February 28, 2014

EnergyAustralia, operators of nearly 20% of South Australia’s overall wind energy generation, said it welcomed the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) draft position statement that wind farms do not cause negative impacts on human health.
The NHMRC, Australia’s peak medical health research body, issued an information paper late yesterday that found no conclusive evidence wind farms caused any impacts on human health.
The study, a systematic review of 19 earlier scientific studies into the impacts of wind farms, found no consistent evidence that noise from wind turbines, whether estimated in models or using distance as a proxy, is associated with self-reported human health effects. (p.17)
THE NHMRC also concluded that bias and confounding were possible explanations for why people reported suffering health impacts when exposed to turbine noise. (p.18)
EnergyAustralia, operator at the Waterloo Wind Farm, near Clare in SA, was the subject of a recent 2 month independent investigation by the EPA.  Results from this study of low frequency and infrasound noise sources within the vicinity of the wind farm, found that where detectable, sound emissions from the wind farm were well below EPA Wind Farm Noise Guidelines.
As part of its study, the EPA collected noise diaries from residents living nearby to Waterloo wind farm.  In reviewing these noise diaries, the EPA was - on many occasions - unable to attribute reported noise events to turbine operation. At times, reported noise events coincided with a shutdown of the wind farm.
At two of the locations monitored by the EPA Study including at a residence within the township of Waterloo, noise attributable to the wind farm could not be detected.
EnergyAustralia said it hoped both the NHMRC review, as well as the EPA study, would provide residents of the Mid North with a satisfactory, independent opinion that nearby wind farms were safe and not a cause for concern.  ‘Our priority is to operate our wind farm in a manner that not only complies with government regulations but is also safe to our employees, neighbours and the local community,’ it said.
The NHMRC is now taking public comment on its draft statement Evidence on Wind Farms and Human Health.  For further details of how to make a submission, please visit the NHMRC website