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Turbine 'tipping point' claim rejected

The man who says Palmerston North is on the verge of saturation point from wind turbines has come under fire for his methodology. The Turitea Wind Farm board of inquiry hearing resumed yesterday, and after giving evidence earlier in the proceedings, social impact assessment specialist James Baines returned to the witness stand. The board is tasked with deciding if the 121-turbine wind farm should go ahead.

The man who says Palmerston North is on the verge of saturation point from wind turbines has come under fire for his methodology.

The Turitea Wind Farm board of inquiry hearing resumed yesterday, and after giving evidence earlier in the proceedings, social impact assessment specialist James Baines returned to the witness stand.

The board is tasked with deciding if the 121-turbine wind farm should go ahead.

But Mr Baines, providing evidence for Palmerston North City Council, says the level of support for wind farms in the city is at "tipping point", because of the cumulative visual effects of turbines spreading across the ranges.

Mighty River Power lawyer Nicholas Davidson QC attacked Mr Baines' methodology.

Other witnesses who had appeared for the power company had found major flaws in the process, Mr Davidson said.

The way people were selected for a survey was far from random because people were chosen only from a preselected panel, he said.

Mr Baines said people on the panel could chose to participate in that particular survey, but the panel's selection was done randomly over the phone.

Mr Davidson said recruiting people via the phone automatically... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The man who says Palmerston North is on the verge of saturation point from wind turbines has come under fire for his methodology.

The Turitea Wind Farm board of inquiry hearing resumed yesterday, and after giving evidence earlier in the proceedings, social impact assessment specialist James Baines returned to the witness stand.

The board is tasked with deciding if the 121-turbine wind farm should go ahead.

But Mr Baines, providing evidence for Palmerston North City Council, says the level of support for wind farms in the city is at "tipping point", because of the cumulative visual effects of turbines spreading across the ranges.

Mighty River Power lawyer Nicholas Davidson QC attacked Mr Baines' methodology.

Other witnesses who had appeared for the power company had found major flaws in the process, Mr Davidson said.

The way people were selected for a survey was far from random because people were chosen only from a preselected panel, he said.

Mr Baines said people on the panel could chose to participate in that particular survey, but the panel's selection was done randomly over the phone.

Mr Davidson said recruiting people via the phone automatically excluded people without landlines, or with unlisted numbers.

Because the survey was done on the internet still more people were excluded, and there was an imbalance of age groups, he said.

Mr Baines said the results were weighed to compensate for those issues.

Mr Davidson then went on to question the wording.

Respondents were asked how they felt about cumulative effects, but were asked to include as-yet unbuilt turbines including those at Motorimu.

That was misleading, given it was unlikely Motorimu would ever be built, he said.

"The envisaging that the respondent is being asked to make is wrong."

Mr Baines said it was correct, because the context was of potential wind farms based on issued consents.

Finally, after more than an hour, Mr Davidson challenged Mr Baines' conclusions.

He drew attention to an analogy where Mr Baines compared the project to draining a river to create hydro-power: "To conclude that all of the Palmerston North wind resource has to be harnessed because it is in the national interest to do so is akin to saying we should no longer have minimum flow limits on the country's hydro-electric operations ..."

The language he used was emotive, and expressed personal opinion not an assessment of social effects, he said.

Mr Baines said it was a fitting analogy, because the cumulative effect of turbines on the ranges would see them spreading without any gaps.


Source: http://www.heraldnews.com/n...

AUG 12 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/21699-turbine-tipping-point-claim-rejected
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