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Some facts about Stop Keyneton Wind Farm

The misleadingly named Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges Landscape Guardians (EMLRLG) has a Net site opposing Keyneton Wind Farm. When Palmer Wind Farm was proposed, further to the east than Keyneton, the EMLRLG became involved in opposing that project.

As with other so called Landscape Guardians, this group is not really interested in protecting the local environment, it is devoted to opposing local wind farms. If they were truly interested in looking after the landscape they would be strongly in favour of seeing serious action on slowing climate change. Climate change is a far greater danger to our environment than the wind farms that will slow climate change.

Written 2013/01/18, modified 2014/11/26
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com (David Clarke)
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Turbine and message

And of course, wind turbines are fully compatible with agriculture, massively reduce greenhouse gas emissions, make little noise, save lives by displacing coal-fired power stations that kill millions of people each year with their air pollution, and harm no one's health.

See also, the advantages of having a nearby wind farm



 

March 2013; heat continues following hottest summer on record

I wrote this on 2013/03/09. The average maximum temperature for March so far has been four degrees higher than the long-term average. The BoM forecast for the next week if for above average temperatures every day. The SKWF group don't care about climate change, they care only about NIMBY.
The home page of Stop Keyneton Wind Farm (SKWF) / Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges Landscape Guardians (EMLRLG) starts with the statement:
"The Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges Landscape Guardians is an organisation of residents and landholders whose aim is to preserve the flora, fauna, amenity and tranquility (sic) of the Mt. Lofty Ranges near the Barossa Valley, Eden Valley, Cambrai, Sedan and surrounding areas in South Australia."
It can easily be shown that they don't really care about the environment...

Spring temperatures, 2014
2014 Spring temps
This Bureau of Meteorology map shows that temperatures in SA in the Spring of 2014 were between 2 and 4 degrees above average.

Update, 2016/01/07
2014 was the hottest year on record world-wide to that time. The official figure were not yet available, but at this time it seemed certain that 2015 was again the hottest on record.



 
Wind farms are effective in reducing greenhous emissions
Emissions intensity
Emissions intensity (EI) from the four large states in the Australian National Electricity Market (NEM) and the average for the whole of the NEM, including Tasmania. Tasmania's EI is off-scale at the bottom of this graph.
Graph credit – Professor Mike Sandiford, University of Melbourne; data from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)
Note the very large decline in South Australia's EI; due almost entirely to the introduction of wind power.
In common with other Landscape Guardians groups, these people do not really care about things like flora and fauna, as they claim to do, they are only concerned with stopping a wind farm from being built. If EMLRLG truly wanted to preserve the environment of the area they would be supporting renewable energy rather than opposing it. Carbon emissions from fossil fuel fired power stations are one of the main causes of climate change and ocean acidification and these are far greater threats to the Australian environment than are wind farms.

Wind farms kill few birds. The world's main bird protection groups recognise that climate change is a far greater threat, so they support wind power development. Australian flora and fauna will suffer badly as the climate changes; damage is already to be seen if you look for it (photo below). As the climate changes species will no longer suit their habitats, and those that cannot move will be forced into at least local extinction.

As for the tranquillity that the EMLRLG talk about, wind turbines do not make much noise and cannot often be heard at all at distances greater than a kilometre or two. Immediately beneath a wind turbine a conversation can easily be conducted without raising one's voice, and often the sound of the breeze in nearby vegetation drowns-out the sound of turbines at distances of a kilometre or more.

The claim to aim to protect the local environment is a universal one by the various Landscape Guardians groups. It seems to be a ploy to sound positive. Calling themselves the Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges Wind Power Opposition Group sounds negative; but it would be a more accurate name.

By far the main interest of the EMLRLG seems to be in pursuing a short-sighted strategy of keeping wind farms out of their immediate vicinity (see NIMBYism). Environmentalists have long urged people to "think globally, act locally"; Landscape Guardians groups "think deviously, act selfishly".

How SKWF came to my notice

 
If the anti-wind power lobby has truth and justice on their side, why do they resort to lies and misinformation to try to achieve their aims?
I received an email from one of the members on 2013/01/17. The message mentioned the fact that I had slept under wind turbines. It went on to suggest that I would get a more scientific understanding of wind turbines if I was to listen to an interview with acoustician Rick James.

I have written about the scientific method and science in practice elsewhere, so here I will confine myself to pointing out that science is not about listening to "experts" who say things that agree with one's preconceptions; it is about going out into the world, making direct observations and measurements, and examining the scientific literature. (There have been at least 20 reviews of the scientific literature, not one of which has confirmed the claims of groups such as EMLRLG; they all conclude that there is no credible evidence that wind farms harm anyone.)

The email went on to say that I should "Be glad [I am] 15km and not one[,] two or up to ten km from wind turbines". Apparently the writer is under the impression that while I found wind turbines absolutely benign when I slept beneath them, and have not had any problems relating to living 15km from a wind farm, if I lived between one and ten km from them I would have problems! This shows a very poor understanding of the propagation of sound, of the inverse square law of physics and the dose-response relationship between environmental hazards and health.



Climate change damage in Mid-North South Australia
Dead red stringybark at Clare
Dead red stringybark Eucalyptus macrorhyncha in the Clare area, 100km from Keyneton


It is arguable that the exceptionally hot and dry summer that was responsible for the damage in the Sping Gully Conservation Park shown above may not have had anything to do with climate change. What is undeniable by any well informed and honest person is that exceptional weather events such as this will become more common as climate change progresses unless we get serious about taking action such as replacing fossil fuel fired power stations with wind farms and other forms of benign renewable energy.

Saying "climate change action is well and good, but not if it is near me" should not be accepted by right-minded people.



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