|Wattle Point Wind Farm at sunset
When a car travelling at an estimated 60km/h came within
about half a kilometre of me I could no longer hear these turbines, in
spite of standing within about 300m of the nearest.
National Wind Watch and the rest of the anti-wind power lobby are
by selfishness; they don't want wind turbines near them
, they don't much care about what
will do to the planet if we fail to adopt renewable energy and the millions
killed each year
by air pollution
from the burning of fossil fuels doesn't bother them.
Most of the links in the text below lead to more information on the
subject under discussion.
Environmentalists have long urged people to "think globally, act locally";
anti-windpower groups such as Wind-Watch change this to "think deviously,
Wind Watch published a piece by George Papadopolous on
wind turbines and low frequency
In his piece Mr Papadopolous almost entirely ignores sound intensity
(not to mention common sense); this
allows him to claim that noise problems due to wind turbines can persist as
much as 35 or even 70km from wind turbines.
I have visited many Australian wind farms on many occasions.
The greatest distance from which I have ever heard wind turbines is 2.5km
(correction, on 2013/07/07 I
to just hear
some turbines 3.0km away),
and then only in near ideal conditions; I noticed at the time that if a car
was travelling within 2km of me the noise it made drowned out that of the
Homoeopathic strength wind turbine sound
Mr Papadopolous calls himself Don Quixote and this is very appropriate.
Don Quixote was a deluded romantic who fought windmills in the mistaken
belief that they were monsters.
In fact, of course, they were (and are) valuable machines.
Mr Papadopolous does not consider the
inverse square law
of physics in his claim.
It can be calculated, using this law, that whatever the strength of some
radiation or sound coming from a wind turbine at a distance of 70km, at a
distance of 100m it would be nearly 500 000 times as strong; yet we
find that wind farm workers, who often come at least this close to wind
turbines, are quite unaffected.
But perhaps we should not be surprised that Mr Papadopolous believes
this, he is apparently a believer in homoeopathy.
In mainstream medicine there is a principle called the
in which the severity of the response to a
poison or an exposure to a harmful radiation varies with the dose.
Perhaps those who believe homoeopathic claptrap and the writers of Wind Watch
do not accept this?
Perhaps they believe that the air carries a 'memory' of a wind turbine that
it passed by, just as homoeopaths believe that water carries a memory of
substances it has been mixed with.
The fact that Wind Watch is willing to publish such arrant nonsense as that
written by Mr Papadopolous shows
how low are their standards for reasonableness.
Wind turbines save lives
, but the
people of Wind Watch choose to ignore this.
There have been around 20
of the research literature; not one
of these concluded that wind turbines cause any illnesses.
On the other hand, it has long been known that the emissions from fossil
fuel power stations cause numerous serious illnesses and deaths.
The electricity generated by wind turbines mean that less electricity need
be generated by burning fossil fuels.
The top medical journal,
, quantified the deaths
and serious illnesses caused by burning fossil fuels in power stations.
But let's look a bit more closely at the factual content of Wind Watch.
|North Brown Hill Wind Farm, South Australia
|The power lines and pylons, which predated the wind farm,
will kill far more birds than the turbines.
The first sentence on the home page of Wind Watch makes false claims about
wind turbines, wildlife and the environment.
- Wind farms are not a threat to wildlife.
For example, the British Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is so
convinced that wind power will be good for birds that they have
built a wind turbine at their headquarters.
The prominent US bird protection group, Audubon, recognise that climate
change poses a far higher threat to birds that do wind turbines.
Australia's Conservation Foundation (ACF) is supportive of wind power too.
- Wind power is very environmentally friendly.
Negligible emissions are produced during operation, very little
water is consumed,
very little land is taken out of production, the
energy used to construct a wind farm is paid back in about six
months of operation, what little
vegetation is damaged is replaced, and few
are killed by turbines.
