Senate Calls for Wind Farm Crackdown
4 August 2015 at 12:07 pm
A Senate committee set up to investigate the potential health impacts of wind turbines has recommended that the Federal Government be able to force states to abide by noise and infrasound restrictions.
In its final report released last night, the Senate select committee on wind turbines, Chaired by Independent Senator, John Madigan, and Deputy-Chaired by Family First Senator, Bob Day, said that an independent panel should be set up to to set standards and monitor the health effects of noise from wind farms.
The committee collected evidence from people living near wind turbines and found that they could suffer from a range of conditions, including tinnitus, raised blood pressure, heart palpitations, tachycardia, stress, anxiety, vertigo, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, headaches, nausea, ear pressure, exacerbated migraine disorders, motion sensitivity, inner ear damage “and worst of all, sleep deprivation”.
The committee said that the potential health effects needed to be taken seriously.
“[It] is disappointed that renewable energy advocates, wind farm developers and operators, public officials and academics continue to denigrate those who claim that wind turbines have caused their ill-health,” the committee’s report said.
“Even elected representatives seeking to inquire into these effects have been the target of derision.”
The committee also recommended putting a cap on Renewable Energy Certificates of five years for new projects and from 2020 forcing renewable projects to bid for Emissions Reduction Fund support.
Labor Senator Anne Urquhart, who is the only member of the six-person committee from the Labor or Greens side of politics, slammed the recommendations.
“The majority report is belligerently deaf to the expert advice that wind energy is not only safe, but it is affordable and should play a critical role in Australia’s transition to a low-carbon economy,” Senator Urquhart said.
“Not one professional scientific, medical or acoustics body in the world holds the proposition that wind farms are dangerous to human health, and yet the majority report predicates a raft of onerous recommendations on this completely unsubstantiated claim.
“I fear this report will only serve to feed the Prime Minister’s blind obsession with destroying an industry that promises billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs in regional communities.
“If the Government follows through on the recommendations in the majority report it will just cement Australia’s place as a global climate pariah with regional communities and the environment paying the price.”
Urquhart, who gave dissenting recommendations, said the recommendations in the majority report would lead directly to the death of all renewable energy investment in Australia – not just wind.
“It’s just absurd to replace an efficient market mechanism with an expensive, taxpayer-funded burden by scrapping the RET and funnelling renewables through the notoriously expensive and inefficient Emissions Reduction Fund,” she said.
“This isn’t just an attack on wind – Australia’s entire renewable energy industry would pay the price.”
Senator Bob Day, who moved to establish the Senate inquiry into wind turbines, has made his views on the renewable energy options clear.
In a statement released halfway through the committee’s inquiry, he said the scrutiny was overdue.
“In at least fifteen countries around the world, people from all walks of life have come forward complaining about the health impacts of wind turbines,” Senator Day said.
“Yet the wind turbine industry and its environmental supporters all claim this is either a conspiracy driven by anti-wind activists or it’s all psychological and have at times treated these victims in an offensive, dismissive and uncompassionate fashion.
“To add insult to injury, wind turbines have had negative impacts on property values, have driven up power prices, compromised local shire councils and divided what were once friendly and harmonious communities.”
The Senate committee’s full report can be found here.