Wind farms don't divide communities

One of the complaints that we hear about proposed wind farms is that they divide communities. On this page I argue that:
  • Wind farms don't divide communities, but wind farm opponents try to;
  • and any disagreement that does exist is exaggerated by the media because "sensationalism is good for circulation".

I live in the Mid-North of South Australia in an area with the greatest concentration of wind power in the country; there are eight wind farms with 463 turbines within 70 kilometres of my house in Crystal Brook. Over a period of 14 years two wind farms have been proposed within five kilometres or so on the north side of Crystal Brook.

Some of the region's wind farms were built with very little or no negativity among the local community, others have had significant opposition. It was not the wind farms that divided the communities, but the wind farm opponents tried to.

I have been outspoken in support of both proposed nearby wind farms, yet I have never been abused, nor have I noticed anyone avoiding me. I doubt there is much more emotion over the proposed wind farm than there is over football, religion or the best make of car.

The media like to emphasise and exaggerate any disagreement, "it sells papers" and makes people take notice of radio discussions. In my experience on the ground there is less bad feeling than the media suggest.

This page was written 2018/08/06, modified 2019/08/11 – ©
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com (David K. Clarke)

Google search Ramblings

Wind farm
Wattle Point Wind Farm, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia

Wind farm opponents try to find every possible objection they can to stop a nearby project from going ahead. Claiming that they divide a community or cause social disruption is one ploy that they use, and it can be something of a self-fulfilling prophecy if they are successful.

The local people around most of the wind farms in my region have accepted construction of a wind farm quite happily, welcoming it as a source of additional income and employment for the community. I remember working on a Lions barbecue in Clare with a lady from Snowtown who told me that the Snowtown Wind Farm was the best thing that ever happened to the town.


Action on climate change is becoming more urgent each year

At the time of writing, August 2018, there were exceptional heat-waves in Europe, exceptional bushfires in Greece, Portugal and the USA, exceptional flooding in several parts of the world and drought in Australia. Just a short time ago there had been exceptional flooding in Japan followed by an exceptional heat-wave. There was also a drought in a large part of south-eastern Australia. While none of these individual problems could definitely be attributed to anthropogenic climate change climate scientists have long told us that climate change makes them all more likely.

And, of course, emissions from the burning of fossil fuels is one of the main causes of ocean acidification.

The need to replace coal- and gas-fired power stations with renewable energy such as wind power has never been more urgent or obvious.

A significant part of the opposition to the first proposed wind farm close on the northern side of Crystal Brook was stirred up by Sarah Laurie (then Dr Sarah Laurie) who spread the absurd claim that wind turbines caused illness. This idea ran its course among the wider community in Australia between about 2010 and 2014, but wind farm opponents (such as member of parliament Connie Bonaros) were still trying to resurrect it in 2019.

The fact is that there are a very few very weak reasons to object to a proposed wind farm:

So what valid arguments are the opponents left with?
  • "Wind turbines are really big."
  • "I don't want to see wind turbines."
  • "I don't want to occasionally hear wind turbines."
They rightly realise that these arguments do not carry a lot of weight, so they commonly resort to exaggerations, misinformation and downright lies.

Just one example of a lie the locals have used in Crystal Brook:

"Complaints about wind farm noise is (sic) increasing across South Australia, but these are rarely addressed or resolved".
This was written anonymously (as is very common in lies about wind farms) and was distributed to households in Crystal Brook; it was obviously intended to frighten people; it is quite false. In fact the Wind Farm Commissioner, running an office set up specifically to look into complaints about wind farms, has only received a total of about 163 complaints from the whole of Australia, on all matters, not just noise, in two and a half years (October 2015 to May 2018); further, some 145 of the complaints have been resolved.

Wind farm opponents are desperate for arguments in support of their opposition; they do their best to create social conflict by spreading lies and distorting evidence in an attempt to frighten people at the same time as using social conflict as an argument against a proposed wind farm. They have failed in my town of Crystal Brook.

Much was written and spoken on radio about the 'contentious' Crystal Brook Energy Park, but by the time it received government approval, August 2019, two polls in a local newspaper had shown 83% and 74% support for it.

Wind farms don't divide communities, but wind farm opponents try to.

Related pages

An earlier piece I've written about wind farms and social conflict.

Selfishness or altruism?
Mid-North SA leading Australia in renewable energy
Northern SA's renewabe energy
Why I support the local wind farm
Why oppose wind power?
Why support wind power?
Wind power problems, alleged problems and objections
To oppose renewables is to support coal
Killer coal
Wind energy opposition
Wind farms and land values
Wind turbine noise
South Australia's great success in adopting renewable energy
A letter to my great-grandchildren
About me


Renewable energy in Australia
Northern South Australia – leading Australia in renewable energy