He is not only known as the country's leading noise researcher, but also as a person who with his academic qualifications has repeatedly challenged and criticized both the EPA and the wind turbine industry for misinforming others about the low‐frequency noise that large wind turbines emit.
Now the 63‐year‐old professor Henrik Møller has been fired from Aalborg University after 38 years of service, and the reason is that the professor is no longer sufficient financially lucrative for its faculty.
"The official explanation is that I do not earn enough money. Apparently I am not my money's worth, because I've spent my time on wind turbines. But I know there have been many years where my activities have resulted in quite a substantial income. Besides, statistically, it is probably about half of the faculty members who make a loss," says Henrik Møller.
The dismissal attracts attention and wonder ‐ both among colleagues and among wind turbine critics of the National Association Neighbors of Giant Windmills.
"It's weird and very strange that they just dismiss him as an internationally renowned acoustician. But he is not popular in the wind turbine industry and with the authorities because he dared to speak his mind and thus confronted both the authorities and a powerful industry," says the president of the National Association Neighbors of Giant Windmills, Tone F. Brix Hansen, who calls it "a great loss" that the North Jutland noise researcher has been dismissed.
Like others, she points to the fact that the Wind Industry Association, through its CEO Jan Hylleberg, emailed Henrik Møller's boss, Dean Eskild Holm Nielsen, several times during 2011 where he complained that Professor Henrik Møller publicly interfered in the debate about low‐frequency noise and also criticized both the wind turbine industry and the Environmental Protection Agency for manipulating the numbers.
Dean Eskild Holm Nielsen, who is behind the dismissal, was himself a keynote speaker at the Wind Industry Association’s meeting, the day after he fired Henrik Møller. But both the dean and Aalborg University's rector until May 1, professor emeritus Finn Kjærsdam, denied that there were any other than economic reasons behind the dismissal of the noise researcher.
Eskild Holm Nielsen says he will not comment on individual cases but consistently refutes that Henrik Møller’s critical messages and articles in relation to the wind power industry have anything to do with the firing.
"There is nothing in it. On the contrary, we defend the researchers' freedom of expression, and they are actually obliged to speak out if they think there is something that is not illuminated properly," says Eskild Holm Nielsen, adding: "We have carried out some personnel adjustments including dismissals in relation to the economy. We need to consider making the team that is needed to solve the tasks."
Henrik Møller received his dismissal in March, and the university's rector until May 1st, Finn Kjærsdam, also denies that there were political motives behind the dismissal.
"Henrik Møller has been working in an area where there are no longer students. We need to hire people, where there are students, and if no money is made either from students or research, then it clearly will not work,," says Finn Kjærsdam.
Professors at risk
Vice‐president Ingrid Stage from the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations, AC, says that it is not very common for fire professors.
"But it also should not be. However, we can see that some of them are in the danger zone when downsizing ‐ typically associated with budget deficits," says Ingrid Stage, who is also chairman of the Danish Association of Masters and PhDs.