Saturday, December 14, 2013

Save The Planet ! Mince Eagles & Drive People Nuts !

Eagle flying over a Duke Energy Wind Turbine
The Green Religion has a lot to answer for. How do green activists in good conscience come up with schemes that scar the landscape and kill rare birds? A major U.S. power company has pleaded guilty to killing eagles and other birds and assorted bats at two wind farms and agreed to pay $1 million as part of enforcement laws protecting birds against wind energy facilities. Duke Energy pleaded guilty to killing 14 eagles and 149 other birds at its Top of The World and Campbell Hill wind farms outside Casper, Wyoming. ''Wind energy is not green if it is killing hundreds of thousands of birds,'' said a disgusted Georg Fenwick, president of the American Bird Conservancy. Editor's Note: It's also not green if it doesn't do anything measurable to stop global warming.

Now, under pressure from the wind-power industry, the idiots in the Obama administration said last week it will allow companies to kill or injure eagles without fear of prosecution for up to three decades. The new ruling is designed to address environmental consequences that stand in the way of the nation's heavily subsidized wind energy rush; that dozens of bald eagles and golden eagles are being killed each year by the giant, spinning blades of wind turbines. An investigation by the Associated Press earlier this year exposed the Obama administration's reluctance to prosecute such cases and its willingness to keep the scope of the eagle deaths secret.

The sad resulting carnage of wind farms
President Obama has championed the pollution-free energy, nearly doubling America's wind power in his first term with utter disregard that this energy is more costly to the consumer than other traditional forms of power generation without any real hope of tackling global warming. The president's government has been forced to accept the not-so-green sides of green energy as a means to an end. Another AP investigation recently showed that corn-based ethanol blended into the nation's gasoline has proven more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and worse than the government acknowledges. These examples highlight Obama's willingness to accept environmental trade-offs in the misplaced hope that green energy will help fight climate change.

While in England they have a more serious consequence of wind farms. Wind industry skulduggery was exposed on the front page of the Telegraph exposing the way noise regulations governing the wind industry have been rigged by vested interests in one of the great public health scandals in many years. In the article entitled: Wind Farm Noise; Why is no one listening, by Richard cox, David Unwin and Trevor Sherman, they revel how government-approved pseudoscience underpins wind farm noise assessment. An assessment that completely ignores the fact that wind farms really create a noise nuisance. Also, that they actually disturb the sleep of people living near by and now there's a growing awareness that they can cause long-term ill health, including psychosis. There have been a number of Anti-turbine marches around England by concerned citizens.(below)

Anti-turbine march led by botanist David Bellamy
Of course, the government's Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) denies a problem exists. The reality is that when granting planning permission for a wind farm the Planning Inspectorate relies on a fifteen year old noise assessment methodology known as ETSU and to date no one is aware of them ever turning down an application based solely on its potential to cause noise nuisance. Yet, acoustics expert Mike Stigwood of MAS Environmental, one of the few consultants to act for local authorities and resident groups, is aware of 70 wind farms in the UK causing a noise nuisance. RenewableUK (RUK) routinely uses its muscle to divert public attention away from the noise issue and, in particular, amplitude modulation (AM), the most intrusive feature of turbine noise and the cause of most complaints.

The occurrence of  AM, the loud beating, slapping or whoose noise from wind turbines is closely correlated with periods of high wind shear. AM is the most annoying noise characteristic of wind turbines. The wind industry and DECC consistently maintain its occurrence is rare but evidence collected shows it is responsible for all the 70 cases previously mentioned. In addition, there is mounting evidence of significant levels of low frequency noise (LFN) being measured inside homes located near turbines. LFN directly affects the health of residents even where the turbine noise is either inaudible or barely audible at all. Once again the wind power industry and Government have denied the presence of LFN. This is becoming a major health scandal.

An intimidating presence.

So who's standing up for local residents against these powerful forces? We might expect the ETSU approach to be scientifically sound and use reliable data to support these complaints. Sadly this is not the case. Noise is regarded as being to technical for most people including planning decision makers. It is therefore left to the acoustic experts who we expect to act in the residents best interests. Sadly this is not the case either. Over the entire period from 1997 onwards most of the acoustic advice drawn on by the DECC has been provided by just two acoustics consulting companies, Hayes McKenzie Partnership (HMP) and Hoare Lea Acoustics (HLA). These two companies are also the largest players in the wind farm acoustics consultancy industry acting for wind farm developers. The conflict of interest could not be greater.

The Way I See It....any neutral observer might have expected a substantial revision of the guidelines, or, at the very least, some careful attention to address the widespread criticism that the ETSU has attracted. This has not happened. In 2012 the DECC commissioned the Institute of Acoustics (IoA) to review how ETSU is applied and produce a Good Practice Guide (GPG). Strangely, the DECC terms of reference excluded consideration of noise limits, and excluded any consideration of the health effects of turbine noise! Incredibly, amplitude modulation, the most troublesome aspect of turbine noise and the cause of most complaints, was also excluded! And last but not least, the mention of the killing thousands of birds wasn't brought up.

A token public consultation was conducted during the summer of 2012 and the final GPG was issued in May of this year. Although several qualified individuals provided consultation submissions identifying serious scientific failings with ETSU and the draft GPG, all were ignored. The published GPG endorses some of the worst examples of pseudoscience I have seen. As a result the new guidance will permit even higher noise levels to be inflicted on local residents and by default shorter separation distances for developers to exploit. Any semblance of a peer review process has been reduced to a sham. The IoA likes to present itself as a professional organisation. However, in endorsing the reprehensible actions of the DECC, HMP and HLA, somehow I doubt it. So why is nobody listening?  And I think everybody should be screaming....COVER-UP !!

UPDATE:  Britain's Mail on Sunday reports on the great green gravy train:  ''A three-month investigation shows that some of the most outspoken campaigners who demand that consumers pay the colossal price of shifting to renewable energy are also getting rich from their efforts.
                    Four of the nine-person Climate Change Committee, the official watchdog that dictates green energy policy, are, or were until very recently, being paid by firms that benefit from committee decisions.
                    A new breed of lucrative green investment funds, which were set up to expand wind farm energy, are in practice a means of taking green levies paid by hard-pressed consumers and handing them to City investors and financiers.

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