Graham Lloyd – imagination and creativity

A page in the Wind Power Ethics group*

Lloyd has written several ill-informed articles directed against wind power. He seems not much concerned about the truth, and not at all about balance.

If those who oppose wind power have the truth on their side, why do they have to resort to fallacious arguments, twisted truths, misinterpreted facts, misinterpreted data, anonymous reports, and analyses by maverick amateurs to support their case?

Written 2012/09/03, last edited 2023/07/11
Contact: David K. Clarke – ©

Graham Lloyd seems to have dropped out of the environmental news twisting business some years before 2023, but I have not been able to find out when.

Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm noise report
"You can't say that noise affects health from this study"

On 2015/01/21 Graham Lloyd had a front page article in The Australian on a report produced by acoustician Steven Cooper concerning the Bridgewater Wind Farm and noise complaints. Lloyd's article was headlined:
"PEOPLE living near wind farms face a greater risk of suffering health complaints caused by the low-frequency noise generated by turbines, a groundbreaking study has found."

Media Watch

Lloyd's lies were given a good airing by Paul Barry on Media Watch, 2015/02/16. Steven Cooper, the author of the Cape Bridgewater report said "No, it's not correct... You can't say that noise affects health from this study".

Readers should refer to Paul Barry's report for more information.

Lloyd characteristically followed one fallacy with another. He went on to write that this was the first time that a wind farm operator had cooperated with a researcher by turning off wind turbines so that the researcher could take background noise readings. This had been done by the South Australian EPA, in an infrasound study (January 2013) at The Bluff and Clements Gap wind farms, and in a noise study (April to June 2013) at Waterloo Wind Farm.

Lloyd was writing about a 'study' that was based on only six self-selected subjects who claimed to be adversely affected by nearby wind turbines while over a hundred more were apparently unaffected by the turbines and not included in the study. The study was not peer-reviewed. The acoustician who did the study tried to relate vaguely defined 'sensations' to the wind turbines. The author of the study freely admitted that one of the subjects reported 'sensations' when the turbines were not operating.

Rather than give further air to Lloyd's poor reporting of the findings of a questionable report I will simply refer readers to a piece written by Jacqui Hoepner and Will J Grant and published in The Conversation on 2015/01/22. It was titled "Wind turbine studies: how to sort the good, the bad, and the ugly".

Graham Lloyd and Hamish Cumming


Western Wind and Solar Integration Study Phase 2

Sponsored by the US Department of Energy, this report stated:
"Wind- and solar-induced cycling has a negligible impact on avoided CO2 emissions."
(Page XVI, under Key Findings; second dot point.) (The document defined cycling as "a broad term that means shutting down and restarting, ramping up and down, and operating at part-load". Top of page VIII.)

An eye to his career?

An environment editor who has a grudge against one of the world's most successful forms of renewable energy must be quite a rare bird. But for an employee of the Murdoch News Empire it is probably a wise career choice. Opposing the huge and powerful fossil fuel/mining industry would not be good for Lloyd's future prospects in that system.

Climate science denial

Graham Readfearn wrote an article titled 'The Australian Brings You The Climate Science Denial News From Five Years Ago' following a highly biased article by Mr Lloyd on 2013/05/04.

Cumming's analysis

Lloyd relies heavily on what he calls Cumming's 'two year analysis of Victoria's wind farm development', but does not say where or how this analysis has been published, nor can I find it on the Internet.

Dynamic balance

There has always been a dynamic balance between electricity generation and consumption; generation has always had to match the varying rate of consumption. There is no evidence that I know of to indicate that the advent of a substantial amount of wind power in Australia has made achieving this balance significantly more difficult.

Lloyd debunked again

More on Graham Lloyd's misleading and dishonest writing has been exposed by Ketan Joshi on his blog, Some Air.
Graham Lloyd, the anti-wind power 'environment editor' for The Australian has got together with Hamish Cumming, an opponent of the proposed Mortlake Wind Farm, to write a creative and imaginative piece about wind power and carbon dioxide emissions.

