or email and could help them find the help that they needed at the time. However, I am aware of others who did not receive such help and who did take their own lives. Sadly I have good reason to suspect that they are the tip of the iceberg and there will be more.

We need systemic regulatory reform and we need it now across all noise and vibration sources. The current system, where the noise polluters pay the acousticians handsomely to investigate, is not working to protect public health. He who pays the piper calls the tune. We also need tightly targeted research to accurately measure the exposure doses of people reporting adverse impacts inside their homes and to measure objectively their reactions to that noise as well as their reports of their symptoms. We need a commitment from the federal and state ministers of health and the chief medical officers in each state that this health-damaging excessive industrial noise pollution will be dealt with to protect people from further harm. A national noise pollution regulatory authority with strong powers to investigate, regulate, conduct targeted research and set standards free from commercial conflicts of interest, which are then actively and transparently enforced, is required right now.

Finally, there is the matter of which ministers are the most appropriate to have responsibility for this issue. It is the World Health Organization, not the world environment organisation, that has issued major reports over the last 10 or 15 years, such as the 2009 Night noise guidelines for Europe. It is our strong view that this is a public health issue and therefore should be under the direct and regulatory control of ministers for health, not ministers for the environment. Ministers for health have a stronger direct incentive to help prevent disease.

Senator DAY: Thank you, Ms Laurie. You have been here all day today and have heard evidence from a number of witnesses. For me, being on this inquiry has been a bit like living in a parallel universe. We have had people citing evidence from all over the world about the adverse health effects of wind turbines and then we have had evidence from people completely dismissing any connection whatsoever. He who pays the piper calls the tune. I accept that that could explain some, but it would not explain all of it. Can you shed any light on the rest? Why are so many people—public servants and others—so dismissive of there being any health impacts at all?

Ms Laurie: I think there are a variety of motivations. I am quite shocked that even now not one health authority has gone and directly investigated for themselves—not one. I think that says it all, really, in terms of the responsibility of health departments. I think there is enormous ignorance, as I have said, amongst the medical profession. There is a bias against believing that there is a problem with wind turbine noise.

I think people come at it from a variety of different standpoints. I know I myself was very reluctant to accept that there could be anything wrong. I used to take my children to go and watch wind turbines being built locally near our home. I had no idea about any adverse health impacts from wind turbines. I have a lot of friends who are Green-voting environmentalists, very concerned about the planet, very concerned about their children’s futures. I wonder if that has something to do with it.

But, when you listen to the stories of people affected by noise when they are trying to sleep in their beds at night, it does not matter what the source of the noise is if they cannot sleep and they are having these other very distressing symptoms and deteriorating health. The people I speak to do not mind what the source of the noise is; they just want it to stop.

Senator LEYONHJELM: Ms Laurie, I have read your submission and I have heard your comments at various times. I am interested in your thoughts on this because you have spent a lot of time working on this. You are a medical doctor, aren’t you?

Ms Laurie: That is correct.

Senator LEYONHJELM: It seems to me that it is a well-established scientific fact that infrasound can cause human harm.

Ms Laurie: That is correct.

Senator LEYONHJELM: I do not think anybody disputes that, do they?

Ms Laurie: Some do. It depends on the dose and it depends on the exposure time.

Senator LEYONHJELM: Yes. That is where I am going. So infrasound can cause harm. It is also not disputed by anybody that wind turbines emit infrasound. Have you heard anybody deny that, apart from the South Australian government?

Ms Laurie: No. Increasingly now I think the comments are that there is evidence proving that it is in fact emitted.

Senator LEYONHJELM: It seems to me the issue is whether enough infrasound is emitted from wind farms, under some circumstances if not all circumstances, to cause human harm. Would that be the proposition?

Ms Laurie: I think that is right. It is certainly a dose response relationship. However, people living near sources of industrial noise talk at various times about audible noise that is clearly disturbing to them if it is above the level of their television. I think Clive and Petrina Gare talked about that in their evidence. For some it is the pulsating, radiating quality of the sound that penetrates into their home and for some it is the sensations that they feel, which might be correlated to vibrations. Steven Cooper’s work down at Cape Bridgewater went into that in the most considerable detail of anyone in the world.

There is still a lot we do not know, but it is the combination of the frequency that people are exposed to and the features of the house, the acoustic resonance that might happen in certain rooms. Even the position in the a room can have an impact, together with the individual’s susceptibility. But until we measure what people are actually exposed to inside their homes—the sound and the pressure pulsations together with the vibration coming up through the ground—we will not know what their exposures are.

Senator LEYONHJELM: You mentioned chronic sleep deprivation and chronic stress as being key elements in this.

Ms Laurie: Yes.

Senator LEYONHJELM: Is there any particular reason for that? The reason for my question is that we have had other witnesses mention the Canadian health study, which focused on annoyance, which may not include those things. We have also had people suggest it involves the middle ear. I think somebody suggested it relates to the inner ear. We are hearing from a witness this afternoon who thinks it has a relationship to the vestibular mechanism. So why do you think chronic sleep deprivation is the key to it?

Ms Laurie: I think there are four key areas. Chronic sleep deprivation is the most widely reported symptom, and that seems to be the thing that really undoes people. Chronic stress can be associated with that. If you are chronically sleep deprived, that in itself can cause a chronic stress response. However, the chronic physiological stress is also part of what we are hearing from people.

