Wind Waffle

This important editorial published by the editor board at the largest daily newspaper in Denmark responds to the recent 'Act on Facts' campaign launched by turbine maker, Vestas. An English translation of the piece is provided below.

"Act on Facts" is the name of a global campaign that the wind turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems has launched against what the company describes as 'a small but well-organized and influential minority that has succeeded in launching some outrageous claims about wind power' .

"We now take of the gloves and will provide quality rebuttals to our often unscrupulous opponents," declared Communications and Marketing Director Morten Albaek.

But their campaign was hardly launched before Professor Henrik Moller, civil engineer Steffen Pedersen and Associate Professor Christian Victory Pedersen from Aalborg University sent a letter to the editor of this newspaper on 28 June sharply criticizing Vestas' attempt to monopolize the truth about wind energy that would be biased in favor of the company.

Not surprisingly, noise is a central issue in "Act on Facts," and where Vestas argues, among other things, that the noise of a wind turbine from 400 meters away is less than the noise of an average refrigerator.

With sober scientific clarity, the three experts from Aalborg University counter-claim that wind turbines make noise 10 decibels more than an average refrigerator. Let us point out that a difference of 10 decibels is considerable.

Vestas has had to recognize that there is "some confusion" about their claim. It has its origins in Australia', where there is a requirement for a minimum distance of 800 meters between turbines and residences, and at this distance figures fit very well, "said a press officer and spokesperson for Vestas on 1 July.

But this claim is also untrue, replied the three noise experts from Aalborg University. Even at 800 meters noise from a 3 MW wind turbines is six to seven decibels more than an average refrigerator.

What Vestas has never sought to understand is that the resistance to wind turbines is caused by theĀ  unscrupulous - to use Vestas' own expression - behavior by politicians and wind turbine owners.

Politicians, because they unilaterally imposed billions in expenses on families and businesses by favoring one form of energy over others, namely wind turbines . They did so, notwithstanding the fact that, after many years of experimentation, wind turbines are still unable to compete in the free market and must be subsidized.

And wind turbine owners: because in their pursuit of tax credits and state-guaranteed minimum prices, they have ignored the interests of the people who - unlike most of themselves - have suffered a greatly reduced quality of life because of the imposition of wind turbines near their homes.

Many people are positive about renewable energy, but when their favourable disposition meets with political arrogance and extravagant public spending, as well as careless handling of the truth by the wind industry, the backlash is bound to be strong.

Rather than invest energy in meeting "outrageous claims" with outrageous untruths, Vestas could usefully focus its research on making wind turbines noticeably quieter than refrigerators, as well as make them so competitive that any form of direct and indirect state aid would become redundant.

It would be real progress, and the task is by no means impossible.

In addition, it would be far more constructive than Vestas' attempt to present arguments which can be
taken apart with scientific elegance by the experts from Aalborg University.


JUL 16 2013
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