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The telling bit
Energy storage
Transmission lines
Reducing emissions
References
Miscellaneous points
Final word

Lyndsey Ward: wind factory fighter

For some reason, perhaps known only to herself, Lyndsey Ward hates wind power. Like so many wind power opponents, she is not much concerned with the truth. This page is intended to shine a bit of light on Ms Ward's claims and methods.

She pushed her opinions on me by posting comments on a Facebook page that I set up: Ceres wind farm – the debate. The subject of that page is: "REpower have proposed a big wind farm for Yorke Peninsula in South Australia. Should it happen? Will the project be good or bad for Yorke Peninsula, Australia and the world?"

Wind power opponents who 'debate' on the Internet often use invalid arguments (Ms Ward has, many times; some examples are shown below). A good explanation of valid and invalid arguments is given in The Skeptics Guide.

Perhaps the greatest failing of almost everyone who opposes wind power is to not consider the environmental and health problems stemming from the alternative – the burning of fossil fuels.

This page written 2016/05/26, modified 2017/01/10
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com (David K. Clarke) – ©
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I am not beholden to any company or lobby group (contrary to a claim made by Ms Ward, for which she typically provided no evidence); see About Me.

Wind energy opposition


The preliminary bit

 

Ms Ward and climate science

When asked whether she accepts anthropogenic climate change (ACC: climate change caused by mankind) she said that "As far as climate change is concerned I do believe it happens but I do not believe the science is settled." Can a person who denies the overwhelming evidence that our climates are changing and that the burning of fossil fuels is largely responsible for the changes be trusted to be well informed and telling the truth on any related subject?

Does she know the truth, but rejects climate change because she knows that to accept it is to accept the need for renewable energy forms such as wind power? Opposition to wind power is often combined with rejection of climate science.

 

The right to free speech comes with a responsibility to tell the truth

People may dislike wind farms for several reasons. If so, they have a perfect right to try to express their views to other people. What they have no right to do, is to lie, exaggerate and misrepresent the facts in order to bring people around to their point of view by deceiving them.
 

Being civil costs nothing

Once in a while someone with concerns about wind power contacts me and we discuss the matter in a perfectly friendly and civil way. Those who lie about wind power are rarely civil.
My posting, 2016/05/25, on the Facebook page: Ceres wind farm – the debate, on which Ms Ward commented:
Any argument opposing wind power that does not take into account anthropogenic climate change (ACC) and ocean acidification (OA) is not a complete and sound argument. If human society does not quickly and greatly reduce our use of fossil fuels we will be condemning our children and grandchildren to living in a greatly inferior world to the one we have been privileged to enjoy. Those who oppose wind farms almost without exception either ignore or deny ACC and OA.

Wind farms displace fossil-fuelled generation, as shown by the recent closing of South Australia's last coal-fired power station. As it happened, SA's wind farms generated more than enough power to satisfy the state's demand for more than 10 hours last Sunday. Of course, when the wind and sunshine is not supplying all our electricity needs gas-fired generators and the interstate interconnectors fill the gap.

In the future pumped-hydro energy storage may make some of that gas burning unnecessary.

Wind energy hits 100% of South Australia demand on Sunday

No Batteries required: pumped hydro for solar energy storage
Lyndsey Ward's first comment:
Probably the most deluded post I have read from you yet!

Keep rambling – it is making anti wind campaigning even more enjoyable and amusing and heaven knows we all need a laugh!
My response
Readers please note. Lyndsey Ward has provided us with a classic and typical comment from an opponent of wind power. Totally unspecific, no supporting evidence, no relevance to the subject under discussion, and insulting.

Advertisement...
Turbine and message
For evidence supporting this statement see here.

 
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The telling bit
Lyndsey Ward's second comment

Ms Ward's comment is on the left. I have written responses to Ms Ward's statements in the boxes on the right.

 
Ms Ward's first point in the second paragraph has a false premise; few people truly 'suffer from living near industrial turbines', although a number of people do blame turbines for symptoms that are most likely psychosomatic. That is, the symptoms are most likely due to anxiety coming from the belief that wind turbines can harm them. There may be some people who have trouble sleeping due to noise from a nearby wind farm.

Far from 'callously disregarding', these peoples' problems, by pointing out the most likely real cause to these peoples' trouble I am making it easier for them to seek help and making it less likely that others will suffer from the same unnecessary anxiety.

