tip off

Full of hot air: the Oz‘s case against a non-existent wind turbine

The Australian is warning us about the health impacts of wind farms. But its “research” is entirely discredited, writes energy industry researcher Ketan Joshi.

Graham Lloyd, environment editor at The Australian, is today warning us of the dangers of low-frequency noise from wind turbines. That the turbine referenced does not exist is an afterthought. Lloyd cites a report, A Proposed Metric for Assessing the Potential of Community Annoyance from Wind Turbine Low Frequency Noise Emissions, as an example of the threat wind turbines pose to the human race:

Our experience with the low-frequency noise emissions from a single, 2-MW MOD-I wind turbine demonstrated that, under the right circumstances, it was possible to cause annoyance within homes in the surrounding community with relatively low levels of LF-range acoustic noise.”

Sounds convincing, right? The MOD-I wind turbine was a downwind NASA prototype, built in 1978 and removed in 1981. The paper itself was published in 1987. From the Wiki page about the MOD-I (emphasis added):

Low-frequency noise from the heavy truss tower blocking the wind to the downwind rotor caused problems to residences located close by.”

Modern wind turbines are upwind, rather than downwind, and as such, don’t have the same characteristic problem cause by the tower being in front of the rotor. The South Australian Environment Protection Authority recently released a comparative report on low-frequency noise emissions from modern, upwind turbines (unmentioned by Lloyd in his article):

Overall, this study demonstrates that low frequency noise levels near wind farms are no  greater than levels in urban areas or at comparable rural residences away from wind  farms. Organised shutdowns of the wind farms also found that the contribution of the Bluff Wind Farm to low frequency noise levels at Location 8 was negligible, while there may have been a relatively small contribution of low frequency noise levels from the Clements Gap Wind Farm at frequencies of 100Hz and above.”

Lloyd does admit that citing a 26-year-old report referring to a prototype, nonexistent wind turbine that was never installed in Australia isn’t quite right:

Clean Energy Council policy director Russell Marsh said the study was not relevant to modern turbines. ‘This is the equivalent of taking a study about Ataris and applying it to the latest iPads,’ Mr Marsh said.”

However, that admission is not central to his thesis:

So why report a decades-old piece of research on a prototype wind turbine like it’s breaking news? It’s a technique Lloyd has used before: have a look at these sentences from an article published in April 2012:

Village resident Neil Daws is concerned his chickens have been laying eggs with no yolks. Ironically called wind eggs, the yolkless eggs can be explained without wind turbines. But together with a spike in sheep deformities, also not necessarily connected to wind, reports of erratic behaviour by farm dogs and an exodus of residents complaining of ill health, Waterloo is a case study of the emotional conflict being wrought by the rollout of industrial wind power.”

By simply presenting two completely irrelevant facts in close proximity, Lloyd lets the reader assume the two are linked. So where did Lloyd get this 26-year-old scoop? That would be windturbinesyndrome.comattempting to stimulate rageby distributing outdated research on prototype machines. Lloyd claims:

The research was sent by an American acoustics expert to Australian wind health campaigners and has now been published internationally.”

Well, no, it was already published internationally: see hereherehereherehereherehere,herehere … you get the idea. It’s an old piece of research, which has been mindlessly re-hashed by anti-wind groups and picked up by Lloyd with motivated glee. In the absence of evidence of any harm from wind turbines, awkwardly and unashamedly shoe-horning irrelevant, outdated research into contemporary media is, presumably, the last resort of anti-wind turbine activists.

*Ketan Joshi is the research and communications officer at Infigen Energy. This article was first published at his blog Some Air.

29
  • 1
    TheFamousEccles
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I’m sure wind farms will make the curtains fade, too.

  • 2
    Saugoof
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Remember the days when The Australian was an ok newspaper?

    In its current form, they would decry a cure for HIV as black sorcery if there was any hint that an initiative by the Greens had some sort of input in it.

  • 3
    Adam
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    The Australian has completely forfeited any right to be taken seriously on science/environment reporting. After dredging up a discredited study from years ago to argue that climate change is caused by the sun, Lloyd serves up this effort. Sometimes I wonder if he’s simply having a joke, or if it’s an infantile tantrum in response to the criticism of scientists and Mediawatch.

