Most of the links on this page lead to further explanation and supporting evidence.
I, Dave Clarke, the author of these pages, do not receive any payment of any kind from the wind industry.
I have been generous to the Senator and referred to errors although in some cases it probably would have been more accurate to call them lies.
To search through a document, ignore the main finding and take out-of-context quotes to try to support your own case is called 'cherry picking'.
Perhaps the only point that Senator Back has made with which I at least partly agree is his concern about some of the confidentiality clauses in the contracts agreed with wind turbine hosts. Any enforced confidentiality is an imposition upon the freedom of speech and should be avoided as far as possible. While the confidentiality clauses are far more limited than many wind power opponents claim, any enforced confidentiality gives the whole wind power industry an unnecessary bad name.
Error 1The third sentence on Senator Back's Net page is: "The oldest continually operating wind farm in Australia, Crookwell, has been in operation for 14 years."
In itself this error is unimportant, but it shows that the Senator did very little research and has very little knowledge of his subject. The longest continually operating wind farm in Australia is Ten Mile Lagoon, at Esperance (in Western Australia, the Senator's own state), which was started in 1993 and is still going strong in 2012.
Error 2Senator Back goes on to say: "The following graph shows that coal provides the cheapest form of electricity generation in Australia. This is followed by gas, wind, hot rocks..."
Yes, coal-fired electricity is cheap while a nation still has existing coal-fired power stations, but wind power is comparable in cost with new coal-fired power stations (see International Energy Association paper on electricity costs). If you consider the damage burning coal does to the atmosphere and the very serious health impacts from the combustion products coal power is a very false economy. Coal with geosequestration of the CO2 produced is so prohibitively expensive that it is, so far as I know, not being done on a commercial scale anywhere in the world.
Error 3Under Health Impacts the Senator states "This has been the subject of bitter argument and disagreement, denial and deception for many years in all countries."
In fact the concern is almost entirely confined to English speaking countries where there has been a campaign to spread fear and an unfounded belief that has become an epidemic hysteria. Concerns regarding wind turbines and health are practically unknown in Western Australia too, because people like Dr Sarah Laurie have not spread their message there.
Error 4Also under Health Impacts Senator Back states "There is a growing body of evidence that adverse health impact are real and that they are occurring at greater distances from turbines than previously recorded."
In fact there is no credible evidence that wind turbines cause illness beyond annoyance and loss of sleep in a few people. Professor Simon Chapman (Sydney University School of Health) and Teresa Simonetti have listed 17 reviews of the scientific literature, all of which come to this conclusion.
A number of people blame illnesses on wind turbines; Professor Chapman and Ms Simonetti have also listed over 220 diseases and symptoms that have been claimed to have been caused by wind turbines. Some people have been made ill by anxiety and fear, due at least in part by what they have been told about wind turbines by people like Dr Sarah Laurie and rumour-mongers like Senator Back.
Should any reader want to follow this further, I have written a page on why you should not believe that wind turbines make people ill elsewhere on this site. One can believe unsubstantiated claims from people like Senator Back and Dr Laurie, or one can accept the science.
Wind turbines are machines similar to other machines. Sound levels from wind turbines are low, and, apart from sustainable electricity, nothing else comes from wind turbines. The sound levels in your car are much higher than they are at any distance from a wind turbine.
Error 5The Senator claims that windfarms have adverse impacts on animals.
It is interesting that Nichols Poultry have their own 225kW wind turbine on their free-range poultry farm in Tasmania. Nichols have a Net site on which they provide information about their operation. Their chooks are aparently just as healthy as any other chooks.
On several visits to
Waterloo Wind Farm I saw a number of
kangaroos grazing and a pair of lazily circling wedge tailed eagles.
Native wildlife is largely unaffected by operating wind turbines.
Error 6The Senator writes at length of what is in 'confidentiality agreements' that he claims landowners who host wind turbines sign with the wind farmers. There is only one gag clause that I know of that could be called unethical.
No agreement would legally stop a landowner from seeking compensation for
health impacts or on making such health impacts known.
You cannot sign-away your common law rights.
Liberal Party has shown a long standing bias toward fossil fuels and against sustainable energy; the only reasonable explanation that I can imagine for this is that they are being lobbied by the mining and fossil fuel industries, from whom they receive generous campaign donations.
Senator Back published a
document in support of his claims about the health
impacts of wind turbines.
I took time to look into Senator Back's seven points and didn't find anything
convincing that there is a link between wind turbines and health –
beyond the usual occasional sleep problems in some people.
(As discussed elsewhere it is quite possible to
get a good night's sleep right underneath wind turbines.)
Back did not give a URL or other information on where several of his references were to be found. This makes it difficult for anyone to check the credibility of the papers concerned.
Senator Back's points: