If wind energy were dangerous, we’d all be making pavlovas | RenewEconomy

If wind energy were dangerous, we’d all be making pavlovas

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The Senate wind inquiry has been told of extraordinary damage to brain and physical function of humans, kelpies and ewes. The men taking these claims seriously are being asked by Tony Abbott to help seal the fate of Australia’s renewable energy industry.

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The Senate wind inquiry has been told of extraordinary damage to brain and physical function of humans, kelpies and ewes. The men taking these claims seriously are being asked by Tony Abbott to help seal the fate of Australia’s renewable energy industry.

How dangerous are wind farms? According to Hamish Officer, who lives with his wife and children within 800 meters of five of the 140 turbines on the Macarthur wind farm in Victoria, if they were as bad as some people were making out, we might all be making and eating pavlovas.

“Our chooks lay normal eggs with yolks and whites despite assurances from some that they would start laying eggs without yolks,” Officer wrote in a submission to the latest Senate inquiry into wind farms. This, he said, had put “a serious dent in my plan to open a bakery specializing in Pavlova.”

Facetious? Definitely. Even Officer says so in his submission. But that’s because this is the 10th inquiry into wind farms in five years, and still there is no scientific evidence that wind farms do much more than reduce the profits of coal-fired generators and cut greenhouse gas and other emissions.

No scientific evidence maybe, but plenty of anecdotal clams.

Take this, for instance, from Rikkie Nicholson, an electrician and a self-described “wind factory refugee” from Pacific Hydro’s Cape Bridgewater wind farm.

Nicholson says the effects of wind turbines are “horrific and disturbing.” He told the inquiry that simple tasks such as putting in screws in door handles, tap washers, lubrication of door hinges, filling mouse bait stations and throwing a ball with his son—were “physically impossible to do when this industrial complex is operating.”

Nicholson told the inquiry he had been able to complete a Sudoku puzzle when travelling to Geelong, but struggled to complete them when at home and near the turbines. Even the dog was affected – the family’s kelpie needs to be lifted into their station wagon when the wind turbines were operating. But, when on holidays, the kelpie “could jump into my four-wheel drive after being only a week away from the turbines.”

Glenthompson residents Bill and Sandy Rogerson said the 32-turbine Oaklands Hill Wind Farm had caused an increase in the number of deformed lambs, and sent the lambing rate of their merino stock down to 37 per cent from 85 per cent.

Officer wonders why – if such experiences were rampant and real – were there not thousands of people marching in protest against wind farms in Australia, or for that matter in Europe, the Americas and Asia, where even more capacity has been installed.

But if the tales of tribulation from some wind farm residents have not captured the imagination of their neighbours or the general population, they certainly have captured the imagination of the Senators heading this inquiry, with the blessing and support of the Abbott Coalition government.

As RenewEconomy has pointed out before, in this piece on Tony Abbott’s wind energy witch-hunt, most of the committee members have already made up their mind on the issue.


Two, Senators John Madigan and Bob Day, don’t believe that too much Co2 in the atmosphere is a bad thing. Coalition Senator Chris Back says wind turbines have adverse health impacts from as far as 10kms away, particularly on ewes and cows that become “very agitated and will leave their offspring in fits of panic if they are in the vicinity of operating turbines.”

Another Coalition Senator, Mike Cannavan, says Australia already has too much renewable energy.

Why is this important?

Because right now, the Coalition government is negotiating with these very Senators to strike a deal to slash the renewable energy target, far below even the 33,500GWh compromise target offered by the Clean Energy Council and supported by Labor.

Industry Minister wants a figure of no more than 32,000GWh, and preferably a lot less. He is hopeful he can get the agreement of six cross-bench Senators needed. And one of those, Jacqui Lambie, issued a statement today saying she is on board.

Another of those Senators, who also sits on the inquiry, is David Leyonhjelm, who on Friday repeated his plan to give subsidies instead to hydro schemes that were built by state governments decades ago.

“The only losers would be the major wind-energy generators, which are eagerly waiting to build dozens of new wind farms in an effort to meet the target and get on the subsidy gravy trai” he wrote in the Australian Financial Review on Friday.

“Against that, many people are hoping these are never built, among them those who suffer adverse health effects from the inaudible infrasound they generate, plus those (like me) who hate to see our majestic eagles and hawks splattered all over the countryside.”

It seems Leyonhjelm and Back – not to mention the others – have already reached their own scientific conclusions. This is despite yet another study – this time from Canada’s Council of Canadian Academies – saying that the only impact that could be considered proven from wind farms was annoyances, and an associate lack of sleep.

As Officer notes in his submission: It would be funny if it was not so serious.

“Why are country people having the chance to make a living in an industry that produces clean electricity taken away by their elected officials who have created such an unstable investment environment in the large scale renewable sector that nothing is being built?

“This bastardisation of the RET goes beyond wind energy to all large scale renewable energy projects at a time when we as a nation are crying out for infrastructure projects that will allow us to remain prosperous and competitive into the future.”

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  1. Andrew Thaler 5 years ago

    Ask yourself this simple question… how many of the people on the wind-farm Inquiry panel and how many of the people writing in submissions with ridiculous claims of injury from wind-farm-tubulators believe in God.?

    How sane is a believing in a God? I’d suggest about as ‘sane’ as believing in an impartial, open and honest outcome from this Inquiry.. #:(

    • Ken Dyer 5 years ago

      Hang on Andrew, don’t you know these people are paid up members of the Flat earth Society. http://www.theflatearthsociety.org

      • Andrew Thaler 5 years ago

        Ken, I was trying to refrain from being too controversial in my comment 🙂

        I’m beginng to think the flat-earthers have all the fun these days.

