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The author of these pages has no financial connection to either side of the wind power 'debate' and is entirely independent.

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No problem in Copenhagen
Wind power is effective
Wind power reduces emissions

Peter Mitchell; chairman of the Waubra Foundation

One of the Wind Power Ethics pages*

Early in 2014 the Australian Medical Association (AMA) released a position paper titled Wind Farms and Health. It included:
"The available Australian and international evidence does not support the view that the infrasound or low frequency sound generated by wind farms, as they are currently regulated in Australia, causes adverse health effects on populations residing in their vicinity."
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) had previously released a report on a study that lasted several years and came to the same conclusion. About twenty other credible studies have said much the same.

Mr Mitchell, Ms Laurie (CEO of the Waubra Foundation), and the Waubra Foundation generally have long been claiming that wind turbines cause an ill-defined illness with a huge variety of symptoms that they call Wind Turbine Syndrome (WTS). About May 2014 Mr Mitchell wrote a letter to the AMA in an apparent attempt to get them to change their stance. That letter, with comments, is copied below.

Written 2014/06/25, modified 2016/06/06 – ©
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com (David Clarke)
As with all my pages, informed feedback is welcome. If you are disagreeing with some point please supply evidence in support of your argument.
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Wind energy opposition

About these pages

Most of the links on this page lead to further explanation and supporting evidence.

Bold font in Mr Mitchell's text indicates a point that I have commented on (in the boxes on the right).

A matter of history

In years to come people will look back on the time when wind farm opponents claimed that wind turbines make people sick with as much amusement as we look back at those who believed that telephones or microwave ovens would cause illness.

This page can serve as a record of statements by an individual labouring under a misaprehension that is, to anyone with an open mind and who is willing to look at the research, simply silly.

Peter Mitchell's letter to the AMA

Dear Dr Hambleton,

Australian Medical Association Position Statement: Wind Farms and Health – 2014

The Board of the Waubra Foundation is aware that our CEO, Sarah Laurie, has written to the AMA on the subject of your Wind Farms and Health – 2014 Position Statement.


Highly qualified people can be wrong

Particularly when emotion is involved highly qualified people are often wrong, as the rest of us can be wrong. For example, a very highly qualified economist, Dr Roger Sexton, over-estimated the time it would take a wind turbine to 'pay back' the CO2 involved in its construction by a factor of 60 000.
The Foundation has two doctors of medicine on its board, Ms Laurie and a former Federal Health Minister, Dr Michael Wooldridge. The other directors include a former judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria, economists, agricultural scientists and an engineer.

In addition to the detailed comments largely along medical lines made by Sarah Laurie, I have considered it necessary that, as Chairman, I raise some other relevant matters.

For nearly four years the Foundation has been accumulating information on:


Energy Pulses

Ms Laurie and the 'Waubra Foundation' used to blame noise for WTS, then changed to blaming infrasound, apparently now it is 'energy pulses'.

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The South Australian Environmental Protection Authority have shown that noise levels from wind farms is not problematical and that there is no more infrasound near wind farms than elsewhere.

So now they are using 'energy pulses'. (I prefer the term 'Diabolical Wind Turbine Rays.)

1) noise (more correctly energy pulses) produced by turbines, both airborne and ground-borne;

2) movement of those energy pulses from the turbine to the point of contact with human bodies;

3) the mode of entry of those pulses into the human body and the physiological and psychological impact on those victims.

It is ultimately important that we understand both the engineering and the science of each of these components and then of the whole process.

I note that medical science is only involved in item 3) and even there the entry and impact involves a number of highly specialised sub-disciplines. It was more than a surprise to see that your position statement is so certain on elements of items 1) and 2).

Unlike the NHMRC literature studies, the Foundation has not recruited a university library service to do a literature study, nor, if we did, would we place very tight academic style limits on which literature qualifies for consideration.


Epidemic hysteria

As mentioned elsewhere on this page, both the Australian Medical Association and the NHMRC have decided that there is no convincing evidence to show that wind turbines cause illness. However, Mr Mitchell is right in his statement that there is a "cruel and proliferating problem", it is an epidemic hysteria largely created by organisations such as the Waubra Foundation that encourage Sarah Laurie to go around Australia and the world telling people that if a wind farm is to be built near them they must expect to become ill.

Fiona Crichton and others published a research paper that showed, if I can summarise it in a few words, that "People who are under the impression that they will become ill due to infrasound, and are then told that they are being subjected to infrasound, are likely to experience adverse symptoms."

Our approach is driven by the fact that so many people across Australia are already enduring a debilitating, cruel and proliferating problem which needs political attention and solutions, right now. That is the task we have identified and set about achieving.

Our approach has therefore been to accumulate information locally and through a world-wide professional network from victims, medical professionals, independent acoustic measurements around wind facilities, and relevant pieces of the all too few studies and measurements that have been completed in the past.

We are collecting as much evidence as possible from all sources, and will continue to do so until a detailed and full understanding of the three step process can be pieced together. In simple terms we are engaged in a patient, multidisciplinary, forensic examination of what is, and is becoming, available. Much of the product of this work is on our extensive website which would appear not to have been visited by your author(s).

Following Sarah Laurie's communication, I wish to restrict my comments to the non-medical statements in the AMA document. These statements fall into two categories: one being praise of wind energy and wind turbines and the second observations regarding noise from turbines.


