Home
Wind home


On this page...

Organisations
Lie of the month
Liars
Links
A sincere thank you
Index

Wind power lies

A page in the Wind Power Ethics group*

No-one does good by lying. You can't do much bad by telling the truth, so far as you know it. This I believe. Most of what is written and spoken in opposition to wind power contains, indeed is often based on, lies. On these pages I try to give only the truth (please correct me when and where I am wrong).

Many opponents of wind power feel that they are justified in repeating anything that casts a negative light on wind power, some even encourage others to make up illnesses and blame them on wind turbines. This page was intended to list many of the more common lies and then give the truth.

Then I realised that this was not a good idea – for reasons explained below.

Written 2012/06/16, modified 2017/01/10 – ©
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com
Wind home
Index


 
Wind energy opposition
 
About these pages
 
Google search Ramblings
 
Why do I write these pages? Because I love truth and hate lies.


 
Sheep sheltering in the shade of a working turbine
Sheep sheltering
Clements Gap Wind Farm
The turbine at the top of the tower was operating at the time the photo was taken.

The first lie
(Look at the photo, it shows the fact)

"People, animals and wildlife cannot tolerate what the [wind] turbines generate"

I started with this statement because it is typical of so many made by those who are opposed to wind farm developments; emotional, aimed at having a big impact on the people who hear it, and quite without factual basis.

This statement was made in an anti-wind farm meeting concerning a proposed wind farm at Clifton, some distance south of Mandurah and published in the Mandurah Coastal Times (WA) 2012/06/06. There were no wind farms in this region at the time so the person who made the statement might have been counting on ignorance in the local people.

The truth can be seen in the picture.


But then I realised that listing lies could be counter-productive

I intended to continue in the same format, but a friend reminded me that human psychology was against me. When people read a lie and then read the refutation of the lie, they tend to remember the lie and forget the refutation, no matter how convincing the refutation might have been.

 

A positive bit

Not wanting this page to be entirely negative, I will link here to a speech made by a Youth of the Year competitor. Anita Butcher lives near one of South Australia's wind farms and is very positive about wind power. There were no lies in her speech.
(A picture helps reinforce the refutation, it has quite a bit of impact, so I hope that the example above will do more good to the cause of truth and justice than harm.)

So, I thought, instead of starting with the lie, I should start with the fact and mention the lie in a much less prominent way further down. For example, I could start with "Wind farms generate lots of electricity", discuss the (ample and convincing) justification for this and later say that many wind power detractors claim that wind turbines generate very little electricity.

The problem here would be that I would, in effect, then be rewriting my page Wind power problems, alleged problems and objections.

I have added 'NOT' to the lies listed below in an effort to have the reader get the factual message loud and clear.

 
Top
Wind home
Index





Organisations that are actively spreading misinformation about wind power

 
Also see The opposition in my page on wind energy opposition.
The Australian Landscape Guardians are NOT guardians of the Australian landscape.
Actually the Landscape Guardians are only interested in opposing wind power, they have nothing to say about mining, coal-seam gas extraction, deforestation, coal-fired power stations or any other environmental threats. Investigative journalist Sandi Keane wrote an article on the facts about the Landscape Guardians and the Waubra Foundation for Independent Australia. (Also see Links to Sandi Keane's other pieces on the duplicity and dishonesty of the anti-wind power astroturfers.)

Stop Keyneton Wind Farm is an offshoot of the 'Landscape Guardians', as is the Boorowa District Landscape Guardians.

The Waubra Foundation is NOT a respectable scientific or philanthropic organisation based at Waubra
No-one in the Waubra Foundation has any scientific qualifications; the only connection with Waubra that I know of is that the Waubra Foundation President, Peter Mitchell (who has substantial mining interests) has his country estate nearby (but he lives in Melbourne). I believe many of the people of Waubra resent the reputation that the Waubra Foundation is giving their town. Sandi Keane wrote an article about the people of Waubra wanting to take back the good name of their town from The Waubra Foundation.

The Australian Environment Foundation is NOT a respectable organisation that has the interests of the Australian environment at heart
Actually it is an off-shoot of the right-wing think tank the Liberal 'Institute of Public Affairs' and has chosen that name to borrow respectability from the genuine and similarly named Australian Conservation Foundation.

The international anti-wind power Net site Wind-Watch is full of lies, exaggerations, and half-truths.
If looked at seriously, most of the claims made by Wind Watch will be seen to be false.

The Australian anti-wind power Net site Swindle (or sWINDle) is just what the name implies.
Swindle aims at deceiving the public about wind power.

Another anti-wind site is Stop These Things
As usual for sites opposing wind power, this contains lies and misinformation, it stands out from the crowd only in its high level of abusive name-calling. Anything that is opposed to wind power, no matter how ridiculous, is acceptable content for STT.

The Australian Liberal Party
Seemingly as a means of supporting the big business interestes that in turn support the Liberal Party, the Liberals are actively fighting against the introduction of renewable energy into Australia.

Heartland Farmers on South Australia's Yorke Peninsula
A group capable of claiming (among many other exaggerations and lies) that land values will fall to zero if the Ceres wind farm is built.

The Waterloo Concerned Citizens Group
Does not have a net page. The group's prime mover apears to be Mary Morris, the author of the email that seemed to be inviting people to lie about harm from wind turbines. The small town of Waterloo and the nearby wind farm is a similar situation to that at Waubra.
 