    Bad science reporting you say? Well what do you think of THIS?”

  • 4
    paddy
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Excellent stuff KJ
    There’s nothing quite so satisfying, as the sound of a well aimed boot, thudding into one of the Oz’s least impressive scribes.
    *GOAL*.

  • 5
    Tell me more
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Mr Joshi, I understand the Infigen Energy position on whether the noise from currently installed wind driven power generators are an imposition on other people, which Infigen, as a wind farm business model driven operator/provider they would be expected to have, and consider these impositions to be negligible…
    Going back to basics: Are there times and circumstances where normally hearing folks can hear the wind driven turbines on their property? If so then that is already an unacceptable imposition and an intrusion on their privacy and space.
    Very simple.
    I have not read nor do I need to read these reportws, as I only have this very simple question: Are they audible for people who live in the vicinity? If sub-audible but measurable, is the evidence incontravertible that no damage or stress is caused to folks in the vicinity? If not, then they should not have been built there.
    I am a big fan of wind power, but as with most things the where, when, how factors relating to other people’s lives are critical and should be the deciding factors..

  • 6
    klewso
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Propagandizement”

  • 7
    rubiginosa
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    The Australian, home of the unreasonable crank:

    …the enthusiast, the crank, the minority may say what he honestly thinks just as much as the so-called reasonable person…

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/editorials/exercising-the-right-to-disagree/story-e6frg71x-1226541459521

  • 8
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    is the evidence incontravertible that no damage or stress is caused to folks in the vicinity”

    Relatedly, can you prove that you’ve stopped beating your wife?

  • 9
    Rohan
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    @Tell me more

    Are there times and circumstances where normally hearing folks can hear the wind driven turbines on their property? If so then that is already an unacceptable imposition and an intrusion on their privacy and space”

    This statement displays shocking ignorance of the principles underpinning development assessment, let alone permitted industrial noise levels.

  • 10
    Josi V
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Well, let’s give this Mr Graham Lloyd some new research to talk about.
    Google this, Mr Lloyd:
    wind energy takes off, with airborne technology

  • 11
    john2066
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    So Tell me more:
    Going back to basics: Are there times and circumstances where normally hearing folks can hear the wind driven turbines on their property? If so then that is already an unacceptable imposition and an intrusion on their privacy and space.
    Very simple.

    So by your definition any noise from any outside source to anyone’s property is an unacceptable imposition and intrusion.

    So if I drive my car past your house, thats an intrusion, or even walk loudly on the footpath crunching the leaves. Naturally all trains should be banned as well.

    I note you don’t address the point that the Australian wrote a whole misguided column about wind noise from a turbine which hasn’t been on the commercial market for over 30 years.

    I know you’re here as a troll (no doubt your precious property prices have been affected by a wind turbine), but can you at least try to pretend you have a proper argument?

  • 12
    Sharkie
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Graham Lloyd has about as much credibility as Gemma Jones. There really isn’t any difference between many News Limited “journos” and third-rate conservative bloggers/conspiracy theorists.

  • 13
    Harry Rogers
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Does anybody, right or left wing, seriously consider The Australian as a credible source. Imagine if you had a dollar invested in this once proud publication and some ignoramus editors (absolutely astonishing lack of simple intellectual rigour beyond belief) have been allowed to depreciate you dollar to .01 cent.

  • 14
    zut alors
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Clearly The Oz must’ve had some column space to fill to publish this.

    One suspects the space came available once they opted not to report their ex-pat proprietor being caught on tape negating statements he gave to a UK parliamentary inquiry.

  • 15
    Steve777
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    These days the Australian has no more credibility than its tabloid stablemates.

  • 16
    michael r james
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Here are some more anti-scientific gems by former ABC Chairman (appointed by Howard) from The Oz in the past week:

    Climate change science has become an expensive smokescreen
    BY:MAURICE NEWMAN July 03, 2013
    For those who want to cite warming in some records, all datasets agree there has been none since 2000. In fact since 2002 a slight cooling has been observed. Who knew? Well, not the warmist scientists.
    … This is the world of climate change. The science has become an expensive smokescreen behind which vested interests hide.