They say that, despite the wind farms that have been built, Victoria's coal-fired power stations have not generated any less greenhouse carbon dioxide. Lloyd wrote "fossil fuel generators, in the same periods when wind turbines had been operating, fluctuated their output to match demand but did not reduce their rate of coal consumption." What Lloyd and Cumming are implying, but not saying, is that the coal-fired power stations are so poorly designed or managed that they cannot reduce their rate of pollution, even when they are generating less power.

So far as I am aware, Lloyd and Cumming have not published any credible data supporting this claim.

Where Lloyd and Cumming get really creative and imaginative is in claiming that this is not any fault of the coal-fired power stations, but of the wind farms! Somehow we are to believe that the (claimed by Lloyd and Cumming) failure of Victoria's coal-fired power stations to reduce their emissions in response to reduced demand on their generation is all to be blamed on the wind power industry.

In fact, when generation from the wind farms is high, it is mainly generation from gas-fired power stations that is reduced. The marginal cost of power from Victoria's coal-fired power stations is very low, the more expensive gas-fired electricity is the first to go. Generally, coal-fired power stations are inflexible in their power output; gas-fired power stations are much more flexible; they produce greenhouse gasses too, just rather less than coal-fired power stations.

Even if as Mr Cumming claims, the Victorian coal-fired power stations are producing more greenhouse gasses in relation to electricity than they used to do, and his arguments on this point are unconvincing, it would not be a reason to drop wind power, but rather a reason to shut down coal fired power stations as quickly as possible and change to renewables with gas-fired power stations to fill the gaps until we can change entirely to renewables.

An article by Tristan Edis in Climate Spectator, 2013/02/01, showed by use of statistics that the brown coal-fired power stations of Victoria are not ramping up and down in response to wind power, as Mr Cumming claimed, but that gas-fired and black coal-fired generators are. This, in itself, makes nonsense of Mr Cumming's claims. If Victoria's brown coal-fired power stations are not responding to the variable output of wind farms how can any (alleged) increase in greenhouse gasses from them be due to the wind farms?

Energy demand rises and falls all the time. Some of this is regular and predictable, some depends on factors like the temperature, and then there are the surprises that come from breakdowns in generators, the transmission system or industry. Generation must at all times match power consumption, that is a simple necessity of the way any electrical system works. All of this pre-dated the wind farms. Why should we believe that the Victorian power system coped with these variations in the past, but is now incapable of coping with variability in wind power generation; especially when that variability is predictable because wind speeds can be predicted?
This section added 2012/12/30

Wind power and total electrical demand

Wind-generated power on 2012/12/29
Wind generation on one day
The top line on the graph above is the combined generation of all Australian wind farms in the interconnected grid on one day (times in 24-hour format are on the bottom axis, generation in MW on the left axis; the bottom lines record the output from individual wind farms).
Image credit "" and Andrew Miskelly
Total electrical demand for Victoria for a 24-hour period
Power consumption for one day
Lloyd and Cumming's claim that the addition of wind power to the Australian grid has caused increased difficulty for generators to match supply with demand makes no sense.

The graph on the right is typical of wind energy generation for one day.

This was the most recent day for which data was available at the time I decided to add this section to this page; the data were not selected because they were unusually in any way.

The green line in the second graph shows the total demand for electricity in Victoria as recorded by the Australian Electricity Market Operator (AEMO). Note that while the total variation in demand in Victoria was over 1100MW, the variation in generation from the wind farms was only about 540MW.

The variation in generation of the wind farms is quite overshadowed by the much greater variation in demand for power.

The AEMO does not provide demand graphs for the whole of the SE Australian maket. Both of the above graphs were for the most recent 24-hour period available at the time of downloading.

Some of the North Brown Hill (SA) turbines above an early morning mist Turbines and mist


Wind power replaces coal in SA

Before the decision to shut-down the SA coal-fired power stations, in March 2012, Adelaide-based energy economics group EnergyQuest chief executive Dr Graeme Bethune produced a press release which stated, in part:
"... a massive 26% of South Australian electricity was generated [in 2011] by wind, up from 18% in 2010 and less than 1% five years ago. Since 2006-07 the share of gas in power generation has fallen from 58% to 49% but the big change has been in coal, which has fallen from 42% to 25%. Wind is effectively replacing coal."

