I was sent a link to this site called 'Stop These Things' which is advocating against Wind Farms. Specifically, an article titled 'The Great Watt and Pole Swindle', featuring a photo of a man who looks alarmingly like Vyvyan Basterd from 'The Young Ones.'
This particular article appears to be ranting about how much the wind power industry is costing Australian consumers, specifically because recently there was no wind, and the wind farms were not producing any electricity. Therefore, power had to be provided from other sources, which came at a large cost.
The underlying message, however, was that because of this, wind power was evil, and was a tool of the 'Croweaters' and the power prices 'cartel'.
This article isn't about the merits of wind power, or the dangers of living too close to a turbine, because, frankly, I just don't know enough about wind turbines to argue either way. My current view is that it is, like many other things, a wonderful alternative source of power, but one that needs to be used in conjunction with more reliable sources, like fossil fuels, tides, or solar.
This article is about the rhetoric that is routinely used to sell these arguments.
For reference, this is the argument against wind power as I understand it:
- Wind turbines create noise
- There is lots of anecdotal evidence that this noise can be harmful to humans
- Therefore wind turbines shouldn't be allowed within a certain radius of human habitation.
There are also arguments about the blades killing wildlife, but I don't pay them much attention, since the use and production of fossil fuels has a much greater impact.
Finally, there is an argument that they are ugly, and destroy an otherwise scenic landscape. This is, in my view, all in the eye of the beholder. I tend to think they are rather majestic, and I have no objections to driving past hundreds of them on my way to work each week. I can understand, however, that not all people share this view.
The issue with this argument is that there is no credible science to support it. There have been numerous tests and studies, but they all come up against criticism. Either they are funded by bodies associated with wind energy, and they show that there is no danger to humans, or they are funded by anti-wind energy bodies, and they show that there is danger. There is a complete lack of credible evidence, from independent sources, which proves that there is, or isn't a danger to humans from wind power.
So the people who are arguing that wind power is evil tend to resort to rhetoric and hyperbole. If you can stand to read the article I linked above, you will see numerous references to 'Crow-eaters' and cartels. You will see slang criticising 'pollies' and a suggestion that there is a massive conspiracy to rort Australia out of its money by the power 'cartel!' Not to mention a subtle link between wind power and Enron.
The rest of the site is no better. This one links to a list of people who criticise wind power, under the heading 'These people get it' and links to a list of people who support wind power, under the heading 'these people don't.' Worryingly, on their list of 'people who get it' is broadcaster Alan Jones. I think that says enough.
On their list of people who don't get it, they link to a senator, Doug Cameron. After criticising him quite broadly, they ask "Why would someone with an obviously closed mind on an issue put up his hand to chair a committee on it? (Rhetorical question. We know why.)"
As I stated above, I have a relatively open mind on this issue. I am aware of the growing body of complaints about wind farms, and I am aware that reputable studies are being conducted. But I tend to turn off on an issue when the argument for one side is being so ridiculously vocal in such an unstructured way.
Which way do you fall? Do you have any arguments that I haven't listed above? Do you feel that I am missing a point, or glossing over the truth? Let me know!