Letter to the Editor, response to the SSF article – June 2020

In the June issue of The Boolarra Link a letter from the SSF was published supporting the Delburn Wind Farm, which is being developed by OSMI.

I decided to fact check some of the SSF claims and here’s what I found.

SSF claim: Raptors and larger birds have been sighted in the area however evidence shows that these birds do adapt as they are very clever aviators.

Fact: Osmi’s own biodiversity experts state: “Birds and bats are particularly susceptible to impacts from wind farms, as they are the only species which occur at the height of the moving blades,” and “ Birds such as raptors, wetland/waterbirds and parrots generally have flight characteristics that make them more prone to collisions with wind turbines…Some minor changes in local distribution and abundance of these species may be expected as a result of the ongoing operation of the turbines”.

Let’s call it out for what is is, the experts are saying birds and bats will be killed by the moving blades.

SSF claim: Nearby neighbours within 2km of turbines (109 homes) are likely to receive at least $2000 pa. And $150,000 pa specifically for the community benefit fund, this project is a hefty windfall for the community.

Fact: $2000+ pa for people who are forced to live between 1-2km of one or more 250mt tall turbines with 180mt dia. blades turning 24/7. OSMI states there will be up to $150000 pa for the community and ecological development fund.

There are 7 communities within 5kms of the turbines, and OSMI told me on 15/6/20 that they will not put a “tight geographic constraint” on who is included as neighbours, so who really knows how many towns this $150000 or less will be divided between. A hefty windfall? What an absolute pittance! There’s nothing to celebrate for the community here. The only really big winners are the developers, HVP, and the councils.

SSF claim; Noise levels have been grossly exaggerated.

Fact: Sth Gippsland Council found Bald Hills Wind Farm created nuisance noise. In fact Bald hills Wind Farm were in the Supreme court with SGC over the nuisance noise issues just last week.

The two directors of OSMI were involved in developing Bald Hills Wind Farm. The same acoustics engineers (Marshall Day) that originally modelled and found Bald Hills noise levels compliant are also being used by OSMI for the Delburn Wind Farm.

SSF claim: Health risks have been effectively debunked by numerous scientific studies and there is no evidence that the much touted infra-sound supposedly produced by wind turbines has any direct health affects.

Fact: Research is far from over on this issue. Health risks and infrasound are being studied currently by 2 Australian institutes. Flinders Uni in SA is part way through a 5 year study into Wind Farm Noise. In 2019 Dr Hansen released early findings that “audible and potentially annoying indoor low-frequency noise from a wind farm is present for about 16% of the time at distances up to 3.5km”. There is also a current study being funded by NHMRC, on infrasound and wind farms by The Woolcock Institute of Medical Research in NSW.

The health effects of turbine noise is still very much an ongoing field of study. Even OSMI recognise there is more research to be done. OSMI state: “Any proposed future research can only improve knowledge of the issue but is not expected to affect the progress of DWF.”

People will make their own minds up about whether they support the Delburn Wind Farm or not, but they need to be given facts not just claims.

Angela Noone

This letter to the Editor was recived after the June publication, as our next publication is September it was decided to publish this letter online.