The Japanese study, the Inagaki study, which measured the brain responses of Japanese wind turbine workers when exposed to reproduced wind turbine sound, showed clearly and objectively that the brain could not attain a relaxed state. Those EEG studies are precisely the sorts of studies I believe we need to do inside people’s homes to measure what their brains are responding to, because the clinical stories that they are giving are very consistent—that they are getting a physiological response.

Sometimes it can be that they are waking up in a very anxious, frightened, panicked state, and that can happen repeatedly. One of my colleagues from America, Dr Sandy Reider, has talked about a patient of his who woke up repeatedly in that state 30 to 40 times a night. It did not take long for that combination of sleep deprivation and repeated stress to wear this person down. He left and came back repeatedly. He was fine when he was away. He came back and got the same symptoms. He eventually moved away and his health is now improving. So the two are linked but separate.

However, I believe the vestibular system is actually the mechanism by which the brain is being affected by the sound energy. So it is via the vestibular system. Professor Salt’s work has shown that, if you stimulate the outer hair cells in the inner ear, some of the afferent fibres will take that sound energy and translate it into pulses into the brain that stimulate the alerting response in the brain. I think that is really the crux of the physiological response in what we are seeing.

Senator LEYONHJELM: But we have heard evidence that obviously not everybody—in fact, not even a majority—of people exposed to wind turbine noise or sound are adversely affected. Dr McMurtry suggested it was somewhere between five and 30 per cent of people. If that were the case, it would tend to suggest that there is a source of individual variation and that something like the motion sickness mechanism, a middle ear or vestibular mechanism, might explain it. If chronic sleep deprivation was the explanation, I think you would expect—and I am interested in your thoughts on this—people to be broadly affected the same way, wouldn’t you?

Ms Laurie: No, because everybody is impacted to different levels by the sound. Perhaps some examples will help. There are some couples where one partner was affected immediately when the turbines started operating and for the other partner it was months or years before they noticed an impact. I believe David Mortimer has given evidence to the inquiry. David and Alida are a good example. David was impacted very early on, within days to weeks of being exposed. Alida was fine for four years, and now she is quite badly impacted. Everybody is different, and everybody has different susceptibilities. Malcolm Swinbanks has shared with me some research from the 1970s related to the size of the helicotrema, which is a little hole in the inner ear. The smaller the hole, the greater the sensitivity to low-frequency sound. Alec Salt’s work with guinea pig models has provided some confirmatory evidence of that. Apparently when that hole is blocked the sensitivity to infrasound and low-frequency noise increases markedly. I also have heard from pharmacologists, pharmacists, that if people are on narcotic medication for pain relief then that can increase their sensitivity to sound.

So, a wide variety of individual factors can influence that. From my experience there is a subset of people who are terribly impacted very early on. Those people are the ones who tend to present with acute vestibular disorder type of symptoms—dizziness and motion sickness, which can be accompanied by extreme anxiety. Those people often just cannot last very long, and they move if they can. Trish Godfrey is one who has given evidence; Mrs Stepnell is another. They would fit in that category. However, for people in the same house, exposed to the same levels, like Carl Stepnell, it took a lot longer. Eventually he was impacted but in a different way.

In understanding the public health consequences, when you look at the population surveys that have been done, just looking at the sleep issue, a number have been done in Australia, one by an Adelaide University master’s student called Frank Wang. It was a population survey out to five kilometres, and 50 per cent of the people reported moderate to severe impacts from the turbine noise at Waterloo. From that, Mary Morris repeated his survey out to 10 kilometres—a smaller percentage, because it is a bigger area, so you get the dilution effect, but nevertheless she found that people were adversely impacted in terms of their sleep. Some of those people have subsequently had acoustic measurements done inside their house, which has confirmed that they are being subjected to excessive levels of low-frequency noise and that infrasound from the turbines is present. These people cannot see the turbines. Sometimes they can hear them. But they are being reliably and predictably disturbed—for example, when the wind is blowing towards them or when there is a cold, frosty night, because that cold air acts as a blanket to keep the sound energy down and stop the refraction up. That was something that Kelley and the NASA research showed 30 years ago. So, we have a lot of knowledge about what the impacts are and the distance of impacts.

Senator LEYONHJELM: But I have one final question: you mentioned this distance out to 10 kilometres; I have asked Steven Cooper what he thinks is an appropriate distance for wind turbines currently being constructed, and he says that 10 kilometres is probably about right. What is your view on that?

Ms Laurie: It depends on the size of the turbines and the power-generating capacity.

Senator LEYONHJELM: I mean the ones currently being constructed—three megawatts—

Ms Laurie: Yes, for three megawatts, 10, just based on the reports from the residents.

Senator LEYONHJELM: So, 10 kilometres for three megawatts?

Ms Laurie: Yes.

Senator URQUHART: There has been some controversy over your qualifications and professional standing so, for the record, could you let us know what your standing and professional qualifications are now?

Ms Laurie: Certainly. I am a medical graduate. I graduated from Flinders University with a bachelor of medicine, a bachelor of surgery, in 1995. I subsequently did postgraduate training in rural general practice. I attained my fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners in 1998, I think it was, and subsequently was invited to become a clinical examiner for that college, which I did for a couple of years, until I became unwell. I attained my fellowship for the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine just after that, and I was one of the councillors on the South Australian Medical Association branch for a period of time, but that was prematurely cut short when I was diagnosed with an illness. I took time off and then subsequently had children, and I had intended to go back to work professionally as a country GP. A few other things got in the way, including finding out about what low-frequency noise is doing to people.

