There are problems with wind power, I have written about them on a dedicated page. Most of my statements refuting claims made by Stop These Things on this page refer, by links, to fuller explanations and supporting evidence elsewhere on these pages.
The first time I took an interest in Stop These Things was when I came across a page titled "Grubby Little Secrets". The page starts by claiming that wind turbines are inefficient They are not, of course; as I have explained elsewhere on this site. (More wind power was installed world-wide in 2012 than in any previous year; would the world be taking to wind power like this if wind farms were somehow inefficient or ineffective? Update, 2015/02/19; in Europe in 2014 more than twice as much wind power was installed than coal and gas combined.)
The same page claimed that wind turbines have a "traumatic impact on local communities". Again, this is not true, as I have explained elsewhere; where there is trauma it has mainly been brought about by the fear and misunderstanding coming from the lies and distortions such as those published in Stop These Things.
The Grubby Little Secrets page went on to talk about environmental damage in China due to the mining of rare earth minerals. I believe it is true that there has been very serious environmental damage due to rare earth mining in China, but wind turbines are by no means the only use for rare earth minerals; they have become very widely used in the modern world.
Another lie on the Grubby Little Secrets page was the allegation that wind farms in Texas are contributing to global warming. The justification for this was a study of satellite data showing slightly higher surface temperatures following wind farm construction in Texas. It does seem that the surface temperature rose slightly near the wind farms. This is not surprising because the wind farms would reduce the wind speed at the surface during the day and that would allow the sun to heat the land slightly more. Also, at night, the turbulence produced by the wind turbines could disturb the layer of cool air that would otherwise form at very low levels at night. What is most important, and what was ignored by Stop These Things, is that there would be no net increase in warming. Yes, the local soil surface was getting a little warmer, but the wind would also be taking less heat away from the area; one would counteract the other; there would be no net increase in heating generally. There is more on this study elsewhere.
The selective use of evidence and faulty logic discussed above is typical of anti-wind power propagandists. They start with the mind-set that "wind power is bad" and look for any, no matter how shaky, 'evidence' that they feel supports their premise.
"South Australia – Australia’s ‘Wind Power Capital’ – Pays the Highest Power Prices in the World and Wonders Why it’s an Economic Basket Case"the facts were quite the opposite.
In 2018 the CSIRO reported that wind power, solar power and storage was clearly cheaper than coal. And by early 2021 the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) was reporting that wholesale electricity costs in South Australia were the lowest in the Australian National Electricity Market (NEM).
"The wind industry in Australia is doomed. Australia’s commercial lending institutions know it (calling in their loans and refusing to lend for any new wind farms). And the wind industry knows it..."At the time of writing this section, June 2018, there was 4.7 GW of operating wind farms in Australia and another 3 GW under construction. There had never before been so much wind power construction going on in Australia.
Posted under 'The "Great Oz"' by STT on 2013/05/26, was this "... the fact that the average windfarm only produces power about 25% of the time".
That this is quite false is shown by the average South Eastern Australian wind farm having a capacity factor of 35%. That is to say, a typical 3MW wind turbine will, on average over a long period, generate about 1MW. Quite obviously, since there is a significant amount of time when it is running at less than full power, it must produce power much more than 25% of the time to achieve an average of 35% of its installed capacity.
It could be that STT was thinking of capacity factor when he wrote about the proportion of the time that wind farms generate power; but then too he was blatantly misrepresenting the fact.
The graph on the right above, which was from the data of the most recent
available at the time of writing, shows that of the 27 wind farms logged by
the Wind Farm Performance site, most were generating most of the day.
If you look at a graph for almost any day on Wind Farm Performance you will
see a similar result; some days there will be more generation than others,
but most wind farms generate some power most of the time.
STT fails to learn from his mistakes and repeats the same lies even after those lies have been exposed
"It is a meteorological and physical fact that the wind will be insufficient to operate industrial wind turbines around 70% of the time. And, even if there is sufficient wind to operate, giant fans simply can't stand the Australian heat."One need only look at the graphs of wind farm generation on Wind Farm Performace (WFP) on almost any day at all to see the most wind farms are generating power most of the time.
The same source will show that the second claim, that the turbines can't stand the Australian heat, is similarly quite false. See WFP, 2014/01/16 (or the graphs on the right). This was the day during the recent record breaking heatwave in which Melbourne recorded its highest January temperature, 43.9°. Again, most wind farms were generating at quite a substantial rate most of the day and they achieved an average capacity factor of at least 35% for the day, as can plainly be seen from the graph.
A number of statements here deserve mention:
another page on this site wind farm opponents are typically dishonest. The subject of turbines and fires is no exception, with a number of fires being wrongly blamed on wind turbines and the severity of one very minor fire being greatly exaggerated.
Of particular relevance to this section there has been a claim on the Stop These Things site that "In Australia, wind turbines have so far been responsible for at least four serious bushfires:
There is a short article about the fire, that occurred on 2006/01/22, on the ABC News site with no mention of any fire beyond the immediate vicinity.