    • Peter Martin 5 years ago

      Andrew if you have not seen the episode of QI with Richard Dawkins, look it up. He asks Tony Burke how old be believes the planet is and Burke refuses to answer. This is a man who holds one of the most senior positions in our society and hes non committal on the basics of high school geology. Im so with you!!

      • Andrew Thaler 5 years ago

        I have yes. Having a ‘bob each way’ on something like that is just ridiculous. I’m living my life of ‘sin’ by non-believing and when I’m about to croak I’ll convert to a catlick, think about a penance for 5 minutes and ask for forgiveness… coz thats how it works apparently.
        Btw.. I’ve only asked for 1 virgin… any more than one sounds like ‘hard work’.

        • Martin 5 years ago

          If generosity is allowed in atheism, extend a bit of it would ya, it’s a pro-evolutionary meme. But go all out criticising their coal investments of course. What a spew but that Abbott left the seminary…

  2. ChrisEcoSouth 5 years ago

    I have started to read the Senate proceedings, and I do have a background in electronics, and a background interest in behaviours of materials under resonance, and I would advise anyone, including Giles, to be very careful before supporting poo-pooing “no science” in possible effects of wind-farms on people and animals.

    1. One claim made was that the Australian EPA studies (including SA) *did not* take into account the effect of the dB ‘weighting’ made using traditional ‘noise’ measuring devices. In short, ‘noise’ is only considered on a scale within the audible range of hearing, and sometimes not necessarily even the whole range.
    In this case, weighted dB measurements (eg dBA) do not measure infrasound (eg below 20Hz), which means that it was not possible for infrasound to be measured anyway. As an electronics person, I find it a bit preposterous this occurred, but this was alleged in the Inquiry (p5).

    2. Frequencies from milli-Hertz to 10’s of Hertz, and up, behave in seeming unexpected ways due to nodes and nulls of resonance. So at the infrasound range, one building can cop a lot of resonance from some industrial activity, whilst a building closer in, does not. Its a bit like watching ripples on a still pond intersect from two pebbles thrown in.

    3. Wind-farms are *known* to have seismic effects!:
    The same resonances will gladly travel via the geologic profile, just like infrasound transmitted via earth tremors.

    4. Which brings us to dogs. They are known to behave strangely in association with earth disturbances. So it is definitely not a silly concept.

    I can state more about this. But don’t get me wrong, and go all “polarised” on me!: I am all for new wind-farms – but these reported effects need to be properly studied, quantified, and remediation made in the design of turbines as necessary.

    • David Osmond 5 years ago

      Hi ChrisEcoSouth,

      The reason infrasound isn’t usually measured at wind farms, is because whenever it has been measured, it has found to be barely detectable compared to background levels (with the exception of some rare down-wind type turbines made in the 1980s).

      For example, the SA EPA study at Waterloo (South Australia):


      “Overall the study indicates that measured infrasound levels at rural locations both near to and at a distance away from wind farms were no higher than infrasound levels measured at urban locations.

      The study also showed that both indoor and outdoor infrasound levels were well below the perception threshold and that the most obvious difference between urban and rural locations was that human activity and traffic appeared to be the primary source of infrasound in urban locations, while localised wind conditions are the primary source of infrasound in rural locations.”

      Or this Sonus report from Cape Bridgewater (Vic) and Clements Gap (SA), it is worth having a look at the summary graph in this report.


      “The measurement results indicate that the levels of infrasound in the vicinity of the two Australian wind farms are:

      – well below the perception threshold established in International research as 85 dB(G); and

      – of the same order as other International infrasound measurement results (a table summarising the results of the other measurements is provided in this study); and

      – of the same order as that measured from a range of sources including the beach, the Adelaide Central Business District and a power station.”

      • ChrisEcoSouth 5 years ago

        In short, they are perhaps measuring the wrong thing and/or in the wrong way.
        “the perception threshold” – well there is a problem right there!
        I’ve always said that I would’ve expected both accelerometers and seismic transducers be used to detect these frequencies, as opposed to air-pressure-gradient devices (read microphone technology), which is what I am assuming is used. Ie, pure ‘auditory’ methodologies do not give the whole picture. As I stated last,
        3. Wind-farms are *known* to have seismic effects!:
        For example:
        seems to be talking about ‘noise’ as in auditory stuff. By comparison, ‘sea-sickness’ is a different kettle of fish so to speak. I’m suggesting that wind turbine nuisance derives from ground vibration either induced or direct, and EPA guidelines do not address this.
        Psycho-acoustics is a complex area – I’ve experienced machinery noise that was relatively quiet, but would put me almost to sleep standing up!
        Brainwave functions act in the ELF range – expect strange psycho-vibrational effects.

        • David Osmond 5 years ago

          I hope we can agree that infrasound is not an issue then.

          Seismic effects I don’t know much about. However seismometers are extremely sensitive, so the fact they can detect a wind farm is hardly surprising. They can also detect people walking nearby, cars driving, small quakes on the other side of the world, and more relevantly, ocean waves, which occur at a frequency much more likely to make you sea-sick than those caused by wind farms…

          I should also point out there is very strong evidence that being told that wind farms will make you sick will make you much more likely to feel sick – the nocebo effect.


          • ChrisEcoSouth 5 years ago

            “Infrasound” is a bit of a misnomer. Cyclic activity in the given spectrum is normally referred to as Extra Low Frequency, or ELF. Such ELF can occur in air, earth or water, or all 3.
            Like all transducers, seismic ones can cater to a range of amplitudes, depending on design. A bit like the difference between a microscope and telescope – same technology, different amplitude.
            Also, amplitude does not have to be great to have a nuisance effect – it depends on the waveform. As I said regarding a certain machinery noise – doesn’t have to be loud but can induce a sleep state.
            I don’t have any problem with nocebo! I’m sure it happens! But I’d also be very surprised if there were not legitimate cases of ELF nuisance, and I’d like to think that such cases could be resolved via engineering remedies.
            So, I’m saying its not necessarily all turbines, but will take coincidental alignment of a number of factors to produce a bad resonance.
            Resonance is huge subject in its own right – yes, waves can have an ELF component, and are another example of the right frequency wave sets can send you to sleep – I’m sure other wave frequencies will wake you.
            Also consider a group of people marching in step can damage bridges and other structures – on the list goes.

