35 Reasons to Question Industrial Wind Power

Did you know or have you learned:

  1. that wind farms make people sick?
  2. that infrasound from wind farms makes people sick?
  3. that people living kilometres away from a wind farm are affected because of them?
  4. anything positive about Dr. Nina Pierpont’s wind-related work?
  5. that Wind Turbine Syndrome is a real medical condition?
  6. that wind turbines cause Vibroacoustic Disease (VAD)?
  7. that wind turbines are the same as military and police acoustic weapons?
  8. that shadow flicker causes epileptic seizures?
  9. that the World Health Organization has stated that wind turbines make people sick?
  10. anything positive about Australian Sarah Laurie’s or the Waubra Foundation’s wind-related efforts?
  11. that there are dozens or hundreds of ‘wind farm refugees’ who have had to leave their homes?
  12. that wind farms reduce property values?
  13. that wind farms require 100% backup?
  14. that the variability of the wind makes wind energy useless?
  15. that there are other wind generation technologies instead of the iconic three-blade turbines that are better and should be built instead?
  16. that wind turbines barely produce any electricity because they require so much to start, heat or cool?
  17. that wind energy shouldn’t be built at all, but one of nuclear energy, thorium nuclear energy, wave energy, tidal energy or geothermal should be built instead?
  18. that wind farms wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for subsidies?
  19. that wind energy is a scam or fraud?
  20. that wind farms actually contribute to global warming?
  21. that wind farms don’t reduce greenhouse gas emissions e.g. carbon dioxide?
  22. that wind farms damage ground water?
  23. that wind farms cause fires?
  24. that wind farms kill large numbers of birds?
  25. anything positive about Mark Duchamp’s or his various organizations’ — WCFN, STEI, EPAW — efforts related to wind energy?
  26. anything positive about Wind Concerns Ontario or Ontario Wind Resistance?
  27. anything positive about the Stop These Things site, Alan Jones’, Nick Xenophon’s or John Madigan’s efforts around wind energy?
  28. that wind turbines kill lots of bats?
  29. that wind turbines harm horses, cattle, goats, ostriches, mink or other farmed animals?
  30. that you should watch any of the documentaries Wind Fall, Con with the Wind or Wind Rush?
  31. that wind farms take up lots of land?
  32. that wind turbines are ugly?
  33. that wind farms don’t create rural and local jobs?
  34. that wind farm consultation processes were tightly controlled to eliminate any negative information?
  35. that there are gag orders in leasing contracts for land for wind turbines?

[source: Barnard on Wind]


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Smart Community Engagement: Twelve Tips Every Wind Developer Should Know

Ben Kelahan & Jan Christian Andersen
Thursday, April 24 2014, North American Windpower

The wind industry is encountering more opposition than ever. Renewable energy has certainly become hyper-politicized, with legislative skirmishes over the production tax credit or renewable portfolio standards dominating the headlines, driven by the excitement over the involvement of ALEC, the Heritage Foundation and the Kochs.

However, local battles are burning red hot as well, and million-dollar projects have been deemed dead at the hands of community problems. It is time for the entire wind industry to realize that community engagement is a necessary part of development.

Community engagement is more than just signing landowners to lucrative deals or doing Indiana Bat studies. More often than not, developers do not go the extra mile to truly engage the local community. They take a successful outcome for granted based on the additional tax dollars they provide or assume they can quietly escape the wrath of opposition by trying to avoid it. Failure to engage consistently costs developers several hundreds of thousands of dollars in construction delays, if not millions in sunk costs because the project never gets off the ground.

The greater problem for the industry is that now one poorly planned engagement can turn into legislation that could ban the industry from an entire state. Armed with the political tides of local opposition to wind in his or her district, all it takes is one lawmaker to introduce a bill that provides onerous restrictions on the industry to negate all off its benefits.

None of this has to happen – or at least not without a fair fight. As a wind developer, you can almost always prove successful by establishing the following best practices to engage the local community:

1. Determine your goals and timeline for the outreach plan based on other development timetables. Ideally, you will have at least three months to implement your plan, if not longer.

2. Research! Spend time doing a deep dive into the history of the community you’re about to enter. Identify the most influential families, businesses, churches, organizations and landowners. Get a high-level sense for their politics and voting patterns, traditions and anything else you can learn about them.