Senator URQUHART: So, currently you are not registered as a—

Ms Laurie: I am not currently registered to practise; that is correct. However, I am very keen to return. I really want to see some progress on this issue, because I do not want to abandon people who have invested a fair amount of trust and hope that things will change.

CHAIR: Just for the record: you have never been deregistered, have you?

Ms Laurie: I have never been deregistered, and apart from the defamatory complaint that was publicised and circulated from the Public Health Association of Australia, in which I believe the wind industry had a fair hand, I have never had any disciplinary complaints against me whatsoever.

Senator URQUHART: Thank you.

Senator BACK: Dr David Iser appeared before the committee in Melbourne. When did Dr Iser first report on what he believed to be the impacts and their causing of adverse health effects to people in the vicinity of industrial wind turbines?

Ms Laurie: May 2004 was when he wrote to Premier Bracks, Minister Brumby, Minister Delahunty and Minister Thwaites about the results of his population survey at Toora in Victoria. That was a world first. To my knowledge nobody else had ever done a population survey which demonstrated that not everybody was impacted but, of the people who were impacted, three were severely impacted, and I think five were moderately impacted.

Senator BACK: Did he report the actual clinical signs he was observing and did he validate medically the symptoms people were reporting to him?

Ms Laurie: He did in the sense that for some of them he was their treating doctor. In fact, that was why he became concerned about what was going on, because these people were presenting. People he had treated and known for a long time were presenting with these new problems, and some of them were very unwell, and that was why he did his research.

Senator BACK: That was the original work done. Can you tell me when the Waubra Foundation formed?

Ms Laurie: The foundation was established by Peter Mitchell in March or April 2010. I was invited to join in July or August 2010. I can give you the exact date, but I cannot remember it off the top of my head.

Senator BACK: We are actually talking about a six-year time gap between when Dr Iser first presented the population survey to the ministers of the Victorian government and when the Waubra Foundation was formed.

Ms Laurie: That is correct.

Senator BACK: Can you explain to me then why it is the Waubra Foundation that has been the butt of so many allegations and accusations of the spreading of fear if indeed Iser’s work was out in the public arena for six years?

Ms Laurie: I think there are a whole lot of reasons for that. I think it is a case of shooting the messenger—clinical whistleblowers—particularly if there are significant sums of money involved, as well as some ideology and concern about the environment. I think there are a whole lot of reasons that the message of the foundation has not been well received. And I should say that from the inception Peter Mitchell, as an engineer, was well aware that large rotating fans could generate noise, some of which was subaudible, so could therefore potentially have an impact on human health. So, from the beginning the foundation has been concerned about a variety of noise sources. We are concerned about the interface of the sound energy on people and promoting research that will help protect people. The source of the noise is a secondary consideration. We have been targeted particularly by the wind industry. If the coal industry and the gas industry were more aware of what we do, helping people directly impacted in communities like Tara in Queensland, up in the Hunter, in Lithgow, in Wellington and at some other sites, perhaps we would generate the same heat from them.

There is clearly a problem. The industry itself has admitted there is a problem. It is time that the facts were faced and we got some hard, objective evidence of what people are exposed to inside their homes, worked out exactly what thresholds are triggering this response and made sure that the noise pollution levels and vibration levels inside homes, no matter the noise source, do not exceed those thresholds.

Senator BACK: As a person with medical degrees and having been a fellow, as you have explained, of the college of rural practice and related areas, can you explain to me the circumstance of why you believe the Australian Medical Association has come out with its statement to the effect that there are no adverse health effects from industrial wind turbines in the face of evidence presented by peers within the medical profession refuting that.

Ms Laurie: I really cannot explain—I really do not understand—why they have come out and said that in the face of the clinical evidence that we know already about what sleep deprivation and chronic stress do to people. That position is not based on scientific evidence. The AMA have been repeatedly asked by people impacted by wind turbine noise to come and visit them, listen to their stories and listen to their own doctors. There are a number of doctors who have been prepared to stick their heads up above the parapet and say, ‘I believe my patient is impacted by wind turbine noise.’ Many of the people I speak to say that their doctors are not prepared to put that opinion in writing because they have seen what has happened to me and they are very concerned that they will be attacked, denigrated and publicly vilified and have their reputations smashed in the media. I can understand why the treating doctors are reluctant to put some of this in writing. For the Australian Medical Association to have come out with that position statement, in the face of the evidence that it was subsequently presented with, and refuse to either change it or investigate it, I think it reflects very poorly on the organisation.

Senator BACK: I have been nonplussed about it, but I just thought you might have had a more recent explanation, particularly given the history of some in the medical profession over time. Thank you very much and thank you for the work you do.

Ms Laurie: It is a pleasure. I should add that I have written on a number of occasions to the AMA and I am yet to receive any response whatsoever from them.

CHAIR: Ms Laurie, could you tell us when it was first known that people exposed to chronic excessive infrasound and low-frequency noise did not get used to that sound?