Top
Wind home
Index





Lie of the month

As explained elsewhere, I will not list run-of-the-mill lies here because research has shown that repeating lies, even when you are presenting convincing evidence discrediting those lies, simply reinforces the lies in people's minds. So I will just list a few lies that are so outrageous that no thinking person who knows anything at all about wind power could possibly believe them; lies that are so obviously lies that to pretend that they are the truth would make one look stupid.

It must be said that, while the claims discussed in this section are incredible (in the true sense of the word), some of those who have made the claims actually believe them; so are not liars.



March 2012

This weird claim was published before I wrote this page, but I thought it well and truly deserved an entry. It is part of a comment by outspoken wind power opponent George Papadopoulos (pharmacist of Yass) in Climate Spectator.
"Should anyone wonder why I am so against wind turbines, it is because the recent installation of 40 of them 35km away at times has turned the quiet rural area of the northern hills of Yass into a rumbling mess. The contraptions are a disaster. Anyone who doubts should consider living in my situation."
I have visited all the wind farms in SA, most of those in Victoria, some in WA. The greatest distance I have ever heard a wind turbine from was 2.5km (correction, on 2013/07/07 I managed to just hear some turbines 3.0km away), and then only in ideal conditions. Also read the speech by Anita Bucher, who lives 3km from a wind farm and rarely hears the turbines.

Like so many of those who are outspoken in their opposition to wind power, Mr Papadopolous seems not to understand the inverse square law of physics. Apparently Mr Papadopoulos has links to homoeopathy, so one should not expect a particularly strong connection with the real world.



June 2012

I received this by email;
"Denmark, which pioneered wind power, had a period of 80 days continuous when no power at all was generated."

On questioning this, the person concerned replied "I cant find the report on the 80 day period without wind power in my large number of files. If and when I do I will send it to you." (I never received it.)

It is simply false, but not only that, any thinking person who knows anything at all about wind power could see that it was quite incredible. Denmark is a small country, it is possible that there might have been a day in the last few years in which the wind didn't blow over the whole country. In Australia it is unusual for a single wind farm to go so long as a day without generating power, let alone all the wind farms in a state or the nation. (To be quite sure I checked with the Danish Wind Energy Association. They confirmed that it was not true and had not previously come across the claim.)



July 2012

"The Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle is being driven to extinction by windfarms." This was written by Cathy Taibbi in Wildlife Conservation Examiner.

The Tasmanian sub-species of the Australian wedge tailed eagle is endangered and its population is declining, but wind farms are not the cause.

Taibbi's claim was at least partly based on a piece by Mark Duchamp published on iberica2000. He wrote "TWT [Tasmanian wedge tailed] eagles are being killed in significant numbers at the Woolnorth wind farm" and "the species is now condemned to rapid extinction".

 
Top
Wind home
Index
In fact Dr Cindy Hull, who is in charge of looking into the environmental impacts of the Woolnorth wind farms (by far the biggest wind farms in Tasmania in 2012) has informed me that there was not a single dead wedge tailed eagle found at the wind farms during the whole of 2011 and the first half of 2012.



August 2012

Waubra Foundation: Health Assessment Suggested Guidelines by Sarah Laurie. (While this document is dated March, I didn't come across it until August.)

Professor Simon Chapman extracted another seven health problems/illnesses/symptoms from this document increasing his list of health problems blamed on wind turbines to a (literally) unbelievable 184 (222 by the end of November 2012). The new problems were:

  • asthma, exacerbation
  • Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (decreased)
  • Brain pathology
  • dental infections
  • hippocampus, decreased size
  • Lung ciliary factor disturbance
  • lupus, exacerbation
As Professor Chapman asks: is there anything not caused by wind farms?

There are no health problems caused by wind turbines known to science and wind farms save lives by displacing air polluting coal-fired power stations.



September 2012

A lie of a different type this month. One of the opponents of Waterloo Wind Farm, Mary Morris, sent out an email to a number of other opponents asking them to report sleeping problems and illnesses to the two local councils. There was no suggestion that these problems needed to be factual.


October 2012

This month was the first time I've come across an anti-wind power Net site called sWINDle. It is well named, being full of lies and aiming at misleading the public. I have written a response to it.

You have to wonder; if the anti-wind power people have truth, right and goodness on their side, why do they resort to lies and misleading statements to make their case?



November 2012

In her submission to the Senate Committee on renewable energy and noise from wind farms (Submission No. 3) Mrs Marie Burton wrote "People who stand underneath them [wind turbines] cannot hear anything and up to 10 km away in some cases further they are heard especially under certain weather conditions and you definitely have a problem."

 

Why?

Mrs Burton, being a JP, is probably basically an honest person. Why did she lie like this?

I can only suggest that it is gullibility. She was told this, or she read it somewhere, and she's repeating it, rather than looking into whether or not it is true. Similarly, Senator Nick Xenophon has been taken in be the rumour-mongers.

What this world needs is much more critical thinking and rational evaluation of claims.

I can assure the readers of this page that the first part of this statement is absolutely false. It seems that either Mrs Burton has never visited a wind farm or did not take notice of what she heard when she did visit. I have visited many wind farms on many occasions and have never heard wind turbines from a distance greater than 2.5km, and then only under near-ideal conditions. I live 15km from wind turbines.