There was also an article written by David Nankervis and published in the South Australian Sunday Mail on 2006/02/12. Nankervis's article was highly critical of wind power (as is common in the Murdoch-owned media) so there is no reason to believe that he would have minimised any damage caused by the fire.
Nankervis reported that the six fire appliances that attended the blaze couldn't do anything to extinguish the turbine fire because it was so high. He went on the say:
"Instead, the firefighters watched as fire destroyed the $3 million turbine – which weighs 75 tonnes – and extinguished spot fired ignited by ashes from the turbine blaze"
Bird causes flash-over fireWind turbine opponents have blamed this fire on wind turbines, but it was caused by a bird and a power line.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported on a fire on 17 January 2017 at Currandooley, near Tarago in the Canberra area. It seems that the power line involved carries power between Woodlawn and Capital wind farms, both owned by Infigen.
The SMH article, by Georgina Connery, stated
"The fire started as a result of a bird flying close to high-voltage powerlines, igniting and landing in dry grass."The fire burned "almost 3400ha".
It seems that this was something of a freak event. Birds being electrocuted by going too close to a couple of high voltage power lines is apparently quite common, but to then set fire to grass is very unusual. Of course it could happen on any high voltage power line. It seems that 2017/01/17 was a very hot day.
Louise Thrower in the Goulburn Post reported Infigen's response to the event:
"It was an unusual event. We have had over 20 unplanned outages over four years prior to the recent event and we suspect bird strikes on powerlines were responsible for all of those. (But) it has caused only one fire over four years".
Starfish Hill Wind Farm turbine fireThere was a fire in one of the Starfish Hill Wind Farm turbines on the afternoon of 2010/10/30. It was written up in an article in the Victor Harbor Times on 2010/11/04, but this seems no longer to be available. The fire caused an estimated $3m damage.
This fire was reported on the anti-wind-power site Wind Watch.
Significantly there was no mention of the fire getting beyond the turbine except for a few spot fires nearby.
pages of Stop These Things carried the following libellous statement:
"Simon Chapman is the professor of public health at the university [of Sydney]. He has conducted a relentless campaign to vilify people who claim living near turbines is affecting their health."The author's name was given as 'stopthesethings' and the page was dated January 5, 2013. (I noticed it on 2013/01/06.)
Simon Chapman has not been vilifying people who claim illnesses from wind turbines; rather he has been pointing out that wind turbines are not the cause of any illnesses. This false claim would legally constitute libel.
The STT article from which the comment on the right was taken, titled 'Alan Jones and Sarah Laurie go on the attack', also contained the following:
Sarah's been copping a wind industry funded attack from "Green" goons like Senator "Die Nasty" in the last few weeks...The writer of STT often uses similar insulting language and baseless claims.
Typically STT wrote an ad hominem attack on Tim, accusing him of 'cash for comment' and even of being 'a fool'. No matter how much one might dislike Tim Flannery (I am one of his many admirers), to call him a fool is obviously ridiculous, the books he has written are anything but the works of a fool. As usual STT produced no valid evidence justifying his attack on Tim Flannery's remarks.
Most of what STT wrote on the page was a personal attack on Mr Flannery. But he had the gall to also say that "Simon Holmes a Court has a reputation for personally attacking anybody critical of his two-turbine money machine" (the community owned wind farm at Hepburn, Victoria).
When it comes to personal attacks STT, you are the greatest!
In their 'About' page Stop These Things say "We are appalled by the dishonesty of the wind industry, its supporters and those who operate within it." This sort of statement is often made by wind power opponents, but they rarely provide any evidence of said lying.
On 2013/03/29 STT published a piece titled "The wind industry's lies dissected", by (the typically anonymous) 'special correspondent'.
And what were the big wind industry lies that were exposed? Well, actually there was only one alleged lie involved and that was the imaginary claim that wind energy can provide base load power.
Mr STT, when has a representative of the wind industry ever claimed that wind can provide base load power? Mr STT, who is lying here?
If the reader looks up the STT page he or she will note that many (or most) of the so-called peer-reviewed articles were published in a journal called the Bulletin of Science Technology and Society (BSTS). How credible is this journal? In the science publishing world this is measured by Impact Factor. What is the Impact Factor of BSTS? Zero. (See ResearchGate.)
More on the credibility of BSTS can be read here.
Other of the references on the STT page related to annoyance more than health. I don't think anyone is claiming that wind turbines don't annoy anybody. People who start with negative perceptions of wind turbines are usually the ones who are annoyed by them, those who have positive outlooks on wind power (me for one) find the sound quite pleasant. Of course people who start off with very negative views are even alloyed by the site of wind turbines.
Yet other references on the STT page merely discussed the sound produced by wind turbines.
With much less time to prepare, a group of pro-renewable people organised a much more successful pro-wind, pro-renewables rally for the same time and the other side of Lake Burley-Griffin.
