On 26 and 27 March, the Danish Wind Industry Annual Event 2014, organized by the trade organization Danish Wind Industry Association, was held in Herning.
Nearly 400 participants from Denmark and abroad participated in the sessions, highlighting many aspects of wind energy and wind turbines, including noise, but quite remarkably, one of the leading noise researchers,
Professor Henrik Møller from Aalborg University, was not to be found among the many speakers. However, Professor Møller’s superior, Eskild Holm Nielsen, dean of Aalborg University's Faculty of Engineering and Science, was present, and spoke about closer cooperation between industry and research institutions. Nielsen pointed out that it was important that the industry demonstrated a greater willingness to open up and share technology issues with the research world, according to the Wind Industry Association’s record.
The message is thought provoking, since the very same Eskild Holm Nielsen had, the day before, sacked the country's leading noise researcher, Professor Henrik Møller, who has repeatedly challenged and criticized
the EPA as well as the wind industry, for misinforming the public about the low frequency noise, which particularly large turbines emit. Long‐term exposure to low frequency noise is suspected to reduce life quality and be directly harmful.
It is a very rare occasion in Denmark that a recognized professor is fired. In Henrik Møller’s case the argument is the failing economy, but the real reason is inaccessible to the public due to the lack of rights of access to documents in such staff cases. The wind turbine industry has a very close collaboration with the Department of Wind Energy at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and DTU also provided a considerable share of the speakers and panelists at the Danish Wind Industry Annual Event 2014.
DTU's Department of Wind Energy is in charge of construction and operation of the National Test Centre for Large Wind Turbines at Østerild, and we hardly reveal a national secret by thinking aloud, that Professor
Henrik Møller's research‐based opinions about low‐frequency noise from large wind turbines may have been on a collision course with his academic competitors at the Technical University. It is academic tradition to argue, and because of DTU's deep mingling of interests with the wind industry, it has been life‐giving to have an alternative voice ‐ especially for all those people who feel seriously impacted by noise from wind turbines and feel that they are not taken seriously due the political consensus about the unrestrained expansion of wind power in Denmark.
With Professor Henrik Møller now gone, it is DTU's own researchers, who will start with assessing possible low frequency noise nuisances from giant turbines in the National Test Center, for which the same DTU is responsible.
We have no evidence to claim that DTU does not deliver valuable research, but given the vast billions that taxpayers directly and indirectly are forced to pay for wind energy in a broad sense, it is crucial to have critical researchers like Professor Henrik Møller, who undertakes the role of the Devil's advocate.
The ‘greedy for growth’ university in Aalborg must therefore accept that members of the public will find that the sacking of Professor Henrik Møller with economics as a justification is of a nature which at least shows that Franz Kafka has not lived in vain.