Ms Laurie: The first reference I can find is in Dr Kelley’s work, the extensive acoustic survey that was conducted in Boone County in America with NASA and, I think, 15 or so American research institutions—General Electric were part of it; there were quite a number of aero-acoustics and mechanical engineering university faculties involved. I was very interested to read that because on, I think, page 199 of that 1985 acoustic survey they specifically say that there are residents who have become conditioned to the sound—the later terminology is ‘sensitised’ to it. What that means is that they do not become used to it and they get progressively more sensitive as time goes on. The reason this is important is that, if you do not have sufficiently low thresholds set to protect people, over time they are going to get worse and we are going to have more and more people in our communities who are chronically sensitised to the sound. That really is a terrible thing for the people concerned because then they can pick up very low-frequency sound energy from other sources. They end up in a situation where they find it often very hard to sleep—they are perpetually sleep deprived—and they have a physiological stress response. They do not do well. They can become profoundly depressed and acutely suicidal.

One of the interesting pieces of research which a marine biologist and acoustician sent to me the other day—and I believe Geoff McPherson gave evidence to the inquiring in Cairns on this—was done into wild seal populations in Scotland. The researchers subjected the seals to different sorts of sound energy but at the same levels. There was sound energy that had a rapid acceleration, so it was very impulsive. And there was sound energy which was at the same level but had a much slower rise of the impulse. They found that the seals that were exposed to the rapidly impulsive sound did really badly. They showed signs of being conditioned and sensitised to the sound. But the seals that were exposed to the slower rising sound energy at the same peak level became used to the noise. They were habituated to it; it just did not worry them. I think there is something very profoundly important about the rate of acceleration.

There is actually one paper—although, I have not managed to track it down—that was cited by Dr Norm Broner, who you will be hearing from this afternoon, and also Dr Leventhall. It was in Dr Broner’s fairly major review from 1978 of infrasound and low-frequency noise. This was a paper by a man called Bryan. It specifically talked about the rate of rise in acceleration of the sound impulse being important with annoyance for this particular case that he was reporting on. I do think there are scientific clues from a long time ago that help us to understand that, perhaps, it is not just the level but the rate of acceleration as well.

CHAIR: Going back to the AMA’s position statement, why does the AMA’s position statement not address audible noise concerns? Do you know?

Ms Laurie: Again, I do not know. You would have to ask the AMA. I think audible noise is reported by the residents to be a major problem. As I said in my opening address, if you have loud levels of audible noise pollution way above the background level, acoustic experts say that anything that is background plus five you are going to start to notice it. Background plus 10 is excessive and is going to cause an impact. Background noise levels in Australia might be 18, 20 dB—maybe 25. You have allowable levels in South Australia of 40 or 35. That is going to cause an impact, a significant adverse impact, particularly because this sound energy is being transmitted especially at night when people are trying to sleep. Quite apart from low-frequency noise or infrasound, if you have excessive audible noise then you have regulations that are not protecting people.

Senator LEYONHJELM: I would be interested in your thoughts again. You have spent so much time on this. In light of the fact there is a paucity of research, I think your investigations are as good as we are likely to get on some of these areas, so I appreciate your thoughts. You can get used to loud noises without becoming sensitised when they are not infrasound. I am a living example. I live under the flight path of Sydney airport. I have done so for 30 odd years. Unless it blocks out the TV, I sort of tune it out. Yet we are not hearing that people, or some people at least, are capable of doing that with very low-frequency sound. Do you have any thoughts on whether anyone can do it? And if they cannot, why not?

Ms Laurie: Professor Salt has done some interesting work looking at this. He uses an analogy which, I think, is a useful one. If you think of the cochlea as being a little bit like the pupil in the eye that regulates the amount of light that gets into your eye, then, in an environment with a lot of light, your pupil constricts, and so less light gets in. And the converse happens. In quiet country environments at night, when people are asleep, because there is not a lot of loud background noise in their environment, the cochlea opens wide open. What happens, according to Professor Salt, is that a higher proportion of the low-frequency sound gets through to the afferent fibres, which are stimulated and send a message to the brain, and that, we believe, is the basis for this waking at night in a panic state, or the disturbed sleep. As to the evidence that supports this, you might remember Mrs Gare talking about how she sleeps with a radio on and ear plugs in her ears. Having some additional noise helps to close the cochlea down, if you like, in terms of the amount of the very-low-frequency sound and infrasound energy that gets transmitted through the brain.

That is where I think EEG studies inside people’s homes would help. We cannot do to the people what Professor Salt did to the guinea pigs, but I think if you have the EEGs you have objective evidence of what is going on. If you have concurrent full-spectrum acoustic monitoring at the same time, then you can see what people are exposed to and see what the brain response is.

Senator LEYONHJELM: Full spectrum, and do you have any thoughts on this argument amongst the acousticians that every 10 minutes is all right—and averages and so forth?

Ms Laurie: It is rubbish. We are talking millisecond responses. We are talking of a stimulus response. So, no, 10-minute averages will not cover it. It hides the peaks. The ear and the brain respond to the peaks.

Senator LEYONHJELM: I have no better idea than you, but I wonder whether it is the peaks we are talking about, rather than anything else, that are responsible for these adverse reactions?

Ms Laurie: My hypothesis is that it is these sudden peaks. That is why I am so interested in this idea that where you have more than one wind turbine generator and you have the synergy of the different frequencies from a number of towers, and the pressure bolt effects that people are describing, I actually think that that is a very, very important point. People are reporting being dropped to their knees suddenly with pressure waves—big, burly farmers being dropped to their knees. That is not happening at developments where there is only one wind turbine, in my experience. This is happening where there are multiple wind turbines. I suspect there is a cumulative impact from the forces.