The Jones-STT rally 'crowd' is shown in the photo at the right. As can be seen, a large proportion of those who attended were from the media. A part of the crowd at the pro-renewables rally, estimated at from 500 to 1000, is in the photo below.
On the day, there were far more people at the pro-renewable rally than at the anti-wind rally.
"The number of cases involving turbines collapsing, self immolating or throwing their blades to the four winds (aka "component liberation") has become so common..."Of the several hundred thousand wind turbines around the world, how many did STT find had 'collapsed or cumbusted'? Hundreds? thousands? No, they discussed four.
In Australia wind turbines have clocked up about 6000 turbine-years of operation. How many have 'collapsed or cumbusted'? None have collapsed, two have caught fire. Another one caught fire during construction.
It seems that not a single wind turbine was damaged in the exceptional storms of late September and late December 2016 (had there been any, the media would have made sure that everyone knew about it; a damaged wind turbine is highly conspicuous – impossible to hide). Those same storms flattened sections of three out of the four main power transmission lines that passed through the area where most of South Australia's wind turbines are. They blew down more trees than any other storm in living memory: at least in the tens of thousands, if not in the hundreds of thousands. All of South Australia's power grid was knocked out for four hours with the September storm, and over a hundred thousand homes were without power, some for up to four days, with the December storm, but not one wind turbine of the more than 400 in the region was damaged!
A part of what Source-watch has to say about STT is:
"Stop These Things (STT) is an anti-wind website promoting anecdotes and pseudoscience intended to cast doubt on the effectiveness of wind energy. The website also promotes claims alleging people living in close proximity to wind turbines suffer assorted detrimental health conditions.And
"STT complains about vilification and victimisation without providing any evidence yet the site moderator and many supporters consistently engage in vilification of opponents as illustrated by these various posts. The site frequently employs descriptors such as "greentard", "fraud", "wind factories" etc."More on vilification and STT can be read below.
WOT) is a site where users of the Internet can rate Net sites for trustworthiness. In addition to providing a rating users can leave comments about any site.
The anonymous writter of STT has left a comment on WOT accusing these pages (ramblingsdc.net) of being a "hate" site. Where is there justification on these pages for this accusation? Can the reader point out where this site promotes hatred?
WOT give Ramblings a green (safe, reliable) rating and gives STT a red
Miranda is a column of the Weekly Times Now. On 2013/10/16 the column was about Neil Barrett's videos regarding local people's views of the Waubra Wind Farm. Neil's videos are on the VicWind site.
Apparently when the writer of Miranda Googled 'Neil Barrett video', or similar she first found Stop These Things. Miranda wrote...
"If tone is anything to go by, VicWind wins hands down ahead of STT for civility and transparency. It names the people behind the site, includes their pictures and brief biographies as well as a blog and the videos mentioned above and a phone number for people to contact. There is no such transparency on the other site.
"I believe the antennas would be better placed outside Crystal Brook, perhaps on top of Cemetery Hill, because that would provide a better coverage of the district and tall towers do not improve the appearance of a town."If this is the worst dirt Mr STT can dig up on me I will not loose any sleep over it.
Mr STT seems to like 'ad hominem' arguments. They are defined in The Skeptics Guide's "Logical Fallacies" page as any argument "that attempts to counter another's claims or conclusions by attacking the person, rather than addressing the argument itself". Mr STT plainly feels that he can't counter my arguments on wind power, so he attacks me.
Anticipating future ad hominem attacks, I will go on to say that my wife and I have lived in Crystal Brook for 35 years and while most people in the town have put up tall TV towers, we have not. We do not like the look of them. I like the look of wind turbines but I have always held that people have a perfect right to not like them; it is the lies about wind power and the failure to consider the need to change to renewable energy that I object to.
Getting back to STT, one wonders why Mr STT hides his own identity? Does he have skeletons in his own closet? Or is it that he is afraid that someone will seek justice and take him to court for his libellous statements? It takes some level of courage, and some confidence in the veracity of your claims, to put your name to your writing in the wind power debate.
Synonyms of scourge are: bane, blight, downfall, ruin, torment and woe.
People who spread misinformation about wind power can expect me to expose their lies.
Criticism is defined as "the expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes" or "the analysis and judgement of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work".
Vilification is defined as "abusively disparaging speech or writing".
He/she accused me of vilification. Any disinterested, fair-minded, person would recognise that vilification is what STT does, while I use criticism.
A pathetic personal attack
'About' page of Stop These Things
Author's interaction with STT
Dangerous Dave Clarke
Disregard for fact
Failure to learn from mistakes
Lies about fires
How low can they go?
Independent assessments of STT
Miranda on Stop These Things
Out of touch with reality
Peer-reviewed health reports?
Power price lie by STT
Source-watch's assessment of STT
Web of trust
Wind industry's lies dissected
Wind turbine failures