Impact on People and Australia / New Zealand
Even before they threatened my property, I was opposed to wind farms. They fail on all counts. They are grossly inefficient, extremely expensive, socially inequitable, a danger to human health, environmentally harmful, divisive for communities, a blot on the landscape, and don't even achieve the purpose for which they were designed, namely the reliable generation of electricity and the reduction of CO2 emissions.
According to NZ Windfarms' consent application, many residents were supposed to experience "nil noise effects" from the two-bladed turbines. This did not reflect their actual experience.
The residents have been vindicated, and NZ Windfarms has been found wanting.
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With the benefit of recent acoustical studies and medical papers, it has become increasingly clear there is a link between wind turbine operation and health effects, the only question is to what degree and what action to take. ...It is distressing that we can get public policy so wrong so much of the time and then take so long to fix it.
Deep divisions have arisen across Victoria, with neighbour pitted against neighbour, as some land owners erect wind turbines on their properties - often 60m tall with 30m blades. It's pretty good money, sometimes $10,000 a turbine a year. In the midst of a drought, that can feed a family and send kids to school.
But what of the neighbours?
Building wind farms and "protecting" the environment do not sit comfortably together, as she claims. When remnant native vegetation is in the way of turbine sites and their extensive associated infrastructure, wind power companies simply blast or bulldoze their way through it. (If you remain unconvinced, go and look for yourself at what is happening along the Waterloo Range).
Meridian Energy, which claims to support the communities where it generates electricity, is facing attack from the Makara community on the subject of noise from its West Wind windfarm. It's a subject which refuses to go away.
Makara residents have been stating their concerns about the windfarm for years, because it's close to their houses. And now that 40 of the 62 turbines have been completed and brought into use, their fears are becoming their reality.
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... to my bewilderment, then subsequently dismay and disillusionment, I have been angered by the way we continue to squander our environmental inheritance.
One of the priceless things that makes Central Otago unique and so captivating and gives it the world of difference that the brand-assigners and the Central Otago District Council use to proudly advertise and promote the area is that most of its hills and block mountain ranges aren't badly polluted visually. It gives them an extraordinary and memorable aura, one that's often grand.
But is building what would so far be, in the case of Meridian's Project Hayes, the biggest wind farm/factory in the Southern Hemisphere, thus opening the door to still more of them, the world of difference we want? Is that what the district council has, or had, in mind? Is that what thinking people want? Meridian's Project Hayes and TrustPower's Mahinerangi Wind Farm proposals between them covering more than 120sq km of countryside - would have a major rather than a minor detrimental effect in all respects. ...Our oft-warbled claims to be ahead of the game and clean and green are no more than self-congratulatory chitter. Sort out what you think our legacy ought to be, people, and stand up for it before it's too late.
For very good reason, we feel that we cannot trust Meridian Energy; unfortunately they have not shown themselves to be trustworthy. We are very concerned that Meridian Energy be made to comply with conditions that the Court's decision requires; these conditions are likely to require a considerable number of turbines being de-rated and turned off at times. The Court warned Meridian of this. We question how a wind farm where turbines must be de-rated or turned off to protect residents can be "the best internationally".
Taralga Wind Farm
June 19, 2007
in Extract from NSW Legislative Assembly Hansard and Papers Tuesday
The villagers should have a forum to voice their feelings so they are not left with a nasty taste in their mouth and resentment in their gut. Further, negotiation with local people with local knowledge might even produce better outcomes for the proposed wind farm. If the Government is to achieve its renewable energy targets we know it has few choices. It can dot the crowded coastline or it can fill up the interior with these turbines. I am sure the Government would not allow hundreds of wind turbines around Newcastle, Wollongong or Sydney without very close and careful community consultation. The people of country New South Wales, and particularly the people of Taralga, no matter whose side one is on, deserve the same respect.