Wind turbines are inexpensive, effective and save lives

The AMA was quite correct. Wind power is at present (2014) about the cheapest method of generating renewable energy available to us in Australia. There is no evidence that wind turbines cause illness. Wind turbines do not release greenhouse gases or other pollutants when operating; and the electricity that they generate displaces coal-fired electricity generation that causes air pollution responsible for millions of deaths each year. There can be no doubt that wind turbines save lives.

More evidence of the effectiveness of wind power can be seen in South Australia where the Thomas Playford Power Station was closed down and the Northern Power Station was used only for about half of each year following the introduction of SA's wind farms. Both of these power stations are, or were, coal-fired.

Also see the Figures on this page.


Wind farms and electricity prices

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMA) has reported that wholesale prices (unlike retail prices) of electricity have been falling. The CEO of the Energy Supply Association of Australia (ESAA) has said that "One of the major effects of this increased supply of renewable energy in a shrinking national market is to suppress the wholesale price of electricity."

No more peaking generation capacity has been added due to wind farms

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Contrary to Mr Mitchell's claim about "balancing with open cycle gas turbines", there has been no more power balancing (or peaking generation capacity) added to the National Electricity Grid with the proliferation of wind farms.
Your position statement opens with:

"wind turbine technology is considered a comparatively inexpensive and effective means of energy production"

and closes with:

"Electricity generation does not involve production of greenhouse gases, other pollutants or waste, all of which can have significant direct and indirect health effects."

The highlighted portions of these assertions establish that within the AMA there exists a profound ignorance of the economics of wind as an energy source, its ineffectiveness as a technically satisfactory component of the power grid and the expensive and greenhouse gas producing methods (balancing with open cycle gas turbines) necessary to convert wind power into grid-useful energy. We would be pleased to introduce the AMA to one or more independent engineers who have mastered the intricacies of these matters and have the mathematical evidence sufficient to convince all but renewable zealots of the real facts.

Those two assertions have not been rephrased much or travelled far from the product defence handbooks of the wind industry and its various acolytes. The assertions are, sadly, naïve, incorrect, uninformed and completely out of the AMA's area of expertise. As opening and closing statements they tragically indicate a clear bias towards planetary care at the expense of human care.

The second matter goes to the construction of the premise of your position being, apart from the opening sentence, the first two introductory paragraphs. Again those paragraphs merely repeat the wind industry's product defence propaganda on noise. Some of these unsourced statements are incorrect and others irrelevant except for disclosing how very little actual work has gone into the preparation of the AMA's position.

We know you have received a number of objections from victims, acousticians, medical practitioners, a psychologist and relevant professional specialists including an otoneurologist (so important in understanding human pathways for energy pulses) as a number of the objectors have sent copies of their complaints to us. These copies are being progressively uploaded to our website www.waubrafoundation.org.au

I can only conclude that a Position Statement was requested, (possibly through public health channels?) and requested at this time, to support concurrent attacks on the Waubra Foundation; and that the AMA was "fed" a draft which it has hurriedly published without a measurable effort at fact checking.



Contrary to Mr Mitchell's statement implying that the 'nocebo effect' was invented by the wind power industry the term was actually coined in 1961 by Walter Kennedy and had nothing to do with wind turbines.

Get on top of the technology and science

I believe that this page shows who needs to get on top of the technology and science, and it is not the AMA.

The real facts

Mr Mitchell uses the phrase 'the real facts'. Perhaps he is unaware that there are no other kinds of facts.
The so-called 'nocebo effect', invented so the industry could continue sowing enough doubt to maintain their huge subsidies for another year or two, is cruel in that it maintains suffering, and destroys any expectations of help amongst the victims.

The AMA has a choice: recall the statement and get on top of the technology and science and reissue your position, or hold fast and be forever mocked and abused as a prisoner of this cruel and dangerous industry and sections of what appears to be a seriously compromised public health alliance.

Regardless of the distance between our interpretations of what is happening in rural Australia to real people, the Foundation would be pleased to meet with responsible officers of the AMA to start an information exchange with the sole objective of solving this health problem for the benefit of all Australians, particularly country Australians.

Yours sincerely,
Peter R. Mitchell, AM, BChE


No problem in Copenhagen

All the area in pink, including central Copenhagen, is within ten kilometres of wind turbines.
According to Peter Mitchell, Sarah Laurie, and the 'Waubra Foundation' the people of Copenhagen should be suffering from Wind Turbine Syndrome and 'Pressure Pulses'. Of course they are not.

For more see the article by Ketan Joshi.

Wind power is effective

South Australian electricity generated by energy source, 2012-13; from the Australian Energy Market Operator, 2014 SA Fuel and Technology Report
SA generation mix
This graph shows that a very substantial amount of wind power has been integrated into the South Australian part of the National Electricity Market (NEM).

The SA power system is as reliable as ever and, contrary to clames by people like Mr Mitchell, there is no more peaking generation capacity in the system now than before the introduction of wind power.

Wind power reduces emissions

Graph credit – CEDEX report by Pitt and Sherry
Changes in emissions
This graphs shows that, contrary to clames by people like Mr Mitchell, greenhouse emissions from power generation are decreasing.

Much of the decrease is due to wind power. Wind turbines are very effective in reducing emissions.

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