CHAIR: Thank you for attending and for your evidence.

Hansard, 29 May June 2015

Dr Laurie’s evidence is available from the Parliament’s website here.

sarah laurie

New Movie, Kingsman: The Secret Service – about the Elitist, Narcissistic Nature of Climate Alarmists!

Kingsman: the most subversive anti-AGW movie

Anthony Cox

Some movies are unintentionally anti-AGW because they are so pretentious like Atavaror just plain stupid like Noah.

Some are subtle and sly in their critique of AGW like Interstellar, a great movie orCaptain America: The Winter Soldier another great piece of cinema.

But there is nothing subtle or sly about Kingsman: The Secret Service; this movie presents in Technicolour the awful nature of alarmists; they are elitist, narcissistic and misanthropic. And riddled in hypocrisy.

The villain is Valentine, played by Samuel Jackson. Valentine is another tech billionaire who despises his fellow man for causing AGW. His solution is to kill off 99.9% of the human population.

His sales pitch to the rich and famous is classic alarmist agigprop. Valentine tells them that humans are a virus raising the temperature of the living Earth. If the virus isn’t destroyed the planet’s fever will worsen and either the planet will fight back and kill the disease of the disease will kill the planet.

The idea that humans are a disease or parasite has underpinned the AGW narrative and is espoused by all the leading AGW scientists and particularly AGW’s many rich supporters like Bill Gates.

In Kingsman Valentine is seen convincing Obama of his vision which is ironic since Obama’s chief scientist, John Holdren, is an avid supporter of forced reduction of humanity. In real life Obama would have taking no convincing.

Valentine, as the archetypal rich supporter of AGW,  has a tenuous hold on real life. He thinks he is living in a movie and can’t stand the sight of blood even though he is prepared to kill billions.

Valentine is the perfect portrayal of the elitist loon who supports AGW. He has made his vast wealth from his society and now as a matter of vanity will destroy that society. The thought that his lifestyle will cease when the society is destroyed doesn’t enter his thinking. This is cognitive dissonance on a grand scale.

Valentine implants chips in the chosen ones so they can resist the doomsday device he has perfected.

In a delicious twist all the elistists, including Obama (and Prince Charles) literally lose their heads when the device backfires.

The movie wittily portrays the religious nature of AGW belief when Valentine tests his device on a bible bashing Southern Baptist church. The message is plain: when religion claims to be fact trouble is inevitable. This is what has happened with AGW: it is religion masquerading as fact. Armed with the pseudoscience of AGW rich crackpots like Valentine can live out their dreams. At the end Valentine can’t tell reality from his ego generated bubble of fantasy.

The movie offers no formal solution to the blight of public corruption by the AGW scam and relies on a steadfast and very aggressive secret organisation to violently eradicate the AGW zealots and hypocrites.

We should be so lucky in the real world.

DEBUNKING THE SCAM….

CO2 is a “trace gas” in air, insignificant by definition. It absorbs 1/7th as much IR, heat energy, from sunlight as water vapor which has 188 times as many molecules capturing 1200 times as much heat making 99.8% of all “global warming.” CO2 does only 0.2% of it. For this we should destroy our economy?

There is no possible “greenhouse effect” in an atmosphere. A greenhouse has a solid, clear cover that traps heat. The atmosphere does not trap heat as gas molecules cannot form surfaces as required for greenhouses. Molecules have to be in contact, as in liquids and solids like water and glass, to form surfaces.

The Medieval Warming from 800 AD to 1300 AD Micheal Mann erased to make his “hockey stick” was several degrees warmer than anything “global warmers” fear. It was the longest time, 500 years, of peace with great abundance for all.

Vostock Ice Core data analysis show CO2 increases follow temperature increases by 800 years 19 times in 450,000 years. That means temperature change is cause and CO2 change effect; not the other way around. This alone refutes the anthropogenic global warming concept.

Methane is called “a greenhouse gas 20 to 500 times more potent than CO2,” depending on who is raving, but it is not per the on-line absorption chart at the American Meteorological Society. It has an absorption profile very similar to nitrogen which is classified “transparent” to IR, heat waves and is only present to 18 ppm. “Green vegans” blame cow flatulence for global warming in their war against eating meat.

Carbon combustion generates 80% of our energy. Control and taxing of carbon would give the elected ruling class more power and money than anything since the Magna Carta of 1215 AD.

Most scientists and science educators work for tax supported institutions. They are eager to help government raise more money for them and they love being seen as “saving the planet.”

Google “Two Minute Conservative,” and you will be applauded when you speak truth at your next dinner party, barbecue or church picnic.

The Utopia Experiment: The Inconvenient Truth/Reality of Greenism…

Reblogged from Junk Science http://junkscience.com/type/link/

The inconvenient truth/reality of Greenism and its close relatives self-sustainability, simpler lifestyles and general hippie-ness. It short, it won’t work.