      • Jon 5 years ago

        Lets also remember that there are many many workers at these wind farms who maintain the turbines and electrical components, and probably more importantly, earn an income from them, who don’t experience any adverse effects.

        • ChrisEcoSouth 5 years ago

          Of course. I’d say it is possible to get used to it, to whatever degree. A bit like whether you are a good ‘sailor’ or not. In the case of turbines, you get to go, perhaps, some distance away at the end of each working day.

    • Blair Donaldson 5 years ago

      Why are these claim only made where wind farm opponents have been actively spreading misinformation among communities?

      • ChrisEcoSouth 5 years ago

        I guess we’d need to see a tabulation to show the correlation, and I’ve no doubt it has happened. I can also say that it can be in the same way that some folk can get used to living next to a railway line or busy road, and some just can’t, and suffer something physical or mental as a result.

        • Douglas Hynd 5 years ago

          Simon Chapman has published an article on this – the connections are quite strong

        • David Osmond 5 years ago

          “There are some 32,677 people living within 5km of these 49 wind farms around Australia, and just 120 – or one in 272 – of them have ever made formal complaints, appeared in news reports or sent complaining submissions to government. Moreover, 81 (68%) of these are people living near just five wind farms, each of which have been heavily targeted by wind farm opponent groups.”


          • ChrisEcoSouth 5 years ago

            Yep – I agree with you. It is a heavily politicised area. I’m saying don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. There still could be some folk genuinely affected in there. From a scientific standpoint, I’d say fund a number of studies, that can collate the waveforms of turbines, at different locations etc. I think this is what Steve Cooper is trying to do, as mentioned in the Senate hearing.

          • Blair Donaldson 5 years ago

            Why Chris? Shouldn’t there be a credible justification for spending huge amounts of time and effort to find a testable link? So far the people involved in various trials have shown that they cannot clearly distinguish between infrasound emanating from wind turbines or other factors. Not only that but some have blamed wind turbines for assorted health conditions when the turbines were not actually operating. Where genuine studies have been done, it’s quite clear that priming people to believe in negative outcomes will produce that effect.

          • ChrisEcoSouth 5 years ago

            “credible justification” – that could be the last ‘study’ done by Steve Cooper at the behest of Pacific Hydro, with strict limitations set. The start of the Senate hearing doc covers that.
            “cannot clearly distinguish between infrasound emanating from wind turbines or other factors”
            Very true. That is the nature of ELF – we do not normally perceive it other than feeling motion-sick or ‘weird’. Field studies could be made to produce methodologies to quantify such psycho-effects, and correlate to what Steve Cooper calls “turbine signatures”.
            “believe in negative outcomes will produce that effect.” – True, however, it could be argued that some for some proportion it will simply bring forward their ‘negative outcome’, which without the ‘priming’ they probably would have had, but at a later date.

          • wideEyedPupil 5 years ago

            Why have non-English speaking nations like Germany, Denmark etc not ever heard of these ‘health effects of ultrasound’? They have a much larger magnitude of wind power installations and many were made when the turbines were a good deal more audible than today. Do their cows and sheep eat different grass which keeps their birth rates up? Maybe it was the fallout of isotopes from Chernobyl? When Australian Health Effect claims are reported to German farmers they laugh, maybe that good income keeps them amused?

          • ChrisEcoSouth 5 years ago

            Here are a couple of sites: one specifically to do with Europe only, and the other citing studies and concerns from parts of Europe. (I neither condone or discredit what they say) – but it does show there is some kind of concern in Europe.

          • wideEyedPupil 5 years ago

            European Platform Against Windfarms (EPAW),

            c/o Val Martin,
            Co. Cavan,
            Republic of Ireland.
            (English Speaking)

            Half the list of management/spokespeople are UK based.
            Established in 2008 (some thirty years after wind turbines got going)

          • wideEyedPupil 5 years ago

            The Society for Wind Vigilance

            Communications Director
            Beth Harrington
            647 588-8647
            [email protected]

            Looks like English speaking organisation to me 🙂

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            How many more studies should be funded, Chris?

            How many times does someone need to make the same measurements before we trust the measurements?

            We know that there is always a chance of error. Research generally requires a minimum 95% level of confidence. A finding that there is no more than a 5% chance that the results are in error. A second study with similar outcomes takes the probably of error down to 0.25%. A third to 0.0125%.

            At some point we are simply wasting money.

    • Coley 5 years ago

      While not being an electronics person I do live next to a wind farm.
      Prior to it being built? Anecdotal warnings of imminent disaster ? Scores
      Problems since construction? Nil.

      • ChrisEcoSouth 5 years ago

        Wonderful. Sounds like a good set-up. I’d be interested in the life-time of the main bearings, and what nearby residents may expect once they start to wear? ELF vibrational monitoring may be done on turbines to check bearing wear.

        • Coley 5 years ago

          TBF, the operating company has regular consultations with the local community and councils, but up to now I’m unaware of any complaints .

      • Blair Donaldson 5 years ago

        Same here.

    • Cooma Doug 5 years ago

      The noise from wind turbines is nothing compared to cars and trucks…nothing.

  3. Penny Osterhaus 5 years ago

    and,Andrew,how many have shares in coall and gas.Simple,isnt it.Short-term economics.