3. Map out your stakeholders and draft an engagement plan that you can commit to during execution phases. Think of this as the big detective board in a criminal investigation. Keeping everything organized is hugely important. Make certain to include expected supporters, opponents, neutral people, persuadable stakeholder groups, state and local elected officials (sometimes federal), and media targets.

4. Develop engagement strategies for the people you already know, as well as for the people you don’t know. The latter group will require a different approach, and “warm” intros can go a long way in quickly developing those relationships.

5. Get your entire internal development team, communications department and consultants on the same page and keep them there. This is one of the most challenging parts to effective outreach, but it’s also essential for a successful outcome.

6. Set up an outreach calendar specifically for this purpose, complete with individual responsibilities, and keep everyone accountable.

7. Engage everyone – in person, if possible – at least three times to build a trusting line of communication. This applies especially to the opposition. They will likely never support the project, but the last thing you ever want them to do in a public hearing is accuse you of avoiding them.

8. Monitor your progress and document your actions with stakeholders. Always check in with the rest of your team and coordinate your efforts. Be willing to adjust your strategy and timeline if or whenever necessary.

9. Be present in the community, especially at times when you don’t need anything from its members. Rent an office space in a visible location, and maintain regular hours to provide walk-in access to information. Attend community events even if you’re not on the agenda. Support local causes that need supporting because it’s natural responsibility.

10. Don’t hide from politics. Seek to understand how it impacts your project, and sensibly embrace the local political dynamics of the community. Local county executives are usually quick to support an easy addition to their tax base; however, they also need to know that their community supports the project. Make sure they hear from supporters on a regular basis, because you can be assured that they will already be hearing from the opposition. You need to balance out this dialogue as much as possible.

11. Ask for help from your supporters. Make specific, strategic requests based on why they back you, but respect their time and be careful not to overuse individual supporters.

12. Stack the deck at public hearings, and plan for it well ahead of time. Make absolutely certain you have more supporters in the room than the opposition and that they are well prepared. If you’ve done your job leading up to the hearing, getting all of your supporters there should not be a problem. However, never be presumptuous about success – a poor performance at a hearing can change everything.

When the outcome of a local hearing goes against a developer, the best-case scenario is that the company will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to play catch-up to the opposition and eventually succeed in changing the mind of an entire community. The worst-case scenario is that the developer loses a multimillion-dollar investment because the project never moves beyond a simple conditional use permit hearing.

But it is not just about the dollars and cents. It is about understanding that smart community engagement pays dividends beyond a permit victory and local community acceptance. Your reputation follows you on to the next project – and the project after that.

Ben Kelahan is partner and Jan Christian Andersen is vice president of energy strategy at Five Corners Strategies, a consulting and strategic communications advisory.

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New Australian Medical Association logo affiliation program


In a move to bolster consultancies for its members, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) announced an innovative affiliation program Tuesday last (18th March 2014).

“No medical professional wants to appear mercenary, and as a broad-based membership group AMA can not be seen to endorse specific companies,” explained AMA President Dr Steve Hambleton. “Yet our members felt there was overriding need to find ways to better attract corporate benefactors.”

After careful discussion, the Federal Council, Hambleton said, agreed that as they often condemn whole industries that don’t benefit members, AMA ought to feel free to promote friendly industries “in generalised terms”.

In addition to issuing position statements that provide an outlet for selected industry communications, the Federal Council approved the innovative suggestion of Vice President Professor Geoffrey Dobb to begin a series of logo modifications expressing AMA’s collaborations.

“Medical professionals aligning themselves with corporate goals has sometimes caught us up short in the past – cigarettes being a famous example”, Dobb said. “The goal was to make it appear that the industry is endorsing us, rather than the other way around”, he explained.

The first companies to benefit, ie to benefit the AMA, from this program are those developing large-scale wind energy. “It was an obvious fit”, said Dobb, adding, “It’s a shame we can’t support tobacco any more – ie, partner with Big Tobacco to balance our interests and thereby take advantage of an important source of support for the work of AMA members – a softly smoking cigarette would have worked in well, too.”

As for Hambleton, he is very pleased with this solution and hopes it will be lucrative enough to expand to other industries. “Medicine is not practised in an ivory tower. We are also stakeholders in many of these companies – it’s a no-brainer, really.”