    Protests stop wind farm plan
    BY:HARRY EDWARDS July 08, 2013
    A LARGE wind farm proposed for near Goulburn in NSW has been shelved after protests from local landholders including Maurice Newman, the former head of the Australian Securities Exchange who has been anointed to chair a new business advisory council if the Coalition wins this year’s federal election.
    …………………
    Newman’s denialist tract (a regular feature in the Oz; previous one was 05 Nov 2012) trawls up tired old, discredited ClimateGate again, and draws on Donna Laframboise’s 2011 book The Delinquent Teenager in which she attacks the IPCC and claims there is no scientific consensus on global warming.

    Curiously, the same day there was a summary of the latest science in the Guardian (with some nice graphics):

    Unprecedented climate extremes marked last decade, says UN
    UN World Meteorological Organization analysis of rainfall and temperatures between 2001 and 2010 says decade was warmest since measurements began in 1850
    Alex Kirby for for Climate News Network, part of the Guardian Environment Network
    guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 3 July 2013

  • 17
    michael r james
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    (I’ll have to try breaking up my post to get it past moderation.)

    Here are some more anti-scientific gems by former ABC Chairman (appointed by Howard) from The Oz in the past week:

    Climate change science has become an expensive smokescreen
    BY:MAURICE NEWMAN July 03, 2013
    For those who want to cite warming in some records, all datasets agree there has been none since 2000. In fact since 2002 a slight cooling has been observed. Who knew? Well, not the warmist scientists.
    … This is the world of climate change. The science has become an expensive smokescreen behind which vested interests hide.

    Protests stop wind farm plan
    BY:HARRY EDWARDS July 08, 2013
    A LARGE wind farm proposed for near Goulburn in NSW has been shelved after protests from local landholders including Maurice Newman, the former head of the Australian Securities Exchange who has been anointed to chair a new business advisory council if the Coalition wins this year’s federal election.
    …………………

  • 18
    michael r james
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    (Maurice Newman Part 2.)

    Newman’s denialist tract (a regular feature in the Oz; previous one was 05 Nov 2012) trawls up tired old, discredited ClimateGate again, and draws on Donna Laframboise’s 2011 book The Delinquent Teenager in which she attacks the IPCC and claims there is no scientific consensus on global warming.

    Curiously, the same day there was a summary of the latest science in the Guardian (with some nice graphics):

    Unprecedented climate extremes marked last decade, says UN
    UN World Meteorological Organization analysis of rainfall and temperatures between 2001 and 2010 says decade was warmest since measurements began in 1850
    Alex Kirby for for Climate News Network, part of the Guardian Environment Network
    guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 3 July 2013

  • 19
    michael r james
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    (Groan, attempt #3)

    Newman’s denialist tract (a regular feature in the Oz; previous one was 05 Nov 2012) trawls up tired old, discredited ClimateGate again, and draws on Donna Laframboise’s 2011 book The Delinquent Teenager in which she attacks the IPCC and claims there is no scientific consensus on global warming.

  • 20
    michael r james
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    (Maurice Newman Part 3)

    Curiously, the same day (as Newman’s piece in the Oz) there was a summary of the latest science in the Guardian (with some nice graphics):

    Unprecedented climate extremes marked last decade, says UN
    UN World Meteorological Organization analysis of rainfall and temperatures between 2001 and 2010 says decade was warmest since measurements began in 1850
    Alex Kirby for for Climate News Network, part of the Guardian Environment Network
    The Guardian, Wednesday 3 July 2013

  • 21
    michael r james
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    (Attempt #6: Maurice Newman Part 3)

    Curiously, the same day (as Newman’s piece in the Oz) there was a summary of the latest science in the Guardian (with some nice graphics):

    Unprecedented climate extremes marked last decade, says UN
    UN World Meteorological Organization analysis of rainfall and temperatures between 2001 and 2010 says decade was warmest since measurements began in 1850
    Alex Kirby for for Climate News Network, part of the Guardian Environment Network
    Wednesday 3 July 2013