  4. Blind Freddy of Cairns 5 years ago

    Why not just get going with 32,000GWh, then in less than 18 months when Labor are elected and with the support of the Greens they can change it to whatever they like!

    • wideEyedPupil 5 years ago

      If it were that simple why not just leave it at 41 TWh and convince cross benchers except for the witch hunters not to vote on it.

      Industry says it want bi-artisanship. That means the nut-jobs in cabinet have a veto, even in opposition if they white-ant the RET bad enough. Time to move to a new mechanism, or additional mechanisms like reverse-auctions for CfDs.

  5. Mags 5 years ago

    How much recorded damage have wind farms done world wide – how many deaths, how many people sick, how much environmental damage??

    How much damage has coal done, how many deaths, how many people sick, how much environmental damage??

    How much damage has nuclear done….. you get my picture…..

    • Concerned 5 years ago

      Coal you ar ecorreect.Nuclear?Less than renewables.

      • P Wilkinson 5 years ago

        so, 7 mile island. chernobyl and fukushima never hurt anything eh?

        • Concerned 5 years ago

          Chernobyl.about 80 deaths,Fukushima ,zero ,both according to UN.Coal tens of thousands a year,renewables ,many many hundreds.

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            80 and 0.

            If you set your definition of “caused deaths” very conservatively.

            You have to overlook the deaths of all the old people during the evacuation in order to maintain your myth.

          • Concerned 5 years ago

            Oh my goodness.

          • Concerned 5 years ago

            Deaths for all forms of generation.



            UN report on Fukishima, nil deaths,no ongoing problem,never was any problem.

            And the deaths regarding evacuation and suicide are the fault of the authorities who stuffed up,nothing to do with nuclear power.



          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            Look, the only reason that people were evacuated from the Fukushima area is because the reactor melted down. They would have not been evacuated for any other reason.

            If you want to wear blinders and not admit that those deaths are tied to nuclear energy you go right ahead.

          • Concerned 5 years ago

            Oh dear.So the reactors melted down into the containment vessels.There was never any need to evacuate in the way it was done.Poor reaction by authorities.
            Fact is Nuclear is safer than all other forms of generation.Fact ,however does not suit the agenda.

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            Sometimes a bomb is found.

            People are evacuated for their safety.

            Sometimes those bombs are duds.

            Sometimes they aren’t.

            The intelligent thing is to evacuate.

          • Concerned 5 years ago

            Sad example of incompetence,lack of planning and safety plan.

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            “The root cause is “the evil at the bottom” that sets in motion the entire cause-and-effect chain causing the problem(s).”


            root -> scoot -> die

          • Blair Donaldson 5 years ago

            So how do you explain the tons of topsoil being collected and stored around Fukushima? Most of the time nuclear may well be safe but when it does go wrong, the damage can be severe and long-lasting. That’s the bit you miss.

          • Jenny Sommer 5 years ago


            How does PV kill people?

          • Concerned 5 years ago

            In my industry,safety,constuction,they fall off the roof,amongst other exotic ways of dying.

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            And they fall in nuclear plants as well.

            You well know that you avoided answering the question that Jenny asked…..

          • Concerned 5 years ago

            In all construction.

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago


            Now here’s my guess. If we had adequate data we would find the fatality rate lowest for utility solar, solar farms. Not a lot of big stuff being swung around on cranes. Most of the labor is done either in an equipment cab or standing on the ground. Most of the work is nuts and bolts stuff with small parts.

            I’d even suspect that roof-top solar is safe if being done by a licensed, insured installer. In the roofing business you do not let your crew on roofs without following OSHA regs. Insurance companies cruise worksites to make sure workers are tied on. Get caught, get someone hurt or killed and you’ve lost your insurance and destroyed your business.

            Next up. That’s harder. Wind might be lower than nuclear. Or not.

            The days of falling from wind towers and getting one’s tether caught in the rotor are over. That’s early days, small turbine stuff. Folks no longer work around spinning stuff while wearing a tether, they’re inside the nacelle with the normal sorts of non-skid decks and safety railings stuff that one finds in any “engine room”.

            But you know the real issue is nuclear fuel. Radiation. Meltdowns. Radiation leaks. Exposure to radioactive waste and used fuel.

            Those dangers are unique to nuclear energy. Wind and solar share none of those sorts of dangers with nuclear. A wind farm or solar array are not going to “melt down” and require evacuations and exclusion zones. We’ll never have to struggle to build an ice dam around a solar panel that went sour years earlier and has been spilling radioactive waste ever since.
            Nuclear is uniquely dangerous. Unlike anything else.

            Please do not attempt to tap dance around that.

          • Jenny Sommer 5 years ago

            At least someone dying on a nuke construction site sets back completion some month.

            Some Jumpers and even divers have died in nukes in France.
            Some have died in accidents, some from radiation, hundreds from Uranium mining. I don’t care, nuclear is going down anyways.

            People die everywhere. PV and wind is pretty safe.

          • Concerned 5 years ago

            I have provided you with two references to the facts.Up to you.
            Nuclear,doubt same going on what is happening Korea,India and China.
            And when Gen IV really comes on line,ultimate safe operation.
            And cheaper.

          • Jenny Sommer 5 years ago

            Fantasy reactors don’t count.
            PV will be cheapest.
            We mighy built a 5GW high altitude windplant for 1.5b € before. I doubt your nuclear phantasy plant will deliver…nuclear track record suggests otherwise. Negative learning curve and such 😉

          • Concerned 5 years ago

            You believe what you want to.I will stick with facts,not opinions and assertions,big difference.

          • Concerned 5 years ago

            Fantasy indeed.Nuclear in series production will be a fraction.
            Most when quoting PV et al ,forget the infrastructure neede,and the cost of the backup.