South Australia too

While most of Lloyd's efforts were directed at Victoria, he also criticised South Australia's wind power, unsurprisingly not mentioning that, largely because of SA's wind power, one coal-fired power station had been entirely shut-down while the other would in future only run for six months each year. (See an article in Adelaide Now, 2012/04/18, by Miles Kemp and Cara Jenkin.)

Yet Cummings claims that he has established "that even with the continued expansion of wind farms in South Australia, the Australian Energy Market Operator's figures show the abatement has risen to only about 4 percent of the installed capacity" of SA's wind power. We are expected to believe this, with SA's two coal-fired power stations shut down!

More imagination and creativity

Quoting Lloyd's article "Cumming estimates the cost of greenhouse gas abatement [in SA] at $1484 a tonne". Generating a megawatt-hour of electricity in a coal-fired power station results in around a tonne of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. From the EnergyQuest report (box on the right above) we can see that 17% of the coal-fired power in SA has been replaced by wind power. 17% of $1484 is $252, so if Cumming is right this $252/MWh cost of abatement would have been passed on to consumers – increasing the retail price of electricity by 25 cents per kWh. As a South Australian I can assure the reader that our electricity price has not gone up by anywhere near as much as 25 cents/kWh, and in fact informed commentators involved in the energy industry have told us that most of the price rise that there has been was due to infrastructure costs.

Wind power reduces emissions

Changes in electricity generation and emissions
Elec. and emissions
Graph credit: Pitt & Sherry
This graph shows that since about 2009 greenhouse emissions have decoupled from electricity generation; due largely to wind farms.
The graph on the right, from Pitt & Sherry's Carbon Emissions Index (cedex), shows that greenhouse gas emissions have quite definitely been falling, and this began around the time that the biggest of our wind farms started coming on-line.

Lloyd and Cumming may be right about one thing, Victoria's brown coal-fired power stations may not be polluting any less. This would be due to the fact that it is some of Australia's black-coal power stations, in NSW and SA, that are being shut-down or 'throttled-back'. Perhaps Lloyd and Cumming were not aware that all of the highly populated areas of south-eastern Australia are on the same power grid.

Emissions intensity on the Australian NEM
Emissions intensity
Graph credit – Professor Mike Sandiford, University of Melbourne;
This graph, this time from Professor Mike Sandiford, University of Melbourne, shows emissions intensity (EI) from the four large states in the Australian National Electricity Market (NEM) and the average for the whole of the NEM, including Tasmania. Tasmania's EI is off-scale at the bottom of this graph. data from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

Note that while emissions intensity if falling in all the states, the very large decline is in South Australia. It is very hard to attribute this to anything other than the introduction of wind power. South Australia, of course, has far more wind power than any other state.


Netherlands report

Lloyd writes of a report being presented to The Netherlands Parliament claiming that wind farms will not abate the greenhouse gasses released in their construction "even across the total life of the wind farm". He does not mention, of course, the many other reports that have shown full abatement in about the first six months.

Is it surprising that by searching the Internet Lloyd or Cumming was able to find one report that agreed with their preconception? It is significant that Lloyd did not give the name of the report, or of its authors, or say if or where it was published.

Lloyd's 'evidence' goes very much against the consensus

Lloyd prefers to accept Cumming's assertions that wind turbines are not abating greenhouse gasses to the findings of various consultants around the world, presumably because Cumming's figures agree with Lloyd's preconceptions.

Wind power abates greenhouse gasses in the UK, why should we believe Lloyd and Cumming's claims that, for some reason, it is not working in Australia. See Beyond the bluster: Why wind power is an effective technology by the UK Institute of Public Policy Research.

Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM), an engineering and consulting firm, produced a report in June 2012 that listed the CO2 abatement from Australia's wind power installations.

In July 2006 consulting firm McLennan Magasanik Associates Pty Ldt produced a report which, in effect, stated that greenhouse CO2 emissions would be reduced by about one tonne for every megawatt-hour of wind power generated.