  • 22
    Tell me more
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    john2066:
    Well you seem to have the personal issues, not me… I do not live in nor do I have any financial interests or known associates in wind farm affected properties.
    So I will kindly give you a resounding 0/100 for those completely and inexorably wrong assumptions john2066. No idea why you would jump to those errant ideas unless they reflect your own attitudes I guess?
    A troll by any other name accuses the same? Probably not, but you do give that impression.
    It may shock you to know that some people will have opinions and positions on subjects without having a pecuniary interest, which it appears extends beyond your current capacity to envision or comprehend. Nevertheless that is a fact and facet of the human ability to think coherently. It may also shock you to grapple with the possibility that someone who does not agree with your monumental level of wisdom and logic could also think coherently or without financial gain in mind. Shocker mate, we are trembling in awe that we could some to this point!
    That said, so it is.
    Now for the next shocker: It may come as a mind bender to you that cars do not spend hours or days or weeks at a time assailing your property and the inhabitants with noise. Perhaps you do subject the residents in the vicinity of your property with that level of noise today, I just do not know.
    Wind generating turbines can do that, and have been known to do that. Not all of them naturally, but some.
    However if you do spend 18 hours on end driving your car past a house I would suggest you read up on the effects of that. Otherwise get real mate, what a loose cannon of an example… LOL.
    I did not address the Australian printed report as I have no issue with the Ketan Joshi reference to that. I am confident he is correct. However that false report does not sum up all of the noiseless or noisy wind generating turbine examples that exist. I am referring to the examples of those that do generate noise that affects residents.
    And there are some of those. I have been experienced these first hand whilst travelling and can confirm that example exist.
    These are the ones that I refer to, and examples such as these.
    I will leave the pretending to you, and I do take umbrage at being falsely accused of being a troll. Why is it that the inadequates just boller off some accusation of trolling when someone does not share their opinion?

  • 23
    Tell me more
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    john2066:

    As I stated in the first post BTW, I am a fan and supporter of wind generated energy. I would like to see more of them, and all deployed in such a manner that not residents or people in the vicinity are adversely affected.

    My interest in this subject is the differences between how some companies deploy them, and what differing noise levels can be generated by these deployments.

    Why you take such issue at that is beyond me. If your issue is that someone had an opinion that does not agree with your’s, then welcome to the real world. It happens and it is healthy.

    If it is all just a misunderstanding, then I wish you a great day & cheers.

  • 24
    AR
    Posted Tuesday, 9 July 2013 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Having kicked the pink out the batts for the last week, this morning on 2GoBogan the Caterwauling Catamite was paraphrasing the hell out of this furphy, without attribution.
    Whereas Rat Hately admits that he is simply reading out, very LOUDLY!!, the terrorgraph, the Parrot is notorious for not acknowledging his sources, such as Freddy Forsyth, but goes full frottage..sorry..frottle..err..throttle on old ladies with numb arms in the morning, nausea &..other ills.
    Never let reality get in the way of a good scare story, those incontinence pads, funeral plans & annuity scams won’t sell themselves.

  • 25
    Shaniq'ua Shardonn'ay
    Posted Wednesday, 10 July 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    ” It may come as a mind bender to you that cars do not spend hours or days or weeks at a time assailing your property and the inhabitants with noise. “
    Not where I live mate, in fact not where a lot of people live.
    BTW for those who are interested in the effect of Windfarms on property prices I suggest they have a look at Wonthaggi for an example. Lots of people moving in there since the windfarm was built in 2005. No difference in house price movements in the areas close to the windfarms.

  • 26
    Liamj
    Posted Sunday, 14 July 2013 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    I for one welcome News Corps commitment to the 19th century, particularly its surviving intellectuals such as Maurice Newman.

  • 27
    Floss
    Posted Sunday, 14 July 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Tell me more
    I completely understand and agree with your point, It is also very easy to understand why a person that thinks footpaths extend outside of urban areas will not.

  • 28
    westral
    Posted Monday, 15 July 2013 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    It is always good to keep in mind that the Australian is part of the group that also owns Fox News.

  • 29
    Simon Balderstone
    Posted Tuesday, 16 July 2013 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    So this wind turbine is REALLY non-existent, unlike the carbon pollution which (only Tony) Abbott says is non-existent.

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