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            Nuclear plants have to be backed up as well. And since one cannot predict when they can go down reactors have to be backed up with spinning reserve.
            On a sunny day with no clouds around there’s not need to keep backup spinning. It can be turned off and fuel can be saved.

            BTW, both wind/solar and nuclear require storage. The world built a lot of pump-up hydro to time-shift nuclear output. That PuHS will be used to time-shift wind/solar as we go forward.

          • Concerned 5 years ago

            And really,it is mathematically impossible.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5bVbfWuq-Q

          • Jenny Sommer 5 years ago

            What’s impossible?

            Don’t be silly. I don’t know which fantasy reactor is your pet but you seem to be willing to bet our future on your fantasies.

            Let’s be realistic.

          • Jenny Sommer 5 years ago

            Read the nuclear industry status report.
            Stagnation is the word you are looking for.

          • Concerned 5 years ago

            China ,23 under construction,about the same approved.Korea completing one per year,and similar India.Stagnation?

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            Expected and scheduled closures are higher in number than the reactors under construction. If all the reactors under construction are completed there will still be a net loss in reactor count.

            Nuclear has been losing market share for a number of years.

          • mike flanagan 5 years ago

            And not one of them will be touched by insurance companies for public liability .
            Japan have one in destruction mode that some of their management team suggest may take 50 or more years to clean up and are demanding the tax payers support to implement and clear the devastation.
            The impacts of the collapsing of the Fukushima units are impacting the food chains throughout the north western pacific ocean and are now evident on the British Columbia’s and Californian coasts. Read the news aggregator ENENews.com , available on the net.

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            The Conca/Forbes article is based on bogus fatality wind deaths in which the definition of “root cause” is stretched very wind and very thin.

            A couple of people died in car crashes in the vicinity of wind farms. The assumption was that they were looking at the turbine and not the road. A snowmobiler ran into a wind farm fence. Someone snuck onto a wind farm and committed suicide. A display about wind energy fell on top of some Chinese officials. A three year old girl was killed while playing on her family’s wind tower while the pieces were laying around on the ground.

            What is not in any data that I’ve see is the number of workers who have died in nuclear plant construction. I’ve never seen a database include workers who have been crushed during plant repairs, who have been scalded to death by steam leaks, slipped and fell, etc.

            In short, the data stinks. It is so messed up that no factual statement can be made. We really do not know the relative safety of wind, solar and nuclear.

            Why you think GenIV construction might be safer for workers, and even operators, is beyond me. If one gets built it will still be a great big construction project with all sorts of opportunities for people to get injured and killed. And if one ever makes it into service there will still be plenty opportunity for falls, electrocutions, scalding, etc.

          • Concerned 5 years ago

            GenIV is an engineered safe operating design ,without the problems of reactors designed in the 1960’s.
            If built here ,I could pretty well assure you ,the construction would be safe.It is not hard.
            As national safety manager for an Australian Construction Company for 5 years,I brought WorkCover claims to almost nothing ,and recorded zero fatalities.
            It can be done.

          • Concerned 5 years ago

            And what is the significance of the video?

          • moosey 5 years ago

            You are correct, Nuclear is by far the cleanest and also the safest, it has killed a lot less people than coal ever has.
            And for those that say what about all of that really bad used nuclear fuel lying around after it has been used?
            Well it won’t be hanging around for much longer!
            When they use nuclear fuel, only around 5% of the usable energy is used first time around, the best method of handling used nuclear fuel is to recycle it, to get the other 95% of the energy still in the UNF.
            Read this document, it is where nuclear is heading and is also the reason why
            there are less light water, boiling water reactors being designed or being built in the
            future, fast neutron reactors are coming and they will eat up used nuclear fuel, they will recycle it for their own operation , what gets buried as waste in the future will be a hell of a lot less radioactive and for a much much shorter period of time.

            It doesn’t look good for Uranium miners or Uranium enrichment companies in the future though?
            The breakthrough with this is laser technology and it’s ability to selectively separate out any particular Isotope/actinide, most of the harmful actinides will be burnt in a fast neutron reactor as fuel, along with Plutonium, the only enriched Uranium will be a small amount which has been enriched to start the process, some recovered uranium 235 will be reused as fuel for BWR’s until they reach their lifetime use by date.


          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            moosey, nuclear seemed like a good idea several years back when wind and solar were too expensive. But since then the prices of wind and solar have plunged and are now far cheaper than nuclear.

            It will simply make no sense to spend money on nuclear energy going forward unless someone can find a way to cut its cost by 2x to 3x.

          • moosey 5 years ago

            I believe you are correct in some of your assumptions to some extent? but moreso about Solar, but not fully,
            Solar is great at solving peak loading, wind not so much because of timing,but there will still be a great need for base load power to supply industry reliably, neither of those two can supply power on a continuous and uninterrupted basis 100% of the time. especially before they have any sort of reliable and economic storage available, when affordable and reliable storage comes, it will help immensely, but the power required but industry has to be totally reliable and both wind and solar power have their downsides as far as supplying industry goes, but there is also one very big factor in the decision to go nuclear and that is getting rid of the wastes from previous years in an economically and also environmental way, this latest development of using laser technology to help recycling has come at a very opportune time.