How do we know?  Courtesy of a group of bipedal lab rats headed up by oneDylan Evans, author of The Utopia Experiment”.  Evans was apparently upset by a lack of challenge in his academic life and decided to play house, the rules being that there were no houses or tech or hygiene because society had collapsed. Rather than move to a more survivable locale (think Thor Heyerdahl with the little woman in Polynesia through his book Fatu HivaBack to Nature), Evans chose a little piece of Heaven on the northern shores of the Black Isle, north of Inverness, Scotland to play post-apocalyptic eco-warrior king-guy.  In his own words from an article in the UK Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jan/31/i-quit-my-job-to-set-up-commune):

In early 2006 I was 39, living in Bristol and working at one of the best robotics labs in the world. I had become increasingly obsessed with what life would be like if civilisation collapsed, and thought that I could find out by setting up a community that acted as if it already had. I created a website called An Experiment In Utopia, and announced that I was creating a novel kind of community based on three main ideas. I wrote:

1. It will be a LEARNING COMMUNITY – each member must have a distinctive skill or area of knowledge that they can teach to the others.

2. It will be a WORKING COMMUNITY – no money is required from the members, but all must contribute by working.

3. It will be strictly TIME-LIMITED. This is not an attempt to found an ongoing community. The experiment will last 18 months. Members may stay for months, but may also come for as little as two weeks.

In a word, think of a cross between Plato’s Academy and The Beach.

After you’ve probably hurt yourself from shaking your head throughout the Guardian article, prepare for sore stomachs brought on by the laughs in the insightful review and comments in the Spectator (http://www.spectator.co.uk/books/9435652/they-sought-paradise-in-a-scottish-field-and-found-hunger-boredom-and-mosquitoes/) .

Had Evans and his merry band found a copy of Fatu Hiva (mine was a gift from a former teepee-dwelling personage heading back to the East Coast after suffering disillusionment brought on by Wyoming’s weather after mid-September) and studied it closely, they might have saved themselves some discomfort, halitosis and a nasty rash:

The book begins with Heyerdahl’s optimistic idea that paradise could still be found. By the end of the book, Heyerdahl bitterly concludes:

There is nothing for modern man to return to. Our wonderful time in the wilderness had given us a taste of what man had abandoned and what mankind was still trying to get even further away from. Progress today can be defined as man’s ability to complicate simplicity. Nothing in all the procedure that modern man, helped by all his modern middlemen, goes through before he earns money to buy a fish or a potato will ever be as simple as pulling it out of the water or soil. Without the farmer and the fisherman, modern society would collapse, with all its shops and pipes and wires. The farmers and the fishermen represent the nobility of modern society; they share their crumbs with the rest of us, who run about with papers and screwdrivers attempting to build a better world without a blueprint. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatu_Hiva_(book))

And yet the “no-carbon/low carbon/save the Earth/it’s our fault” drumbeat continues to reel in marchers of a very different type (apologies to H.D. Thoreau, who did it right – right close to town).

Agenda 21 in Action….Landowners Forced to Defend Their Properties From Gov’t Interference!

From David Honey
2131 King Street
St. Catharines, ON
L2R 6P7
Tel: (905) 380-3803

Letter to the editor:

On October 2, 2014, a group of landowners from the Niagara area approached the Regional Council expressing their concerns about how the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) has been overstepping their mandate and abusing their powers.
When the NPCA was first formed, their mandate was to control flooding and erosion on publicly-owned property. They were well-respected by the communities and they were doing a good job. In 1990, the Conservation Act was revised, and since then, the NPCA has been placing more and more focus on controlling what people do on private property. We have now reached a point where the NPCA’s abuse of power has resulted in many good, law-abiding citizens being dragged through court, losing their life savings and sometimes even their property, defending themselves against Conservation Authority fines and lawsuits.
In January of this year, more Niagara residents stood in front of the Regional Council’s Conservation Authority budget hearing, asking them to investigate and report on how many taxpayers’ dollars are being spent on litigation and appeals, and to have the NPCA’s $12 million budget slashed.
Last week, two dozen citizens who have been charged under the new Conservation Authority Act-often for simple offenses such as adding clean topsoil to their property-went to Regional Council hoping for assistance. When Council was asked what had been accomplished since the last meeting, with regards to helping these people, everything went quiet. Does this mean council has no intention of doing anything?
Regional Council has the right, and the authority, to control (and even dissolve) the NPCA. Surely, they can find the intestinal fortitude to reign them in and insist that this organization respect the rights of private property owners.
We need your help. Please contact your regional councillor and ask them to bring about change-to make the NPCA more transparent and more accountable for their actions. They need to stop abusing their power, stop bullying landowners, and stop spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars to drag citizens through court. Thank you.

David Honey, president
Niagara Landowners Association

Time to Put an End, to the Renewables Scam!!! Aussies to Axe the RET!

Lost In Translation: How a CO2 Abatement Scheme Became “Corporate Welfare on Steroids”

subsidies

Time to remember the original aim of the RET
Australian Financial Review
Danny Price
21 August 2014

The RET was intended to cut carbon. Opening it up to more forms of efficient generation would help get that result.

The debate over the renewable energy target has ended up exactly where you would expect a debate on subsidies to end up. The beneficiaries of the subsidy are taking the high moral ground while those adversely affected by the subsidy are crying foul.

We see similar debates in the agricultural sector. Australian farmers complain they face unfair market conditions because the international farmers they compete with have the protection of subsidies, while our government provides none.

In this case, the coal-fired generators claim they are finding it hard to recover their costs on existing investments while the renewable generators who earn a subsidised return, claim their future investments are threatened.

Both arguments are founded on the same concept – investment certainty.

