The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has added its voice to a growing chorus of independent health groups asserting there is no credible evidence that wind farms have a negative impact on the health of people who live near them. The nation’s peak medical organisation released its position statement on wind farms on Tuesday, which it said was based on “credible Australian and international studies.” One of the latest of these was released last week by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), taking the total number of reviews published on the issue since 2003 to 20 – all of which have reached roughly the same conclusions: that no reliable or consistent evidence that proximity to wind farms or wind farm noise directly causes health effects.
“The infrasound and low-frequency sound generated by modern wind farms in Australia is well below the level where known health effects occur,” said AMA president Professor Geoffrey Dobb in the organisation’s statement. “And there is no accepted physiological mechanism where sub-audible infrasound could cause health effects.” Dobb did, however, recommend better community engagement on wind farms, in an effort to reduce anxiety caused by incorrectly attributing unrelated health problems to wind turbine noise – a phenomenon he attributes to the reporting of supposed health scares and the spreading of misinformation. But, as ABC Online reports, CEO of anti-wind group the Waubra Foundation Sarah Laurie says the hypothesis that it is scaremongering that’s causing the symptoms “just doesn’t add up.”
2014 Australian cleantech comp launched
This year’s Australian Technologies Competition was launched last week, kicking of the 2014 search for Australia’s best small-to-medium technology companies (100 employees or less) which are developing innovative and emerging technologies with the potential to enhance industry efficiency, resource use and competitiveness.
The overall Australian winner will be celebrated as Australia’s best technology company and provided with significant profiling, including representing Australia in various targeted global competitions along with the competition’s industry award winners. Past overall winners include semiconductor company BluGlass Limited (2013), whose Remote Plasma Chemical Vapour Deposition (RPCVD) technology has provided a breakthrough in the LED lighting and solar industries; and LED and energy efficiency company enLighten Australia (2012).
Semi finalists will be awarded with mentoring, connections and other opportunities to boost commercialisation and facilitate access to export markets. They are also invited to join the November Trade Mission to help find customers, partners and investors for their technology. In 2013, the competition went to Hong Kong, Nanjing, Shanghai and Singapore and participating companies got over $10,000 worth of benefits and generated over $150 million worth of potential contracts. In 2014 the trade mission will again be focused on key Asian markets.
Wind farm approval a win for community renewables
A 42 turbine wind farm in NSW’s central west has won approval from the state government’s planning department, bringing the dream of a community-owned turbine within the project one step closer to fruition. Flyers Creek Wind Farm will be the first opportunity in Australia for a local community to own a share in a commercially operated wind farm, after the Central NSW Renewable Energy Co-operative (CENREC) was formed to buy one turbine within the development. The turbine is expected to be 3MW in size and be able to power 1300 homes. “It is hoped that the wind farm will now go ahead and suffer no further delay,” said CENREC chairman Patrick Bradbery, who added that the “last thing” the co-op needed now was any weakening of the Renewable Energy Target. “The project represents an investment of over $195 million for this region,” he said.