            But there is also one glaringly obvious problem with your assumptions.
            Nuclear is already here in the world, they won’t be pulling these Nuclear power stations down and replace them with solar, well except Germany who now buy their power from France and guess where that power comes from?, I realise we are talking about are talking about Australia here!
            But if the rest of the world needs to rid itself of nuclear waste and we have the ability to take that waste from them and get paid handsomely for doing so, and then recycle it and use some of the recovered material like Plutonium and some of the actinides as fuel in a fast breeder reactor as fee fuel to produce cheap power, OK we would have to bury some of the shorter lived actinides in a deep repository but they are only radioactive for a lot less time than UNF and there would be a hell of a lot less of it as well, add to this equation the fact that we could also sell the recovered Uranium235 from the UNF, back to where it came from as UNF, meaning more money for Australia and also a great deal of work for us in the process, we will certainly need this work to counter the losses in the fossil fuel fired power industry, I have a very sneaky suspicion? this is exactly what the government is up to, they want nuclear here before solar, because it helps to provide money for the budget but more importantly “JOBS”,
            Solar can come afterwards, but I believe Nuclear will to come first, if it were the other way around then I believe Solar would stop any nuclear push in it’s tracks and then we don’t get to have both, we only get Solar which doesn’t solve the whole problem by itself and that would be bad economics for Australia.

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            Let’s put some prices on the table. I’m going to use US prices because that’s what I know best.

            New nuclear is the US would be well over 12 cents per kWh. The two new reactors being built in Georgia will produce at ~12 cents. If there are no further cost/time overruns.

            Those reactors received extremely favorable financing due to their starts during the recent recession. Future builds won’t get as good funding so expect any other reactors to produce electricity at over 12 cents. Which is similar to Hinkley Point at 16 cents. Those are subsidized prices.

            The cost of unsubsidized onshore wind is now under 4 cents/kWh. The cost of unsubsidized solar is about 6.5 cents/kWh.

            We can store power with pump-up hydro for about 5 cents. There are new battery technologies apparently coming on line which should store for about 2 cents with daily cycling. But let’s stick with PuHS at 5c.

            40% of our electricity used directly from wind turbines. 30% directly from solar. 15% from hydro, geothermal, biofuel at 8c. The other 15% stored wind/solar at 10c (mix of wind/solar + 5c storage).

            That’s 6.4c/kWh electricity. Compare to nuclear at 12 to 15 cents.

            Unless someone can find a way to cut the cost of nuclear energy 2x to 3x there’s no future for nuclear. A few countries will build a few more reactors and learn that they’ve picked an expensive route to new power.

            The US has closed some nuclear plants because they can’t compete. Their operating cost is too high, even though they are paid off plants. About 25% of US plants are in danger of going bankrupt. The others are more efficient and will probably operate until their licenses expire.

            Actually France purchases more electricity from Germany than Germany purchases from France. And Germany sells for a higher price than what they pay. Germany turns a per kWh profit.

            People have talked about how breeder reactors are ‘the answer’. But we’ve known about breeders for a long time and they haven’t been ‘the answer’ yet. Here’s what Wiki has to say…

            “After six decades and the expenditure of the equivalent of tens of billions of dollars, the promise of breeder reactors remains largely unfulfilled and efforts to commercialize them have been steadily cut back in most countries”. In Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, breeder reactor development programs have been abandoned.”

            I suppose if Australia wants to have a go at it, have at it. It’s your money. I don’t pay taxes there.

            I can actually see your current anti-renewable energy government shoveling money into nuclear.

            I suspect Australia is the one country where we may see large scale abandonment of the grid. Your government seems to be doing whatever they can to make electricity more expensive.

          • lin 5 years ago

            This news article does not agree with the “zero deaths, zero sick” meme that some pro-nuclear groups like to push.

            News 24 (SAPA), Mar 10, 2015: A total of
            1232 deaths in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture over the past year were linked to the nuclear accident four years ago, up 18% from a year earlier, a news report said on Tuesday. A death is considered nuclear-related if is not directly resulting
            from a nuclear accident but is due from an illness caused by
            prolonged exposure. Namie town, close to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, had the largest number of deaths at 359, followed by 291 in Tomioka town, which is also
            near the complex, the Tokyo Shimbun reported.

          • Concerned 5 years ago

            I will stick to facts,not opinion or assertion.http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/fukushima.html

          • lin 5 years ago

            you can choose to believe the nuclear industry when they say everything is under control and all is well, but there is a lot of other people who disagree.

            Check out some more “opinion” here



          • Concerned 5 years ago

            You should really work out the difference between assertion, opinion and Facts.I am quoting the UN report.
            You are letting emotion get in the way.

          • lin 5 years ago

            On 28 May 1959, at the 12th World Health Assembly, WHO drew up an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency so that the IAEA had power of prior approval over any research it might undertake or report.
            If marketing has taught us anything, it is that you can get “science” to give you any answer you like if you control the questions that are asked, and the IAEA’s prime directive is to bring the “safe atom” to the world.

          • Concerned 5 years ago

            Actually,I undertook post grad work in Safety last year,and part of which involved engineering regarding Nuclear Safety.
            Including a visitit and critique of ANSTO facilities.
            Modern Gen 3 and especially Gen 4 will be exceptional safe.
            In my profession facts matter, not causes with strange opinions and assertions suiting their agenda.

          • lin 5 years ago

            The nuclear industry has been promising safe reactors since they were first developed. What we have seen since then is fallible humans finding ways to subvert these “safe” reactors so that currently we have about a 1/75 chance of a reactor melting down, with about 450 more approaching expected design life, many of which have been granted additional decades of operation. The 1/75 number can only get worse.
            I will believe that new reactors are safe when they have been run for their design life, decommissioned and all of the waste products safely stored. Greed has an unfortunate way of circumventing the best intentions and planning.

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            If we’re going to be honest about nuclear safety then we need to somehow assure that nuclear waste will be stored safely until it is safe enough for babies to swallow.

          • lin 5 years ago

            Yep, about 10,000 generations of humans will live with the consequences around Chernobyl, Fukushima etc and the nuclear industry thinks that pouring concrete (life expectancy perhaps a hundred years) over the mess is a solution. We have no idea what technology or resources our decedents will have available to them, but there is no guarantee it will be sufficient to make nuclear waste safe.
            Humans are second-to-none in their ability to create a huge mess for someone else to clean up.