What has been lost in all this debate is the original objective of the RET. The renewable industry has focused on the benefits it brings to customers by suppressing the price coal and gas generators can charge customers. But as PJ O’Rourke once observed about the US health system, “If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.” The economic costs of lowering the wholesale price charged by thermal generators by subsidising renewable generators will be enormous.

The renewable energy sector has cleverly confused the concepts of economic costs, which are the costs of the resources used to produce renewable energy, with prices. They do this to disguise the real cost impact of the RET on the economy and to make themselves a smaller political target.

RET never about pricing

The goal of the RET was never about suppressing prices, but this is now the cause célèbre of the renewable industry because they know this will appeal to politicians looking to reduce electricity price pressure. The RET was aimed at encouraging a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by actively promoting the, then-fledgling renewable industry.

The debate about the RET really should be re-focused on how we can achieve our environmental targets most economically. If we can minimise the costs of reducing emissions, then it follows that we are more likely to reduce emissions further, which Australia will inevitably be pressured to do at the Paris round of climate negotiations in late 2015.

More recently the renewable generators claim they are now cost-competitive with thermal generators. While these claims are probably overstating the relative economics of the thermal versus renewable generation, there is certainly less need to continue to subsidise investors in renewable generators as the RET has done its job in developing a local renewable industry. It is now time for the renewable industry to face competition and this competition should lead to lower economic costs and lower consumer prices.

This could be achieved by progressively levelling the playing field between all potential sources of electricity supply and demand so that all technologies can compete to supply emissions reductions.

Recent analysis of the opportunity to reduce the economic costs and price impacts of the RET by making it more technologically neutral, for example by allowing gas generators to compete with renewable generators and create partial credits under the scheme to reflect emissions abated, has shown that this approach can simultaneously reduce the economic cost of the RET by more than $1 billion and reduce prices for customers by more than $50 a year. This cost could fall further if other forms of cleaner generation could also compete vigorously with gas and renewable generators.

Part of the reason that this cost and price reduction occurs is that it makes use of existing gas capacity that mostly sits idle that could compete with coal under a more technologically neutral RET. This approach of broadening the RET to allow a wider range of technologies to compete to supply emissions reductions, is one of those rare no-regrets policies.

Competitive pressure

If no technology is able to compete with the renewable technologies (for example due to the risk of rising gas prices) then the worst thing that would happen is that wind generators would continue to be built. The only complaint that the renewable industry could have against such a proposal is that they would be subject to more competitive pressure.

With lower costs and prices from such a transformation of the RET, the government could afford to leave the target where it is and rely on the transformed RET to do more work to contribute towards the achievement of Australia’s emissions reduction.

Unfortunately, the only beneficiaries from such a transformation of the RET are customers and the economy and, sadly, there is nobody to advocate for these stakeholders in the current RET debate.

Danny Price is managing director of Frontier Economics.
Australian Financial Review

When Danny Price says: “The economic costs of lowering the wholesale price charged by thermal generators by subsidising renewable generators will be enormous” he’s playing as the master of understatement.

As Liberal Member for Hume, Angus “the Enforcer” Taylor has repeatedly pointed out, the mandatory RET is nothing short of “corporate welfare on steroids” (see our posts here and here and here).

Putting aside the hidden costs of providing fossil fuel back up to cover the occasions when wind power output plummets every day – and for days on end (see our post here); putting aside the need for a duplicated network to carry wind power from the back blocks to urban markets (seeour post here); putting aside the cost of running highly inefficient Open Cycle Gas Turbines to cover wind power “outages” (see our post here), the cost of Renewable Energy Certificates and their bedmate – the mandated shortfall charge will add a minimum of $39 billion, and – if the price of RECs reaches $100 (as is forecast under the current RET of 41,000 GWh) – up to $60 billion, to power consumer’s bills over the next 17 years (see our post here).

As Danny Price points out, the original purpose of (and justification for) the mandatory RET was the cost-effective abatement of CO2 emissions in the electricity sector. So Australian power punters – lumped with the task of propping up near-bankrupt outfits like Infigen (aka Babcock & Brown) via the redirection of $40-60 billion of their hard-earned cash over the next 17 years – might reasonably ask just how much CO2 abatement “bang” they’re getting for those very considerable bucks?

It’s the very question that Danny Price has been grappling with over the last few months.

STT followers will be pleased to know that Danny Price hates intermittent, unreliable and insanely expensive wind power with a passion – and that he’s been tasked by the Coalition with coming up with a workable method of achieving least-cost CO2 abatement.

Danny’s mission is to amalgamate the entirely unsustainable REC Tax – filched from unwitting power consumers and directed to wind power outfits – into the Direct Action policy, under which an Australian Carbon Credit Unit (CCU) will be issued to anyone stumping up audited proof that they’ve reduced or abated 1 tonne of CO2. The CCU will be tradeable on international markets and the equivalent of European carbon credits, which trade around A$8. Under Danny’s plan, RECs will be replaced with CCUs – and the subsidy per MWh of wind power will plummet from a projected $100 to less than $10. For a run-down on the mechanics of Danny’s plan – see our post here.

While seeing their subsidy gravy train slashed by 90% might sound a little like “bad news” for wind power outfits, earning CCUs comes with a BIG catch: CCUs will ONLY be issued where there is credible proof that the applicant has reduced or abated CO2. For wind power outfits this means coming up with actual proof (not smoke and mirrors “modelling”) that they have in fact reduced CO2 emissions in the electricity sector.