Similar silly statements ("you can't hear turbines up close but they are louder some kilometres away") have been made a number of times by the High Priestess of 'Wind Turbine Syndrome", Sarah Laurie, and other opponents of wind power. It seems that some people hear statements like this and repeat them without personally testing them or checking their veracity. To test it all you need to do is visit a wind farm – you will always hear the nearer turbines and not those further away – as you would expect in any real-world situation.

 
Top
Wind home
Index
Anything radiating from a point source is subject to the inverse square law of physics. In a nut-shell, twice the distance, a quarter the intensity; three times the distance, a ninth the intensity; ten times the distance, a hundredth the intensity; etc.

Ms Marie Burton signs her submission as a Justice of the Peace. One would suppose that she did this in the belief that the Senate Committee would take more notice of her submission because she is a JP. Wouldn't one also expect a JP to be more careful about telling the truth?



December 2012

 
I had a discussion with Angus Taylor on Facebook on 2012/12/06-07 about some of Mr Taylor's claims. When the argument went badly for Mr Taylor he deleted the record.
Another wind power opponent (David Libby) claimed that wind turbines were "absurdly inefficient" on an anti wind power Net site and went on to calculate a value of 24% efficiency; which is very similar to the efficiency of coal-fired and nuclear power stations!
People who, like Mr Taylor and Mr Libby, spread lies and misinformation about wind farms produce unjustified mistrust and belief in conspiricies about wind power. This can cause social conflict when a wind farm is proposed in a particular district.
Angus Taylor, Liberal candidate for Federal electoral division of Hume, had a letter published in the Goulburn Post on 2012/10/12. I've made it the lie of the month for December because that is when it came to my notice. Mr Taylor said, in his letter, that wind turbines "are gobsmackingly inefficient in producing electricity".

The Oxford English Reference Dictionary defines efficiency as: "The ratio of useful work performed to the total energy expended or heat taken in."

Efficiency is very important in the case of fossil fuel power stations because fossil fuels are a finite resource – once we use them they are gone, and when burned they produce carbon dioxide and other substances that kill people and cause climate change and ocean acidification; so it is very important to get as much electricity as we possibly can per tonne of fossil fuel. A typical ratio of 'useful work' (electricity generated) to 'heat taken in' for fossil fuelled power stations is about 1/4; ie; 25% efficiency.

What about the efficiency of wind power? There is no 'energy expended' or 'heat taken in', so the ratio is 1/0! Electricity is generated, but nothing is consumed; infinitely efficient! (This is not absolutely true; energy is taken from the wind, but that is without any sort of cost that anyone has identified, and if the wind isn't blowing the turbines do consume a little electricity to run various equipment.)

Perhaps Mr Taylor would be surprised to know that South Australia's power went from 0% renewable to 26% renewable ("gobsmackingly inefficient" wind) between 2003 and 2012. At the same time coal went from 42% of SA's power down to 25% and gas from 58% to 49%.

Mr Taylor is repeating nonsense that he has read or been told without looking into the facts.

As an aside; China installed 18GW of wind power in 2011 alone; seven times the total installed wind power in Australia at the end of that year. Cleantechnica reported that they had installed another 20GW by the end of the third quarter of 2012. Obviously they don't share Mr Taylor's opinion about wind power being 'gobsmackingly inefficient'.



January 2013

There are two lies well worth listing for January, I'll put them side-by-side.
(It was also in January that I came across Senator Sean Edwards' very misleading piece about wind power; it was a good month for lies.)

Boorowa District Landscape Guardians (BDLG)

My first pick for the January lie was BDLG, whose Net site I looked at for the first time on 2013/01/28. (I hadn't come across an outrageous and obvious lie previously in January. Landscape Guardian sites are always fertile ground for finding great porkies.)

 
Also see a page dedicated to BDLG
The whole thing is based on a lie! Like all the Landscape Guardian Net sites that I have seen they pretend to be interested in all threats to the landscape while, in fact, all they do is oppose wind farm developments.

 
Top
Wind home
Index
This is easy to demonstrate. On the BDLG 'about' page they list many 'developments that threaten landscapes' including: excessive urban sprawl, inappropriately sited structures, poorly placed infrastructure, intrusive and ugly signage and poorly planned land clearing, recreational developments, mining and quarrying, etcetera; all highly commendable aims. But then go to the 'issues' page and you will find that it is exclusively about wind farms; not a word about all the other issues!

I could easily continue by picking out many lies in the BDLG brochure about wind turbine efficiency, it's stuffed full of lies, but as I like to keep these sections short I will select only one item. The BDLG claim;

"Does wind power allow the decommissioning of a single fossil fuelled power generator? – NO, not at anytime anywhere in the world!"
Big lie!
  1. The Thomas Playford coal-fired Power Station at Port Augusta in South Australia has been shut down, probably permanently, largely due to the expansion of wind power in that state.
  2. The larger and more modern Northern Power Station, also in Port Augusta and also coal-burning, will likely only be used in summer in future.
  3. On 2012/10/15 Renew Economy reported that half of the Tarong coal-fired power station in Queensland is to be shut down.
  4. On 2013/01/11 it was noted in Scientific American that the Canadian province of Ontario was to phase out all its coal-fired power stations. The same article notes that wind and gas power will fill the gap. Ontario has 2000MW of installed wind power (compared to 2500MW for the whole of Australia at the end of 2012).
Very significantly the greatest of all threats to the landscape, climate change, doesn't even rate a mention by BDLG so far as I could find! Those who don't care about the damage that climate change will do to our environment can easily afford to oppose renewable energy developments.

