Wind Industry Pulling Out All the Stops to Defend Its Technology

Wind Spin leapt up a notch with news out of two new studies showing that people who say wind turbines are making them sick are making it up because they have been influenced by anti-wind campaigns.  In other words, the wind industry says if you are sick it is because you are so stupid that you will believe anything someone tells you.  And in Vermont, anti-winders were informed that they are part of a conspiracy to undermine the wind industry, in concert with the oil industry and the Koch Brothers.

One of the studies exposes people in rooms nowhere near wind turbines to suggestive material and then exposes them to recordings or no recordings.  Supposedly this proves that more people will think they are getting sick, even if they haven’t been exposed to anything.  This study may reveal that people are suggestive, but it says nothing about the reasons behind people all over the world abandoning their homes near wind turbines because they get so sick they can not live in them.  The Therrien family’s health is being influenced by wind turbine noise and they are desperate to leave their home of 16 years.

Update April 8:  In his analysis and commentary of this study, Jim Cummings of Acoustic Ecology Institute points out:  “the infrasound exposure source was a 5Hz tone at 40dB.  This is so low a volume that it could also be considered a sham signal; typical human perception curves suggest infrasound must be over 100dB at 5Hz to be perceptible, and no symptoms are expected unless exposure is over that level.”

The other study, described in this article, Wind turbine sickness ‘all in the mind’: study, finds that people who live around wind projects with active anti-wind campaigners are more likely to complain of health problems.  Perhaps what this study is showing is that people do not necessarily connect ringing in the ears and headaches and dizziness with the wind turbines until someone points out to them that these are the types of symptoms that are commonly associated with wind turbines and they get better when they go away for a while.

Update April 8:  In his analysis and commentary of this study, Wayne Gulden points out:  [Chapman] “designed a study whose outcome could safely be predicted to confirm his prior beliefs.  He cherry picks the data, ignoring stuff he doesn’t like, and finishes up with unsupported assertions and innuendos.  The main value of this study is to demonstrate how “science” can be bent, and how careful we need to read studies written by clever people with agendas.  It certainly does nothing to advance our understanding of the very real health issues that are now affecting thousands of people world-wide.”

One thing the wind industry seems to have plenty of is money to continually pump out press release after press release supporting claims that there are no health issues, no reduction in property values, no noise, and anyone who claims otherwise is playing into the fossil fuel industry’s hands.

Vermonters got accused of being connected with oil and gas interests this week in a commentary by two Dummerston residents, “What’s the origin of Vermont’s anti-wind sentiment?  It alleges that people like me who live off grid with solar and oppose wind development on Vermont’s mountains are part of a

“confederation [that] has been working at the state and local level to cause, in its own rather awkward wording, “subversion in message of (the wind) industry so that it effectively becomes so bad no one wants to admit they are for it.” In a coordinated nationwide campaign, “wind warriors” (its wording) have been dispatched to fight the wind industry anywhere, anytime. “Wind warriors” in their PR rely on supposedly “scientific” reports generated by ultra-conservative think tanks with close ties to the oil and gas industry and the Koch family.”

Holy Pinwheel!  I had no idea I was part of a conspiracy to undermine the wind industry using materials from the oil and gas industry.  Or that I am so stupid that I cannot think for myself and investigate the issues from all perspectives and come to my own educated conclusions, just as many Vermonters have.

The common theme coming loudly from the Wind Spinners is that people who oppose wind turbines on Vermont’s mountains are stupid.  This is not a message that will play well in Vermont.  The many doctors, lawyers, pilots, real estate professionals, ecologists, biologists, botanists, hydrologists, journalists, educators, nurses, and people from multitude other walks of life are learning about the damage big wind turbines do in Vermont from actual experience.

The proven damage already done by the wind industry to our Vermont communities, ecology, and neighbors far outweighs the unproven benefits the wind industry keeps spinning.  The media is now compounding the insults to people whose lives are being devastated by this industry by blindly reporting on these two studies.  NPR, Slate, and Fast Company, have an opportunity to follow up their reporting by going to areas where people are getting sick from wind turbines and talk to real people, not just well funded lobbyists and the Wind Spinners. 

Updated April 8, 2013.

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About vermontersforacleanenvironment

VCE's mission is to raise the voices of Vermonters and hold corporations accountable for their impacts on our people, our land, our air and our water. We are united in the belief that Vermont's future lies in conserving its clean, rural, small-town environment. We have joined together to pursue the common goals of encouraging economic development with minimal environmental impacts and preserving Vermont's natural beauty. VCE is committed to providing facts and information so that people can make informed decisions. We encourage your participation.
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One Response to Wind Industry Pulling Out All the Stops to Defend Its Technology

  1. douglasjack says:

    Missing from both Chapman & Crichton’s reports on the supposed nocebo effect of exposure to research putting rural wind developments are longitudinal studies.
    Simon Chapman, Alexis St.George, Karen Waller. 2013. Spatio-temporal differences in the history of health and noise complaints about Australian wind farms: evidence for the psychogenic, “communicated disease” hypothesis.
    Crichton, F., Dodd, G., Schmid, G., Gamble, G., & Petrie, K. J. (2013, March 11). Can Expectations Produce Symptoms From Infrasound Associated With Wind Turbines? Health Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/a0031760

    One must distinguish between short term anecdotal reaction & perception compared to systematic medical gathering of data over populations during significant time period of years & decades. Otherwise we have an undocumented experiment to add to a thousand other artificial industrial interventions upon the biosphere & human lives. At decibel levels below normal attended levels of human consciousness these reports are interesting but not particularly indicative of complex synergistic interactions involving thousands of contributing factors.
    Yes there are placebo & nocebo effects but this does not mean that all human ill-effects are psycho-somatic. Obviously one does not live directly under high tension power lines because the effects of Electro-Magnetic-Field EMF injury to people & animals are well documented. Obviously noise has deleterious effects to humans & animals as well documented. The question is not if? but how-much? & what-kind? of either are damaging.
    Further questions arise:
    1) Do hundreds of millions of electrical consumers who waste & don’t frugally manage their energy use, have the right to impose the negative results (from all technologies) of their consequences upon others?
    2) Why aren’t electrical users & their system-managers using concentrated sources of energy in the urban built-infrastructure? Wind is concentrated on windward building shear surfaces by 12 – 15 times. Concentrated wind presently damages windows, siding, roofs, walking & living environments. Capturing concentrated wind through linear-axis helical wind-turbines can provide 25% of urban electrical needs & has next to no transmission loss. Linear helical turbines produce a fraction of noise & can be covered with screening to keep out birds & wildlife.
    Typical centralized energy complexes lose 50% of energy generated to transmission loss at 5% per 100 miles when one calculates infrastructure depreciation, biosphere loss on right of ways, energy loss, maintenance, staffing etc. Tapping the built-environment’s concentrated energy restores urban areas to clean liveable balance. There are many other presently unharnessed energy concentrations in urban environments such as: kinetic water flows on bridge pylons, wind concentrations in river & lake valleys on bridge pylons, fecal, urine, kitchen cuttings, unused thrown post-use material concentrations which are more easily harvested than exploitive energies relying on never accounting for nature’s limited resources. Find out about Complementary Energy. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/design/9-complementary-energy

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