As youngsters sceptical of their peers’ more ambitious pronouncements say: “well, good luck with that”.

The need for 100% of wind power capacity to be backed up 100% of the time by fossil fuel generation sources means that wind power cannot and will never reduce CO2 emissions in the electricity sector (see our postshere and here and here and here and here and here and here).

E.ON operates numerous transmission grids in Germany and, therefore, has the unenviable task of being forced to integrate the wildly fluctuating and unpredictable output from wind power generators, while trying to keep the German grid from collapsing (E.ON sets out a number of the headaches caused by intermittent wind power in the Summary of this paper at page 4). Dealing with the fantasy that wind power is an alternative to conventional generation sources, E.ON says:

“Wind energy is only able to replace traditional power stations to a limited extent. Their dependence on the prevailing wind conditions means that wind power has a limited load factor even when technically available. It is not possible to guarantee its use for the continual cover of electricity consumption. Consequently, traditional power stations with capacities equal to 90% of the installed wind power capacity must be permanently online [and burning fuel] in order to guarantee power supply at all times.”

STT is happy to go all out and say that in Australia wind power requires 100% of its capacity to be backed up 100% of the time by conventional generation sources. As just one recent example, on 3 consecutive days (20, 21 and 22 July 2014) the total output from all of the wind farms connected to the Eastern Grid (total capacity of 2,952 MW – and spread over 4 states, SA, Victoria, Tasmania and NSW) was a derisory 20 MW (or 0.67% of installed capacity) for hours on end (see our post here). The 99.33% of wind power output that went AWOL for hours (at various times, 3 days straight) was, instead, all supplied by conventional generators; the vast bulk of which came from coal and gas generators, with the balance coming from hydro generators.

For wind power to reduce CO2 emissions in the electricity sector it has be a true “substitute” for conventional generation sources. Because it can’t be delivered “on-demand” (can’t be stored) and is only “available” at crazy, random intervals (if at all) wind power will never be a substitute for conventional generation sources (see our post here). Accordingly, wind power is simply incapable of reducing CO2 emissions in the electricity sector

The wind industry has never produced a shred of evidence to show that wind power has reduced CO2 emissions in Australia’s electricity sector. To the contrary of wind industry claims, the result of trying to incorporate wind power into a coal/gas fired grid is increased CO2 emissions (see thisEuropean paper here; this Irish paper here; this English paper here; thisAmerican article and this Dutch study here).

STT hears that Danny Price is well and truly alive to all that.

With Tony Abbott about to go on the offensive in his quest to wind up the mandatory RET (expect to hear more from the PM this week) the wind industry’s wild and unsubstantiated claims about CO2 abatement in the electricity sector provide the PM with just another reason to bring the greatest environmental and economic fraud of all time to a shuddering halt.

DannyPrice_banner1

Etowa County Residents Ecstatic! Wind Leases Terminated, Wind Pushers Leave Town!

Wind energy company pulling out of Cherokee, Etowah County projects, opposition says

 
on August 19, 2014 
 
Oklahoma wind farm.jpg

CENTRE, Alabama — Groups opposed to a proposed wind farm project in Cherokee and Etowah counties say the company behind the development has informed them that it will not be building a wind farm in Alabama.

According to a document filed July 9 in Cherokee County Probate Court, Pioneer Green Energy President Andrew Bowman signed a memorandum terminating a lease to about 1,889 acres of property, slated to be developed for the project. 

Mitzi Gibbs Eaker, with No Wind Alabama, said a similar agreement was signed in Etowah County.

Charlie Stewart, the attorney for Pioneer Green, had no comment beyond the filed documents. Company officials referred media inquiries to Stewart.

Pioneer Green Energy announced last year it planned to develop wind energy projects in Cherokee and Etowah counties, and said land leases had already been secured.

Five Cherokee County residents filed suit in an attempt to stop the development, and a group of Etowah County residents also filed suit, opposing the project in their county.

Pioneer Green later announced the $40 million Cherokee County project, which called for seven to eight turbines, probably would not begin construction until 2015. Company officials said the larger Etowah County project, which projected 30 to 45 turbines costing $160 million, probably would begin no earlier than the end of 2015.

Residents said they opposed the project for several reasons – among them environmental and property value concerns, noise, the change to the landscape and the long-term prospects of the development. “No Wind Alabama” took its name from what it said was the reason why wind developments have largely avoided the South -because of a lack of wind energy to supply sufficient power.

Pioneer Green officials countered that wind energy technology has improved to the point where wind could be used in areas earlier thought unable to support it.

Ginny Shaver, a Leesburg resident who opposed the project, said the turning point was in getting legislation passed calling for design specifications, setbacks and other regulations.

“When we got the local bills, that was the winning moment in my eyes,” Shaver said. “We had so much support from residents, in our groups, and it was just good, old fashioned lobbying from the people. From there, it was contacting legislators, making trips to Montgomery. It was literally a David versus Goliath thing. We didn’t have money, but we had people, and it was just a question of getting information out and educating folks.”

Eaker, who said she opposed the project because it would have negatively impacted her parents’ property in Etowah County, said she never felt confident of the outcome until attorneys informed her of the documents today.

“The residents are ecstatic that they can get back to their lives as normal,” she said. “We never felt confident. We always wondered what they had in their back pocket. It was only when we learned that the leases had been terminated that we knew it was really over.”