Yes, I slept right under wind turbines a number of times to test for myself whether there could possibly be anything in the stories of their being harmful. I had a good night's sleep every time. My home is 13km from the nearest utility-scale wind turbines. There are several hundred within a hundred kilometres from my home.

Ms Ward has no evidence to support her claim that I 'have no real knowledge'; her conclusion that a person could 'have no real knowledge' of wind turbines because they didn't live close to them is a non-sequitur fallacy, see The Skeptics Guide.

Ms Ward wrote...
Have you got any readers other than anti wind people? To be honest I have got a bit fed up with trying to have a debate with you.

You callously disregard those who suffer from living near industrial turbines because you have slept under some and didn't hear anything and you live many KMs from any so you have no real knowledge.

 
I have not insulted Ms Laurie and I have nothing to apologise to her for. She has set back climate change action in Australia by her insistance, against all the scientific evidence, that wind turbines cause illness. By travelling the world telling people that if they live near a wind turbine they should expect health problems she causes anxiety which can lead to health problems.

Apart from the science there are a number of common sense reasons to accept that wind turbines damage nobody's health.

I believe that several people apologised to Ms Laurie because they repeated a Tweet saying that she had been deregistered as a medical doctor. I don't think that she has been deregistered, but I believe that the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency asked her to stop calling herself a doctor.

Ms Ward continued...
You insult Sarah Laurie who has done nothing but try to protect innocent victims of wind. You refuse to apologise to that gracious and respected lady like other wind promoters have been forced to.

 
 
Uses of rare earth elements
Image from Geology.com
This is simply not true. I have considered and written about all the valid problems with wind power and I have written, with references, on abatement in relation to wind turbines. I have never said that I think construction, grid connection and decommissioning has no bearing on CO2.

In other postings Ms Ward has blamed the pollution in China caused by mining rare earth minerals on the wind turbine industry. As the graph on the right shows, rare earths are used for many purposes apart from wind turbine construction.

Ms Ward continued...
The fact that you are not prepared to consider the pollution involved in the manufacture and construction of wind factories and you do not think that this, and grid connection and decommissioning, has any bearing on CO2 savings claims makes me think you are not a serious debater at all.

 
Ms Ward, like so many wind power opponents, often resorts to insults.

A car factory is an establishment where cars are made, a nail factory is an establishment where nails are made. So, is a wind factory a place where wind is made?

Ms Ward continued...
You are entrenched, blinkered and probably not very bright. So I will leave you to your ramblings. It was fun while it lasted but to be honest I have wind factories to fight and your never ending promotion and parroting of wind industry propaganda has become tedious. I can go to the trade associations web pages if I want to look at that – which is, I suspect, where you get it from in the first place."

 
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Wind power alone; energy storage
Ms Ward ignores the facts

Ms Ward on Facebook, May 2016: "Ask yourself this. If you were on a life support machine how would you like it to be powered?"

Here she was implying, on no basis whatsoever, that if there is wind power there cannot be any other sort of power. (This is an invalid argument of a type known as the straw man: see The Skeptics Guide.)

I pointed out that in the real world wind could be combined with solar PV, solar thermal, biofuels, hydro and there could be energy storage.

She went on to say: "There is no viable storage and probably never will be. All research so far shows it would be massively expensive and would need fossil fuels to be built."

The fact that it would require fossil fuels to be built is, of course, quite irrelevant. I remarked that Wikipedia says that energy storage worldwide in pumped hydro alone is 127GW (that is 127,000,000,000 Watts) of power and 740TWh (that is 740,000,000,000,000Wh) of energy in storage.

Totally ignoring the evidence provided, she went on to say: "There is no viable storage for industrial wind energy..."






Transmission lines and power substations

Many people, wind power opponents and wind power proponents, would agree that power transmission lines are ugly. They are also unavoidable in any country that has a power grid with scattered power stations – wind farms or any other sort – supplying consumers in distant cities.

Electrical sub-stations, where electricity is transformed from one voltage to another, are also unavoidable; and sometimes noisy.

Ms Ward likes to blame wind farms for transmission lines and ignore the fact that if the wind farm was replaced with any other sort of power station a transmission line would still be needed.

 
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Reducing emissions

 
Emissions in CO2 equivalent from stationary energy in Australia
Emissions
Data extracted from Australian Greenhouse Emissions Iinformation System [AEGIS]
 
This section was added 2017/01/10 after a Facebook exchange
Ms Ward asked me to explain how wind power reduces greenhouse emissions. I replied that electricity generation must always equal demand. So when a wind turbine puts electricity into the grid, some other generator, usually a fossil fueled one, must put less electricity into the grid, reducing the amount of fossil fuels being burned.