Would-be PM's advisor squeezes nine fallacies into one sentence

This well-and-truly deserved a space. I don't know what it is that qualifies a man to be PM's advisor, but you can see from this that, at least for Tony Abbott, honesty is not high on the list of priorities!

The following was published in Climate Spectator regarding a new Prime Minister's Business Advisory Council to advise the Executive Government, supposing that the Liberals get into government. The Council is to be headed by Maurice Newman.

On wind power Mr Newman wrote in the publication The Spectator:

 
I have placed links on seven of the fallacies on the left. The links will take readers to an explanation of the facts. Then there are two more lies: wind farms are less 'socially inequitable' than other forms of energy generation, consider community funding for example, and wind farms are much less environmentally harmful than coal, coal-seam gas, gas and nuclear. Whether they are a 'blot on the landscape' is subjective.
"Even before they threatened my property, I was opposed to wind farms. They fail on all counts. They are grossly inefficient, extremely expensive, socially inequitable, a danger to human health, environmentally harmful, divisive for communities, a blot on the landscape, and don't even achieve the purpose for which they were designed, namely the reliable generation of electricity and the reduction of CO2 emissions."

For more on Mr Newman's fallacies see elsewhere.


Libel?

As a self-funded retiree of moderate resources, I am a little concerned about possible legal action when I call someone like Maurice Newman a liar. While I believe that one cannot be guilty of libel if what one says about a person is true, there is still the possibility of an expensive legal action that might be needed to prove the point in court. In the MN case, I doubt very much that he would bring an action, because:
  1. he would know that he cannot substantiate his claims;
  2. he would know that I can prove my claims;
  3. he can see that I am criticising him from an ethical position and on ethical grounds;
  4. it is in the public interest that lies like his be exposed;
  5. he would know that he could not win and he would know that I know that he could not win;
  6. the negative publicity would be very harmful to him and the Liberals.

Red stringybark trees killed by heat and drought
Climate change damage in conservation park
It seems that the BDLG don't care about this sort of landscape damage, while Maurice Newman seems to believe that it is perfectly natural and normal. It will become increasingly common if we don't slow down climate change by strategies such as replacing coal-fired power stations with renewable energy. The red stringybarks in the Clare area (the only place they occur in South Australia) will eventually become locally extinct.
 
Top
Wind home
Index


February 2013

There were three lies that warrented listing in February. It was a good month for lies.

Mr Abbott, you have always made a big thing of PM Gillard's breaking of her promise to not bring in a carbon tax, why is it OK for you to lie on this?

 
Mr Abbott; perhaps you don't know of these countries and US states?
More than 30 countries have a carbon tax
Image source: The Global Mail
One of the leading contenders for this month's star lie relates indirectly to wind power. Tony Abbott has long been opposed to taking serious action on climate change and if the Coalition is elected we can expect to see a slow-down in the adoption of renewable energy, including wind power, in Australia.

Reneweconomy published this on 2013/02/01:

"Abbott did, of course, promise to repeal the carbon tax, saying his previous support for the measure was in the context of other countries doing the same. He insisted no other country is going "anywhere near" carbon taxes or trading schemes – apparently having never heard of carbon taxes and ETS's and pilot programs implemented and planned throughout the 27 states of Europe, Scandinavia, New Zealand, South Korea, China, California, a bunch of other American states and Canadian provinces, South Africa and Mexico. Not to mention Kazakhstan. And where did we find such subversive information? Well, Google would have done the trick, but most of it is contained in his own Direct Action policy."
Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said there was a misconception among many Australians that their nation was acting alone in combating the problem. (The Abbott Opposition has been very effective in convincing many Australians of this fallacy.) She went on to say "Every one of Australia's top trading partners has something already in place." (Eco News, 2013/02/17)
 
Energy generation methods - safety
Graph credit UK Centre for Sustainable Energy

One of the safest forms of power generation criticised as dangerous

James Delingpole, writing in Stop These Things (always a reliable source of lies) would be a possible February liar. He wrote about how dangerous wind turbines were. See the graph on the right.

James, we have to generate our electricity somehow. Wind power is one of the safest ways.

*GWey is an abbreviation for Gigawatt-energy-years, so the fatalities are related to the amount of energy produced in order to allow a comparison of safety in the various power generation industries.

The productivity of wind farms does not decline significantly with time

A document written by Gordon Hughs and published by the Renewable Energy Foundation claimed to show that the load factor (effectively the same as the capacity factor) of wind farms in the UK and Denmark decline greatly with the age of the wind farms (up to 15 years). For example Hughs claimed that the load factor of UK onshore wind farms declined from 24% at age 1 year to 15% at age 10 and 11% at age 15.

This is absolute nonsense as shown in a document written by Per Nielsen of EMD International. (I have received a copy of Nielsen's document, but I don't know of anywhere it is available on the Net.) Nielsen shows that the generation of power from wind farms in Denmark have slightly increased with time.

Australian wind farms show no decline in productivity with age. Further; Australia's wind farms run at a weighted average capacity factor of about 35%; it is doubtful that the capacity/load factor of UK wind farms was ever as low even as the 24% claimed by Hughs; 15% and 11% are beyond belief.

 
Top
Wind home
Index


March 2013

Here we are at 10th March and already I have come across several lies, from one place, that well and truly deserve being called The Lie of the Month.

1: Free land

 

Retraction from HF

After reading my criticism HF have changed their prediction to land price cuts "from 30%".
 