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Simon Chapman, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Australia

‘Since I began writing and speaking about wind turbines and health in 2010, it has become common for those who do not agree with me to say or insinuate that I am somehow being paid by the wind industry or agencies acting for it. This is completely untrue and I have said this repeatedly to journalists and interviewers whenever the question has been asked. Those who continue to make this claim, particularly from the supposed protection of anonymity, are either ignorant about my lack of competing interests or are knowingly lying.

‘I, nor anyone acting for me, have ever sought or received any research funding, “unrestricted educational grants”, hospitality, or shares or any other consideration from any wind energy company or agent acting for them. [Freudian slip? Presumably he meant ‘Neither I’ or ‘never’. Or did he?]

‘I have a tenured academic personal chair in public health at the University of Sydney where I have worked continuously since 1986. My salary is paid for entirely [by] the University where I have teaching, research and research scholar supervision responsibilities.’

(http://tobacco.health.usyd.edu.au/assets/pdfs/Other-Research/CompetingInterestStatement.docx; created 23 March 2013, accessed 2 February 2014)

Yet …

Chapman spoke at the New Zealand Wind Energy Conference, 3 April, 2012.


‘In late 2012 Simon Chapman was remunerated by lawyers acting for Infigen energy for providing an expert report on psychogenic aspects of wind farm noise complaints for possible use in a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing.’


Chapman spoke at a Community Consultative Committee meeting for AGL Energy.


Chapman spoke at the launch of Vestas’ Act on Facts campaign.


Chapman was invited to speak by the European Wind Energy Association at its 2nd wind turbine sound workshop, 9 December, 2014.


And …

Fellows of Senate, University of Sydney, with ties to the wind energy industry:


  • Belinda Jane Hutchinson, chancellor: chairman of QBE Insurance Group; director of AGL Energy
  • Alan Cameron, deputy chancellor: chairman of Hastings Funds Management and Westpac; consultant to Ashurst Australia
  • Kevin McCann: chairman of Allens Arthur Robinson and Origin Energy; lead independent director, Macquarie Bank and Macquarie Group; director of BlueScope Steel
  • David Mortimer: chairman of Leighton Holdings, director of Intoll Management Limited (previously Macquarie Infrastructure Management)
  • also Catriona Menzies-Pike: arts editor of The Conversation (seemingly unquestioning publisher of articles by Simon Chapman); previously managing editor of New Matilda (seemingly unquestioning publisher of articles by Ketan Joshi of Infigen Energy)

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Six types of wind energy advocate

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From the Ministry of Social Marketing

“What the audience research tells us about how to build consumer demand for renewables”

Edward Maibach, M.P.H., Ph.D.
Justin Rolfe-Redding, M.A.

Center for Climate Change Communication
George Mason University

Presented at Phase II Conference, American Council on Renewable Energy, December 8, 2010

“Our data show that questions asked in national surveys about proposals such as wind farms exaggerate the support for wind farms because the answers are typically superficial, top-of-the-head responses. When people think about the advantages and disadvantages of wind farms, as they would if a wind farm were proposed for their community, their support diminishes.” —Eric Smith & Holly Klick (2007): “Explaining NIMBY opposition to wind power”

Bottom line: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. [a danger to developers’ plans, that is]

What’s a possible solution? Inoculation theory, perhaps: Present your audience with a weakened version of counterarguments. Show them refutations, or help them come up with their own. [ie, straw man fallacy] (William McGuire: “Inducing resistance to persuasion: some contemporary approaches. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology, vol. 1 (pp. 191–220), New York (1964): Academic Press)

Activate the Alarmed and Concerned.
Convince the Cautious and Disengaged.
Reach out to the Doubtful and Dismissive.


1. Aggressively target all audiences. RE is the vanguard of environmental messaging for skeptical publics.
2. Identify unique needs of publics for solution–, information–, and values–oriented messages.

Overall recommendations:
Mindset: Begin and end with your audiences.
Plan: Consider their unique strengths and deficits.
Action: Connect through appropriate messages and messengers.

Simple clear messages, repeated often, by a variety of trusted sources.
—Maibach’s formula for communication impact

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Wind industry flack makes case for health effects research

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