'Forensic examination', 'forensic carbon audit'

Early in his article Lloyd writes about 'a forensic examination of publicly available power-supply data' without indicating what crime was to be investigated. On the second page Lloyd quotes Cumming as asking for "a full forensic carbon audit", again without any reference to the crime that is being alleged. Do Lloyd and Cumming know that 'forensic' relates to 'the application of scientific methods and techniques to the investigation of crime'?

The hub of a North Brown Hill (SA) wind turbine and the crescent moon Turbine and moon

Wind turbine syndrome or Lloyd syndrome?

Graham Lloyd wrote another ignorant article about wind power in the Weekend Australian of 2012/11/03-04. Dr Marjorie Cross, a practising GP at Bungendore near the largest wind farm in NSW, responded with the following letter to the Editor on 2012/11/07:
I READ the feature article about the harmful health effects of wind farms ("Ill wind creates a headache", 3-4/11) and the letters relating to it (Letters, 6/11). I am puzzled. I am a practising GP in a community where a large number of wind turbines have been operating since 2009. I have not seen anyone with wind turbine syndrome. There are some people who attribute their annoyance to the turbines because they are there and sometimes because of the turbine noise as they hear it. Global research does not support wind turbine syndrome.

Majorie Cross, Bungendore, NSW
It was, I believe that it was Dr Nina Pierpont who came up with the imaginary disease Wind Turbine Syndrome. In Australia the delusional cause was taken up enthusiastically by (then Doctor) Sarah Laurie. I have called it Pierpont-Laurie Syndrome.

I had a home in Crystal Brook, close to the Clements Gap Wind Farm during all this period. The Crystal Brook Medical Centre was the closest to that wind farm. Over a period of a few years I asked at least six doctors at that medical centre if they had ever had anyone say that they had been made ill by the wind turbines. None of them had. See Local medical practice near a wind farm for more on this.

Lloyd continues

Graham Lloyd has continued with his campaign in the Australian with another article about Cumming on 2012/12/29. He started with:
"MECHANICAL engineer Hamish Cumming has had death threats made against him, endured public ridicule and suffered an arson attack on his organic beef and oat farm in southwest Victoria because of his love of birds and loathing of wind farms."
Of course Lloyd gave no evidence that the alleged threats and arson had anything to do with wind farm proponents (indeed, that they took place at all), and ignored the fact that wind farms are recognised by the world's environmental organisations as doing much more good for birds than harm, because climate change is a far greater threat to birds than are wind turbines.

Apart from this there seems to be nothing new in Lloyd's December 2012 article; it was a rehashing of his earlier article about Cumming's 'research'.

Lloyd blunders

Graham Lloyd got it wrong again on 2013/09/16. He wrote an article headlined, "We got it wrong on warming, says IPCC".

In fact, as The Australian admitted on 2013/09/23, it was The Australian that had "got it wrong"; there was no error on the IPCC's part; Graham Lloyd had made another blunder.

Misrepresenting science

Lloyd wrote an article in The Australian on 2014/07/25 misrepresenting some research done by Carl Wunsch of Harvard University and Patrick Heimbach from MIT. As reported by Roz Pidcock in Renew Economy the authors of the research have taken issue with Lloyd's interpretation of their work, mentioning 'cherry picking' and 'missing some key points'.

Lloyd claims that the study suggests "much less heat is being added to the oceans than has been claimed in previous studies". The authors have contradicted this.

It seems this is another example of Lloyd following the lead of Rupert Murdoch, the owner of The Australian, in denying climate science.

Great Barrier Reef; Lloyd misrepresents science again

In a session titled Muddying the waters on the Great Barrier Reef, 2016/07/18, ABC Media Watch exposed Lloyd's claim that there was significant, even substantial, disagreement among scientists over the damage being done to Australia's Great Barrier Reef (GBR) by the recent coral bleaching event (which is almost certainly at least largely caused by climate change).

ABC's presenter, Paul Barry, showed that, contrary to Lloyd's claims, there was very strong agreement among the relevant science community about the causes and severity of the bleaching event.