Prices of houses sold at Edithburgh since 2004
Edithburgh house sales
Data from realestate.com.au
Heartland Farmers (HF), the most prominent group that is opposing the Ceres Wind Farm on South Australia's Yorke Peninsula was claiming that some land values will drop to zero following construction!
"impacts on property values, diminishing values from 30% – 100%"
No matter all the evidence that land values are hardly affected by wind farms; these people are claiming that land will be given away on YP after the wind farm is built!

The graph on the right shows recorded prices of houses sold at Edithburgh, also on Yorke Peninsula and about 60km south of the Ceres proposal. Edithburgh is 2.6km from the nearest turbines of the Wattle Point Wind Farm, completed in 2005. There is no sign of declining property values at Edithburgh.

2: Aerial spraying

Aerial spraying of a cereal crop in Mid North South Australia
Crop spraying
HF would have us believe that a pilot who can fly safely like this, avoiding Stobie poles, trees, arials and SWER lines that stretch hundreds of metres between poles and are only a few millimetres thick, cannot safely go within 3km of a big, conspicuous, wind turbine. Pull the other leg!
(For those who don't live in SA, Stobie poles are steel and concrete power poles and SWER stands for single-wire-earth-return power lines.)

Many non-farmers who live in rural areas don't like the aerial spraying of pesticides. Are HF saying that if any of these were to install a domestic wind turbine no aerial spray planes will come within 3km?

3: Noise

A person who is very much involved with the anti-Ceres campaign, but has stated that she does not speak for Heartland Farmers uses the name "The Callous Wind". On 2013/03/09 The Callous Wind left a comment on The Problem With Ceres page of Heartland Farmers' Net site; "...most people on the Peninsula will hear [the wind turbines]".

The greatest distance from which I have ever heard a wind turbine is 2.5km, and then only in near ideal circumstances. Yorke Peninsula is about 170km long!

Do these people really believe their own propaganda, or do they just think that the rest of us are staggeringly thick?

 
Top
Wind home
Index


May 2013

 
Wind farm performance
Wind farm performance
Graphic credit Wind Farm Performance
The low-standard anti-wind power Net site Stop These Things went even further from the facts than usual in one particular posting. It stated that "... the fact that the average windfarm only produces power about 25% of the time".

Actually, the average Australian wind farm generates around 35% of its installed capacity. Considering that most wind farms don't generate at full capacity very often it should be obvious even to the writer of STT that the average wind farm must generate power far more than 25% of the time. It is closer to 70 or 80% of the time.

The graph on the right, which was from the data of the most recent full day available at the time I read the STT posting, shows that of the 27 wind farms logged by the Wind Farm Performance site, most were generating most of the day.

 
Top
Wind home
Index


June 2013

 

Links to references

As usual in my pages, the links given in this piece will take the reader to references and arguments relevant to the point being made.
The prize for the lie of this month has to go to the Black Point Progress Association (BPPA), and/or its spokeman, who, according to David Ridgway "argued it would take as long as 3580 years for a wind driven power station to recover" the carbon dioxide emissions from the construction of the wind farm. (This was reported in the Yorke Peninsula Country Times on 2013/06/18. The Times also reported that the spokesman for the BPPA was an economist by the name of Dr Roger Sexton.)

Before going any further let's just give this some thought in the context of the world wind power industry. World-wide wind power has been growing at an exponential rate for several decades. In 2011 alone, China installed around 17GW of wind power (at the end of 2012 the total wind power in Australia was about 2.5GW). Can the reader believe that the energy experts all over the world are busy installing thousands of turbines each year when the whole thing is grossly counter-productive? Are Mr Ridgway and Dr Sexton (an economist) saying that all the world's most economically advanced nations are run by naïve fools?

Mr Ridgway implied that most of the carbon dioxide involved was released from the making of the cement in the footings of the wind turbines. The actual time in which a wind farm 'pays back' the CO2 component of the footings is not 3580 years, but rather a very few days.

A similar claim made by wind power opponents relates to how long a wind farm takes to pay back the energy used in the construction of the whole wind farm. The figure for this is around five or six months.

If one looks at the carbon intensity of wind farms it works out at about 10 or 12 grams of CO2 per kWh of energy generated. The corresponding figure for coal is about 1000.

Considering another way of looking at this question, wind farms abate around one tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) for each megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity that they generate. The Ceres wind farm, if built, will generate about two million MWh each year. Mr Ridgway claimed that the wind farm would be responsible for releasing a total of 398 000 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere (although how this figure was arrived at we were not told). From these figures we can simply calculate that the wind farm will abate the CO2 in a fifth of a year.

 
Top
Wind home
Index


July 2013

Naomi Bittner, Chair of the Heartland Farmers, a group opposed to the Ceres wind farm on Yorke Peninsula, is quoted on one of David Ridgway's Net pages as saying: "We know that these turbines can shift spray drift from one paddock to another and, if the spray is not compatible with that crop in the other paddock, it will kill it." I emailed Dr Bittner asking her to substantiate her claim; I received no reply.

This is a bizarre claim, but it seems that Mr Ridgway is willing to repeat anything that seems to cast wind turbines in a bad light, no matter how incredible.