          • Concerned 5 years ago


          • lin 5 years ago

            Bye, and stay safe.
            In my area of postgraduate study (toxicology) I have found that it pays to treat information provided by industry about the safety of their products with some degree of scepticism.

    • Ken Dyer 5 years ago

      If a nuclear reactor and a windmill fell over in the ocean, the windmill would make a big splash……..

    • ChrisEcoSouth 5 years ago

      I fully agree with you! Get the Wind power in, but head off the “infrasound” problem now, before too many more are installed.

      • Dr George 5 years ago

        There is no “infrasound problem”

        1. The levels of infrasound (or low frequency sound) generated by turbines results in far lower exposure than many other environmental sources.
        2. There is no known or plausible physiological mechanism that would account for harm from sub audible / low volume sound.
        3. There is no evidence from current available epidemiological studies to link wind farms with health impacts.

        Scaring people with false claims about health impacts is however very likely to be harmful as well as dishonest.

        • ChrisEcoSouth 5 years ago

          Hi Dr George, If you want, please follow the rest of the posts I have made here. It outlines my position.

    • Chris Fraser 5 years ago

      They’ve already forgotten Morwell circa 2014.

  6. Chris Fraser 5 years ago

    Well at least the Canadian annoyance is probably real … which would include the feeling of annoyance you get when your neighbour has more wind resource than you, and the wind developer dismisses your land for hosting a couple of turbines. Only that ‘ka-ching’ sound helps you get to sleep.

  7. Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

    ” Coalition Senator Chris Back says wind turbines have adverse health impacts from as far as 10kms away, particularly on ewes and cows that become “very agitated and will leave their offspring in fits of panic if they are in the vicinity of operating turbines.””

    It’s a damn shame one cannot sue politicians for lying….

    • Cooma Doug 5 years ago

      A friend of mine at the Boco wind firm brought a truck load of ewes into the paddock where the turbines are and when they left the vehicle they ran to the turbines and stood beneath them. He said they go there every day.

      • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

        Probably protects them from the flying dingos. (Australia must have something that sweeps down from the sky and snatches sheep. ;o)

        • Ronald Brakels 5 years ago
          • juxx0r 5 years ago

            I have heard that drop bears are nesting in wind turbines and that’s what’s frightening the sheep:


          • Blair Donaldson 5 years ago

            OMG, please don’t mention the infamous and deadly drop bear, those poor deluded souls who think windfarms make them lose weight, gain weight or charge the mobile phone in the middle of a paddock will never get any sleep. They will be lying awake with shotgun in hand waiting for the whistling sound of a drop bear coming in for the attack…

          • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

            Slathering Vegemite in one’s armpits is the suggested protection from drop bear attack, is it not?

            That’s what has been keeping me from visiting Australia. Not the drop bears, but just the thought of making physical contact with Vegemite.

            I’ll bet George sells drop bear deterrents in his store….

          • Blair Donaldson 5 years ago

            Vegemite is most probably an acquired taste. George on the other hand is simply distasteful. Maybe he should try some Vegemite on his armpits – it has remarkable properties, it may even make George believable? A big stretch even for Vegemite 🙂

      • Peter Martin 5 years ago

        On every windfarm I have been involved with, the stock usually need to be kept away from the turbines with fencing. They shelter under them from wind and rain and they use them for shade in summer. The only down side is, the workers often have to clean cow and sheep poo off the steps etc. Generally speaking animals either approach or ignore the turbines, I have never witnessed anything extraordinary about their behaviour around them.

      • Blair Donaldson 5 years ago

        Shadow flicker is another oft used excuse to oppose wind turbines. It seems the sheep and cattle around the Toora wind farm aren’t aware of this hazard while they happily graze away or stand on the lee side of the turbines sheltering from cold southerly winds. The BS promoted by opponents of wind turbines is so ridiculous it’s becoming laughable.

        • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

          I remember an interview with someone who lived really close to a wind turbine. They mentioned that during a couple nights a month the Moon would go behind the blades and create flicker.

          “OMG!! How did you ever live with that?”

          “Closed the curtains.”

    • Colin 5 years ago

      You can sue them if they are not speaking under “Parliamentary Privilege”.

      “Parliamentary Privilege” is why Parliament House got the very apt nickname: “Cowards Castle”.

      Litigation will begin in the next decade I’m certain.

      Keep posting that evidence. We’ll need it soon enough.

  8. 807gt 5 years ago

    There is hardly a place in Germany , where you can’t see at least 1 wind turbine! All farm animals are already dead and buried. People are sick or dead . The economy has come to a halt , all because of those wind turbines .What a load of RUBBISH our politicians are telling us .

  9. Rob G 5 years ago

    I’m pretty disappointed in Lambies response. Tasmania has a big wind energy future with jobs and additional income for farm land leases. Her ignorance is really shining through here and will hurt Tasmania in the short term. As for David Leyonhjelm, it’s what we expect from him.

    We know what the Abbott government thinks of science, so it’s no wonder we see all the soothsayers and mumbo jumbo types turning up to support this wind assault with their evidence’. Science puts this all to rest as it always has done when confronted with hysteria. Carl Sagan has written books on it.

    If the truth be told what farmer wouldn’t welcome the extra income that wind farms bring?

    • Peter Martin 5 years ago

      I worked in the wind industry for many years Rob. Including in Tasmania. The biggest windfarm ever built in this country (Macarthur), which I was involved with, employed about 200 people for about 12 months, then about 10-15 ongoing. Of those 200 people many were locals during construction but most are either non local Aussies or Danes during operation. Musselroe was about the same ratio with 80-100 odd people for about 8 months and about 5 during operation.
      While I agree JL is a couple of sausages short of a good barbeque. The idea that wind energy creates lasting employment is greatly over stated by proponents of wind. I have many more examples if your interested.