Her response:

"Wrong. We have to keep conventional generation ticking over in readiness to take over. It is not as efficient when used that way. In addition wind farms, especially in Scotland, are built in very remote locations and need many miles of grid connection that are not included in emissions savings calculations."
(She gave no evidence to support her claim about the grid connections in Scotland and the claimed lack of consideration in emissions calculations. In Australia wind farms have only been built when there is a nearby high-capacity transmission line.)

The claim that backup power requirements negate the emission saving of wind power is a fallacy that has been commonly used among those who are opposed to wind power, it was never convincing. No matter what type of power generation there may be on a power grid, there must always be a fall-back available; all generators, including coal-fired and nuclear, fail from time to time.

For example, there has been no increase in backup power in South Australia following the installation of substantial wind power in the years between 2003 and 2016.

Strong evidence that wind power does reduce emissions is given by the graph on the upper right that shows that emissions fell in SA by 29% since 2002. There were no wind farms in SA in 2002, by 2014 South Australian wind farms were generating about 37% of the state's power. The best emissions reduction performance from any other state was a decline of 8% from NSW.

The graph also shows a significant decline in Victorian emissions starting in 2012. This coincides with a doubling (from 514 to 1066 MW installed) of wind power in that state. The percentage of wind power in Victoria is much smaller than that in SA.

550 MW of installed wind power in Australia can be expected to reduce emissions by around 1.5 million tonnes per annum so it is not enough to explain the full drop in Victoria's emissions, but it would have been a contributing factor.






References

Below are a few references that readers might find useful. Other references are scattered through the text above. In all my pages I give reference to credible sources.

Summary of main conclusions reached in 20 (or more) reviews of the research literature on wind farms and health: Quick summary. The original document can be downloaded from the Sydney eScholarship Repository site

Ms Laurie's errors on wind turbines and health

Wind power problems, alleged problems and objections

Invalid arguments often used against wind power

Ms Ward has much to say about the cost of wind power, in fact a report from the World Energy Council places it as similar to coal and gas and cheaper than nuclear.

Ms Ward says a lot about wind power being unreliable; in fact it is highly reliable.

Ms Ward probably means variable when she talks about reliability, but the variability of wind power is predictable and so can be planned for.



Ms Ward says a lot about subsidies that wind power receives, she says nothing about the subsidies that fossil fuel companies get; in particular the license they have to dump their damaging emissions in our atmosphere at no cost to themselves.

Ms Ward claims that wind turbines do not abate CO2 emissions. There is, in fact, very strong evidence that wind power reduces emissions. How could anyone with any common sense believe otherwise? After all, when wind farms put electricity into a power grid it usually replaced electricity that would otherwise be generated by the burning of fossil fuels. An example: the last two coal-fired power stations in my state, South Australia, closed down due to the state's wind farms.

Ms Ward repeats the nonsense that the CO2 released from the cement used in the foundations of the turbines is significant – in fact it is abated in the first or second day of turbine operation.

Ms Ward talks of the efficiency of wind turbines when apparently what she means is capacity factor, a very different thing. The Oxford English Reference Dictionary defines efficiency as: "The ratio of useful work performed to the total energy expended or heat taken in." In the case of wind, the 'energy expended' is free and there is no 'heat taken in', so it could be said, by that definition, that wind turbines are infinitely efficient. The capacity factor of wind farms in Australia averages around 35% higher than many conventional power stations.

Miscellaneous points

Ms Ward talks of the cost of decommissioning of a wind farm. She neglects the fact that all power stations must be decommissioned at the end of their useful life and that the cost of decommissioning a nuclear power station is almost astronomical. A wind turbine does not leave radioactivity, it does not leave great fields full of ash as coal-fired power stations do; why would decommissioning a wind farm and restoring the land be expensive?

Ms Ward talks of the copper in wind turbines and the fact that when some copper ores are smelted environmentally harmful sulphur dioxide is released. She fails to mention that, of course, copper is used in every type of power generator.

Final word

It is hard to accept that Ms Ward believes all the things she says. She must have done a fair amount of research, surely she saw the facts; or did she simply believe whatever she came across that fitted in with her preconceptions?

If she doesn't believe her own propaganda, why does she hate wind turbines?

We all have a right of free speech, or at least should have; but with that right comes the responsibility of telling the truth.



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