The blades of modern wind turbines don't come any closer to the ground than about 30 or 40m. When a farmer (or an aerial spraying contractor) is spraying, using chemicals that will be toxic to adjacent crops, they have to be very careful that as little as possible of the spray drifts anywhere. Most spraying has to be done when there is little or no wind; in which case nearby turbines would not be operating at all. How spray could get up 30 or 40m above the ground to be picked up by a wind turbine and then 'shifted' to another paddock, if the spray operator is doing his job properly, is unimaginable.

 
Top
Wind home
Index


September 2013

I suspect that this is not a lie; in that the person who said it probably believed it to be true. Is it delusion? Is it a person searching for explanations and justifications for preconceptions?

 

Inverse square law

The inverse square law states that at twice the distance sound will be a quarter the intensity; three times the distance, one ninth the intensity; four times the distance, one sixteenth the intensity; etc. On top of this the air absorbs some of the sound energy.
Anything propagating freely from a point source, whether it is gravitation, sound, light, or anything else obeys the inverse square law of physics. It is true that, in the case of sound, topography and density layering of the air can somewhat modify this in detail, but it still holds as a general rule.

In a comment on The truth about Waubra on Yes 2 Renewables, 2013/09/25, George Papadopolous, a pharmacist from Yass, NSW, and a long-time wind turbine opponent stated that:

"cylindrical projection of noise is what applies to wind turbines – not the inverse square law."
Mr Papadopolous believes that this is what explains how he is forced from his home by noise from wind turbines 35km away.
"Why would someone living 35km from wind turbines drive off in the middle of the night to sleep in his car a further 40km or so west twice in one week?"

Cylindrical spreading of sound does apply in a situation where the sound waves can reflect off an upper and lower boundary, such as in a water body. With cylindrical spreading the sound intensity decreases by an amount directly proportional to the distance (neglecting any sound energy absorbed by the air or water or by the boundaries).

In the atmosphere density layering can provide some refraction of sound waves, but there is no efficient upper reflective boundary, and the rough surface of the land, usually covered with vegetation, tends to absorb and scatter sound waves, so cylindrical spreading does not apply. But even if cylindrical spreading (or projection) did apply to wind turbine sound, the intensity at 35km would still be less than one 35th of the very low sound levels at 1km. (In the real world, the sound intensity at 35km will be less than 1/1225th that at 1km.)

The truth, of course, is that the sound from wind turbines is rarely audible from distances greater than 3km and infrasound near wind turbines is no greater than elsewhere.

 
Top
Wind home
Index


October 2013

 

PM Abbott, still denying climate change

To deny the truth of climate change is to deny the need for renewable energy, including wind power.

On 2013/10/23, during the disastrous NSW fires, Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said that the NSW bushfires were proof that the world "is already paying the price of carbon", and also criticised the government's direct action policy (reported in news.com.au and elsewhere). Mr Abbott's response was to say that she was "talking through her hat"! He might as well have gone on to repeat his earlier statement that "climate change is crap".

Mr Abbott, you claim to be a Christian, I remind you of Matthew 7:5 "You hypocrite, first remove the beam from your own eye, and then you will see clearly enough to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

The following was published in the Murray Valley Standard, 2013/10/05; the article was written by Joanne Fosdike who was speaking to Mount Lofty Ranges Landscape Guardians representative Tony Walker.

Mr Walker said:

"96 percent of the wind energy generated in South Australia goes to Victoria"
This claim is quite bizarre and, given only a little consideration, can be seen to be complete nonsense!

When electricity is generated on the Eastern Australian interconnected network it goes into a system of transmission lines. Whether the electricity is generated by wind turbines or any other method, it goes into the same network. There is no way that wind-generated electricity could be kept separate from the rest and the great majority of it sent to Victoria.

Even if this miracle of electron-sorting could somehow be achieved, why would it matter? If South Australia's wind power was exported to Victoria it would displace some of Victoria's brown-coal-generated power, which is among the dirtiest in Australia in greenhouse gas terms. The whole idea of renewable energy is to do just that; replace the dirtiest of the fossil-fuel-generated power.

 
Top
Wind home
Index


November 2013

Tony Walker, the same as got the gong for the lie of the month for October 2013 gains a mention again this month.

This time it was not for a single lie, but a whole letter to the Editor of the Murray Valley Standard full of highly questionable claims; too many to repeat here.

He managed to get it wrong about:

  • The amount of power generated by wind farms
  • The relative cost of wind-generated electricity
  • The amount of greenhouse gasses abated by wind power
  • The effect of wind power on retail electricity prices
  • Wind turbines and raptors
  • The need for generation backup
  • Denmark and wind power
 
Top
Wind home
Index


June 2014

This one is more gross stupidity than a lie. Variations of this are heard from time to time, see here. (Curiously I have not seen so many blatant lies recently; hence the gap in postings on this page.)

From that font of nonsense, Stop These Things:

"Melissa says:
June 12, 2014 at 7:15 pm
These so called renewable wind power plants take electricity from the grid to weirdly keep mechanisms turning over when there is no wind. The blades continue to turn at the same rate of revolution regardless of drop in wind strength."

A little thought will show anyone with any grasp of engineering at all that this is a crazy claim. In the first place anyone could see by observing a wind farm for a time that the blades do not turn at the same rate all the time. If the wind stops, the turbines stop.

What is the fact?

Lane Crockett, head of Pacific Hydro, has informed me (2014/06/12) that "a typical 2 MW wind turbine will use about 5 kW when not spinning". To put this into perspective, the same turbine, in eastern Australian conditions, will generate a long term average of around 700 kW.