      • Andrew Thaler 5 years ago

        Yet, the long-term operational employment jobs, at about $80k p.a. (or more) provides jobs that just didn’t exist in that area before the wind farm- these people whether local, or Danes, or martians spend their money locally to live and eat etc.
        The rent income paid by the wind-farm to the farmers has such an impact on their farm management we have not yet fully costed all the benefits..
        Up in NSW there is now opportunity for more drought-prone farm areas to de-stock much earlier in a drought cycle which preserves the last of the grasses and seed stock which allows a rapid and much increased regrowth when rains return. Removing sheep from drought affected land, which ironically would be further desiccated by being a high-wind area (hence the locate for a wind farm) would allow the remaining ground cover grasses to preserve soil structures and reduce dust and topsoil losses. We have not yet seen this in practice on a large scale, but I reckon we will witness this on the Monaro farms, the Upper Hunter over the coming years. I hope someone is prepared to document and study it..

      • Rob G 5 years ago

        Thanks for your response Peter, nice to have someone ‘on the ground’ responding. Andrew Thaler has covered a couple of points that I would also make. I would add that there are other benefits Tasmania could get, much as it does with its hydro power.

        The wind farms will generate power for local and mainland markets and for this reason we would see staffing infrastructure being built around this. I see surrounding business and farmers benefits as providing employment (not just the wind farms themselves). I’d like to point to an example that has shown how a whole state can benefit with a ramping up of wind investment. And remember this happening while the hole of the US was reeling from the GFC. Here is that example:

        In America the state of Iowa saw a huge surge in employment that has come about from the large Wind Farm purchases that Warren Buffet has made. The analysis of this surge shows a real pumping up of investor interest. There has been a number of supporting industries that have been triggered into existence by such an investment. From even businesses that make small parts that maintain the actual wind towers. Farmers in the US just love the extra income too, it means they can employ more people to run their farms etc. The point I want to make in regards to Lambie’s opposition is that it is not just the wind industry that suffers but the businesses that are built around it. I consider this to be a significant number enough to be beneficial to Tasmania and worth building on.

  10. Shane 5 years ago

    My property will be surrounded by a windfarm if it where to go ahead. (Was approached to have them but declined) so inquisitivly I went to an operating windfarm with another neighbor in the same boat ,after a couple of hours cant say I felt any effects apart from them being incredibly annoying although my neighbor said he felt uneasy.. from what I can devise the cons far out way the pros . Some clean energy but rarely when needed, take into account the production of the turbines , rare earths. The blades that cant be recycled or broken down. The huge loss in property values. Friends that wont even look at each other.. if they could produce 24/7 then yes but 15-20%efficiency. . Not worth it..

    • Cooma Doug 5 years ago

      The efficiency number you quote is excellent. Coal generators have a similar number but you have to shovel coal into them as well and you have to buy it.
      There is another number called capacity factor. Wind farms have three times the capacity factor of hydro in Southern Australia. Property prices on farms go up if you have wind turbines installed on them becasue of the income. Wind turbines have capacity factors 30 times higher then Gas plant in victoria. Thats right, 30 times the capacity factor. That means that one turbing from a majot wind farm in 60 days will produce more anergy then a major gas generator will do in a year. im talking here gas generators over 500 million dollars. People who wont look at each other do so because of the money issues. In any case they were never friends in the first place.
      Another outstanding fact of life that this govenrment and the industry will have to suffer. When battery storage takes hold in the homes across Australia, that will double the value of wind and solar generation and halve the valeu of coal. Gas will be eliminated from picture. Nuclear will become a rediculous joke as will
      large base load concept.

      • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

        The efficiency (capacity factor/CF) is from ‘old tech’ wind farms.

        Wind technology has made huge strides in learning how to increase CF numbers for wind farms in recent years. New blade designs, new turbine designs, better software, better near term wind predictions are adding up to greatly increase CF numbers.

        Here’s a bit from an email from GE sent to Cleantechnica…

        “While we cannot share specific numbers from our customers’ sites unless they release it already or it’s public information, but we’re definitely seeing some above 50 percent capacity factors at many farms.

        Capacity factors obviously vary across wind farms due to a wide range of site locations and other factors. GE wind turbines in farms across the United States—in states such as Montana, California, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Kansas—have reached capacity factors of over fifty percent over the last two years (2013-14).

        These sites include a variety of GE wind turbine models and installation dates, and each site has registered capacity factors ranging from 50.4 to 52.4 percent, including availability at around 98 percent.”

        These are areas where just a few years ago 35% CF was the norm.

        • Bob_Wallace 5 years ago

          Let add some more. We’re realizing that taller towers means a lot better performance. In the US we are finding good wind resources where we thought they were inadequate. By going from 80 to 100 meters we’ve discovered that winds are a lot steadier and output greatly increased. Now we’re starting to see 120 and 140 meter wind maps.

          • Cooma Doug 5 years ago

            Capcity factor and efficiency are not the same thing. If you re design the blades and the generator and get another 20% more efficiency from the machine, that will not change the capacity factor. That will change the output of the generator and also increase the rating of the machine 20%.
            The capacity factor is the rated energy achieved in time divided by what is possible if in service 24/7 with peak wind.
            To achieve 50% capacity factor a 3 MW generator would have to produce 36MWhrs a day. This is entirely dependant on the delivery of energy to the machine…or the wind.
            The capacity factor of hydro power stations is dependant on the water available.
            Any anti wind person who talks down wind by complaining about the capacity factor is ignorant of what is actually one of the strengths when compare to other systems.