The second sentence of the home page includes more lies about wind power:
regarding carbon emissions and the dependence on 'other fuels'.
|Emissions intensity on the Australian NEM
|Emissions intensity (EI) from the four large states in the Australian
Graph credit – Professor Mike Sandiford, University of Melbourne;
data from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)
- Wind power does
reduce carbon emissions.
This is so obviously true that no person having any intelligence or knowledge
of the power system would deny it.
Electricity has to be consumed at the same rate as it is being generated.
If wind-generated electricity is fed into the grid, some other electricity
generation must be lessened; this almost always is fossil-fuel
The graph on the right 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.
Note the very large decline in South Australia's EI, due almost entirely to the introduction of wind power.
- Wind power does reduce dependence on other fuels.
For example, in 2007 South Australia only had 0.6% wind power, all the remainder was generated by fossil fuel-fired power stations. By 2022 SA had 68% renewable energy, two thirds of that being wind power, one third solar. Most of the remainder was gas-fired.
The last coal-fired power station in South Australia was shut down in May 2016. It was unable to continue because it was economically uncompetitive.
Wind Watch writes of "Strobe lights day and night"
on wind turbines in an obvious effort at sensationalism.
The phrase "strobe lights" produces a mental picture of dazzling flashing lights like those in a discotheque, the lights on wind turbines are only bright enough to be seen by pilots at night.
Some wind farms have aerial navigation lights
for safety, most don't.
They can be annoying for those who like the look of the starry night sky in the country without the distraction of flashing lights on the horizon (I am one of these), but it is hardly going to harm anyone,
and unlike town lights it doesn't stop you seeing the stars.
Are they left on during the day? I very much doubt it, but would it matter if they were?
More facts about wind farms that are contrary to claims in Wind Watch:
- Wind power is efficient.
The state of South Australia had near zero renewable electricity in early 2007; in 2022, 46% of its electricity is being generated by the wind; practically no fuel at all is consumed to produce all that electricity – what could be more efficient than that?
(More at Efficiency of wind turbines.)
- Wind power is economical.
Wind power is at present the most economical form of renewable energy;
why else would so many countries be installing so much wind power?
In fact, if the cost of pollution is taken into account, wind power is much
more economical than fossil-fuel-generated power.
(More at Cost of wind
|Waterloo Wind Farm in South Australia
|This photo shows how little scrub need be cleared for a
- Wind power is safe.
Wind power has an excellent
safety record; there are
far fewer deaths per GWh of wind energy generated than for coal, oil, LPG
and hydro electricity.
There is absolutely no evidence that wind turbines cause
- Wind turbines are not noisy contrary to claims by Wind Watch.
One can easily carry out a normal conversation right beneath a wind turbine without raising one's voice at all.
A wind turbine is quieter than a car travelling at 80km/hr.
I have visited many wind farms and have only once heard a wind turbine from a
distance greater than 2.5km, and they can only be heard at those distances in near ideal conditions (for example, if there was a car travelling on the road within 2km of me, I could no longer hear the turbines because of the noise made by the car).
I have slept under wind turbines many times.
- Wind farms do not reduce
Falls in property values is another common lie perpetrated by Wind Watch and
the rest of the anti-wind community.
There is no evidence that more than minor, temporary, reductions to property
values result from wind farm construction.
- Wind farms do not necessarily require special transmission lines.
Contrary to one of the claims made by Wind Watch, the development of wind power does not necessarily require the building of expensive new transmission lines.
For example, South Australia, where I live, went from no wind power to over 40% wind power without the need for any additional transmission lines (other than short lines for connecting the wind farms to the existing grid, generally no more than ten or so kilometres).
In 2022 SA had 46% wind power, still no additional long transmission lines had been built to connect the wind farms to the grid. But to fully develop the state's wind resource long distance transmission lines will be needed. The SA government has a target of 500% renewable energy by 2050.
If you get the impression from this page that there's not a lot of truth on
the pages of Wind Watch, you'd be very close to recognising it for what it is;
a tissue of lies.