 
Top
Wind home
Index


December 2014

 
Ms Nova's graph with a trend line added
Trend line on graph
The mathematically calculated trend line indicates rising temperatures
This is not a lie, but shows a poor understanding of science and a poor understanding of data interpretation by a prominent climate science denier.

In December 2014 Jo Nova, a popular climate science denier published a graph similar to this one in an effort to discredit a statement from the BoM about the spring of 2014 being the hottest on record in Australia.

Apart from showing her poor understanding of science, she seemed to have missed the fact that the data used in the graph contradicts two of her claims:

  1. The graph shows that Australia is warming;
  2. The graph (and the trend line) shows that the rate of warming is increasing.
 
Top
Wind home
Index


July 2015

Alan Jones blunders on ABC's Q&A

Alan Jones made a fool of himself on Australian national TV, ABC's Q&A 2015/07/20, by claiming that wind power was $1502 per kilowatt-hour (about 13,000 times the actual figure).

Alan Pears wrote a Fact Check for The Conversation three days later. Pears showed that the cost of wind power was actually a little more expensive than some coal technologies and cheaper than others, especially so when there was a price on CO2 emissions or with carbon capture and storage.

Jones said:

"80% of Australian energy comes from coal, coal-fired power, coal-fired power, and it's about $79 a kilowatt hour. Wind power is about $1502 a kilowatt hour. That is unaffordable. If you take that power and feed it into the grid, then every person watching this program has electricity bills going through the roof."
Pears showed that the actual cost of wind power was $111-$122 a megawatt-hour (MWh) and coal ranged from $84 to $205 depending on the type of technology and whether CO2 emissions were taken into consideration.

Mr Jones' use of 'kWh' rather than 'MWh' was probably a 'slip of the tongue' that many of us could easily make, but even allowing for this, his figure for the cost of wind power was still too high by a factor of about 13.

Recent (2015-16) contracts written by the ACT government have named wholesale prices from $77 to $92/MWh.

Giving a price for wind power 13,000 times as high as the actual figure Jones came as close as anyone I know of to another wind power opponent, Dr Roger Sexton who over-estimated the time it would take a wind farm to pay-back the carbon released from its construction by a factor of 60,000.

 
Top
Wind home
Index


January 2016

South Australian's electricity bills are slightly higher than in other states

 
Power costs in Australia
Power costs
From ABC Fact Check
I have not been moved to write on this page for a while, but this lie was outstanding.

The Heartland Farmers are a particularly dishonest anti-wind-power group based on Yorke Peninsula in South Australia.

Continuing with the Heartland Farmers' low standards in January 2016, Naomi Bittner, one of the leaders of the group, wrote a claim on the HF Facebook page that we, in South Australia, were paying three times as much for our power as is paid in other states – implying that this was due to our wind power. In fact, as shown by an ABC fact check, SA's power bills are only marginally higher than other states. (See the graph on the right.) It also showed that the ACT, which is soon to have 100% renewable power – much of it wind power – has the cheapest power in the nation.

The reference that Ms Bittner used in support of her claim did not say that South Australians were paying three times as much as people in other states, it referred to the average spot wholesale price on Christmas Day of 2015 being three times higher in SA than in other states – which has very little relevance to the price that South Australian retail consumers pay.

By the way, the main reason that electricity in SA is more expensive than in other states is that most of it is generated by burning expensive gas while the other states have cheap (and highly polluting) coal.

 
Top
Wind home
Index


June 2016

Lyndsey Ward: wind factory fighter

Lyndsey Ward is based in Scotland; she calls herself a 'wind factory fighter'.

She picked an argument with me about wind power in June 2016. There was probably no one particular lie that stood out, but her use over and over of untruths, false premises, unjustified accusations, irrelevancies and exaggerations was impressive.

It justified a page of its own.

 
Top
Wind home
Index


January 2017

 
Water bombing aircraft at Waterloo Wind Farm, 2017/01/17
Water bomber at Waterloo
This is a case of the liars being caught out by their own lie.

The Heartland Farmers, the vocal group who oppose the proposed Ceres wind farm on Yorke Peninsula, have long claimed that water bombing fire fighting aircraft cannot operate anywhere near wind turbines.

Frightening people is a very effective way of raising strong feeling and opposition to any project. The Heartland Farmers people certainly know this, they have been telling people that they have a good chance of losing their homes to fires because water bombing aircraft won't be able to save them; they never had evidence to support their claim.

The photo on the right tells the true story. There is more information, and more photos, on another page.

 
Top
Wind home
Index


February 2017

This is the first time I've been moved to add Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to this page. He has made many highly biased statements about wind- and coal-power, but his statements on the electricity 'load-shedding' event of 2017/02/09 were blatantly false.

The cutting off of power to 90,000 homes in SA for periods of around a half to three-quarters of an hour was due to mismanagement by the Australian Energy Market Operator.

PM Turnbull blamed the 'load-shedding' on South Australia's renewable energy. This was simply false. The low winds were forecast, the low level of wind power was expected, the high demand for power to run air-conditioners was expected. There was ample generation available had Pelican Point No. 2 gas-fired power station been called in; it was not.

AEMO reports to the Federal Energy Minister.

Load-shedding in NSW, same heatwave, next day, 2017/02/10

As reported by the ABC the Tomago aluminium smelter, which normally consumes 10% of NSW's electricity, curtailed its power consumption to avoid the necessity of load-shedding elsewhere in the state.

