A major breakthrough has been reported in Australia where a very specific study confirms wind turbine emissions do impact some people. We reported on the proposed study some time ago because it was the first time a wind developer, Pacific Hydro, agreed to participate in a study. This enabled the researchers to control the power generation output while the affected participants recorded their sensations. The participants were neither able to see nor hear the turbines but claimed, nonetheless, they were able to sense them. The study performed by Steve Cooper at the Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm has confirmed that “non-visual, non-auditory pathways exist by which wind turbine emissions may affect the body and “signal” the brain.” Cooper’s study was then peer reviewed by Dr. Paul Schomer, standards director of the Acoustical Society of America and George Hessler of Hessler Associates.
The report, below, from Schomer and Hessler states that:
“Attempts may be made to obviscate these simple points with such arguments as it cannot be proved that infra-sound is the cause of the discomfort. But that again is a specious argument. The important point here is that something is coming from the wind turbines to affect these people and that something increases or decreases as the power output of the turbine increases or decreases. Denying infra-sound as the agent accomplishes nothing. It really does not matter what the pathway is, whether it is infra-sound or some new form of rays or electro-magnetic field coming off the turbine blades. If the turbines are the cause, then the windfarm is responsible and needs to fix it. Anyone who truly doubts the results should want to replicate this study using independent1 acoustical consultants at some other wind farm, such as Shirley Wisconsin, USA, where there are residents who are self-selected as being very or extremely sensitive to wind turbine acoustic emissions.2
“It only takes one example to prove that a broad assertion is not true, and that is the case here. Windfarms will be in the position where they must say: “We may affect some people.” And regulators charged with protecting the health and welfare of the citizenry will not be able to say they know of no adverse effects. Rather, if they choose to support the windfarm, they will do so knowing that they may not be protecting the health and welfare of all the citizenry.
At last. And what does this mean for Ohioans? We don’t know but we do know that the assertions of ‘no known impact’ on citizens have been repeatedly claimed in Ohio Power Siting Board hearings and in the legislature. EverPower’s acoustical consultant has been David Hessler, a partner in Hessler Associates and the son of George Hessler who confirmed Cooper’s finding. Hessler Associates’ published client list includes
Acciona Wind Energy USA, American Electric Power (AEP), Babcock & Brown Wind, BP Alternative Energy, EverPower Renewables, First Wind, Gamesa Energy, General Electric Power Systems GE Environmental Services, Inc., Horizon Wind Energy, Iberdrola Renewables, Noble Environmental Power, Siemens Westinghouse Power and USA We Energies.
We think one of the most important points to take from the Cooper report is the admonition to the wind industry not to twist the intent of the study or try to claim that the study does not prove something that it was not intended to evaluate. It will be interesting in the days to come to see how AWEA handles this issue. All we can say to AWEA at this point is Happy Valentine’s Day!
We note that the ‘green army’ was on the march through Ohio last week trying to gin up support to keep the state mandates. We can expect more of this while the Mandate Study Committee ponders whether or not to eliminate the mandates….
Schomer and Associates, Inc.; Standards Director, Acoustical Society of America George Hessler, Hessler Associates, Inc.
10 February 2015
Recently Cooper has completed a first of its kind test regarding the acoustical emissions of wind turbines. His is the first study of effects on people that includes a cooperating windfarm operator in conjunction with a researcher that does not work exclusively for windfarms. This study makes three very simple points:
- There is at least one non-visual, non-audible pathway for wind turbine emissions to reach, enter, and affect some people
- This is a longitudinal study wherein the subjects record in a diary regularly as a function of time the level of the effects they are experiencing at that time
- This periodic recording allows for responses as the wind-turbine power changes up and down, changes not known by the subject
The results are presented in a 218 page report augmented by 22 appendices spread over 6 volumes so that every single detail in the study has been documented for all to see and examine. The methods and results are totally transparent. The 22 appendices and the main text exhaustively document everything involved with this study….