NSW's power is mostly generated by coal-fired power stations.

 
Top
Wind home
Index





The prominent (Australian) liars
(and those who make public statements that are misleading, erroneous, or simply ignorant)

This section is not aimed at abusing or vilifying those people who oppose wind farms honestly. Everyone has the right to stand up for what they believe in; if they think that wind turbines will spoil their view they have every right to express their opinion. If a person doesn't like the sound of turbines and there is a proposal to build one or more turbines close to his or her house (eg. less than 2km) he has the right to say so.

If someone (falsely) believes that a nearby wind farm will cause big declines in land values or make them ill, again, they have a perfect right to say so in private. We all have the right to talk nonsense in private. But if they want to go public they should check the facts or expect to be publicly held to account.

When anyone in a prominent public position lies about something, or makes absurd and false claims, I believe we all have a responsibility to call them out.

This section is aimed at helping readers find the facts about people who publicly spread lies and misinformation as a means of discrediting wind power. Organisations that spread lies about wind power are listed elsewhere on this page.

  • Boswell, Senator Ron, is a long-time wind power detractor who has little concern with the facts.
  • Cobb, Michael; has circulated misinformation on wind power on the Yorke Peninsula of South Australia and elsewhere. The link is to an excellent critique written by Ketan Joshi.
  • Cumming, Hamish; as told by Graham Lloyd (see Lloyd below on this list). My opinion is that Cumming does not intentionally lie, but he does have a bias against wind power and is misrepresenting the facts and publishing his erroneous conclusions as if they were facts.
  • Jones, Alan; radio shock jock, wind power opponent and climate science denier.
  • Day, Senator Bob; a long-time and outspoken opponent of wind power and a climate science denier.
  • Joyce, Senator Barnaby; a piece by Giles Parkinson on the RenewEconomy pages
  • Laurie, Sarah; a page on her errors, how she is used by unethical and lazy journalists, why she gets media attention, etc.
  • Leyonhjelm, Senator David; another long-time opponent of wind power. He ignores the science and claims, against all the valid evidence, that wind farms harm people's health.
  • The Liberal Party and their war on renewable energy.
    Specific Liberal politicians who have misrepresented wind power:
    • Back, Senator Chris is capable of ignoring the threat of climate change and ocean acidification while unfairly criticising wind power based on highly questionable or non-existent evidence.
    • Edwards, Senator Sean has several fallacies regarding wind power on his Net site and shows a strong bias in favour of fossil fuels.
    • Newman, Maurice; not a politician but a one-tie advisor for the Abbott government. Mr Newman managed to squeeze nine fallacies about wind power into one sentence.
    • Ramsey, Rowan Federal Member for Grey; made a speech in Parliament that was highly and unfairly biased against wind power.
    • Taylor, Angus Liberal member of parliament for the Federal electoral Division of Hume said wind turbines "are gobsmackingly inefficient in producing electricity"; this is easily shown to be a lie. (More on Mr Taylor here.)
    • I added Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to this page on February 2017. He blamed a 'power-shedding' event on 2017/02/09 on South Australia's renewable energy when it was plainly due to mismanagement of the power supply system by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).
  • Lloyd, Graham; 'Environment Editor' of The (Murdoch) Australian national newspaper. More on Lloyd and Cumming.
  • Madigan, Senator John is either very poorly informed or very careless with the truth.
  • Mitchell, Peter; chairman of the so-called Waubra Foundation. Blames wind farms for serious health problems, with a complete lack of convincing evidence.
  • Papadopolous, George probably believes what he says, but his claims are sometimes quite ridiculous.
  • Xenophon, Senator Nick is not a liar, but while being well intentioned and having done very creditable work on many matters, is very misguided on, and unjustly biased against, wind power. Senator Xenophon is very selective in who he talks to; if you oppose wind farms he is all ears, if you support wind power you will be lucky to receive a reply from him.





A sincere thank you to all the liars

People like many of those I've mentioned on this page, who twist the truth and outright lie in order to oppose action on climate change, action that is desparately needed if our children and grandchildren are to have a future, are about as close as anyone can come to being simply evil in the twenty-first century.

Shining a light on their lies, giving honest people the facts about wind power, and in the process, foiling the subversion of groups and individuals like these gives me a great deal of pleasure. It gives me another very worth-while purpose in my retirement; something that I can do and be very proud of doing. What better can anyone do with their time than expose those who, apparently by their ignorance and selfishness, are working to damage the world that we should be doing our best to protect?

From a purely selfish point of view, thank you to the wind power liars.

 
Top
Wind home
Index





Links

Ketan Joshi writes on some of the 'errors' made by Michael Cobb, an author of some anti-wind propaganda.

Ketan also wrote on 'The junk scence of wind turbine syndrome' for Climate Spectator.

Other pages on this site that deal with people and organisations that tell lies about wind power in an attempt to slow its development:

Others are mentioned under Organisations elsewhere on this page.





Index

A sincere thank you
Liars
Libel?
Links
Organisations
Top

Lie of the month
  March 2012
  June 2012
  July 2012
  August 2012
  September 2012
  October 2012
  November 2012
  December 2012
  January 2013
  February 2013
  March 2013
  May 2013
  June 2013
  July 2013
  September 2013
  October 2013
  November 2013
  June 2014
  December 2014
  July 2015
  January 2016
  June 2016
  January 2017
  February 2017
Home
Wind home
Top
 
 
Wind home
Top