Debunking the 100% Renewables Fantasy: Running on Sunshine & Breezes – Pure Nonsense

Nonsense makes the brain go softer – something politicians bank on.

  1. ‘Propaganda should be popular, not intellectually pleasing. The principle, and which is quite true in itself, is that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility . The bigger the lie, the more it will be believed.”

    (Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda)

STOP THESE THINGS

In the heavy metal mockumentary, This is Spinal Tap, the band’s himbo front man, Nigel Tufnel struggles with almost everything, including bringing his grating, 8 minute guitar solos to an end.

For Nigel, 10 isn’t enough – his Marshall amp has to go one better (see the video above). The painful exchange between Tufnel and the documentary maker, Marty DiBergi goes like this:

Nigel Tufnel: The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and…

Marty DiBergi: Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?

Nigel Tufnel: Exactly.

Marty DiBergi: Does that mean it’s louder? Is it any louder?

Nigel Tufnel: Well, it’s one louder, isn’t it? It’s not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You’re on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you’re on ten on your…

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Bring on the Super Sub!

super-sub

In this era of professional sport, who you have on the bench is as important as who you have in the starting line-up of your team. Coaches have to think long and hard about who will be seated on the substitutes’ bench as the substitute must be able to replace an injured or incapacitated player if necessary, but must also possess the skills to make a major, sometimes decisive, impact on the game. For example, in rugby union, the name of CJ Stander for the Irish and British Lions is a prime example of a “super sub”.

 

Politics employs a similar tactic. In the European elections, parties nominate a Substitute MEP so that in the event that the elected MEP becomes incapacitated, the substitute can continue to perform the necessary duties in the European Parliament. This is sound democratic practice, as it ensures that the region that voted in the original MEP continues to be elected by a member from the same (victorious) party. It also avoids the unnecessary expense of a by-election.

 

The EU legislation dealing with this is usually referred to as “The 1976 Act”.  Its full title is the “Act concerning the election of representatives to the European Parliament by direct universal suffrage, annexed to Council Decision 76/787/ECSC, EEC, Euratom of 20 September 1976”, (as amended and renumbered by Council Decision 2002/772/EC, Euratom of 25 June 2002 and 23 September 2002. This amendment is not yet in force).

 

Article 13(3) of the original 1976 Act provided that:

“Where the law of a Member State makes explicit provision for the withdrawal of the mandate of a member of the European Parliament, that mandate shall end pursuant to those legal provisions. The competent national authorities shall inform the European Parliament thereof.’

 

In other words, it was the duty of the Oireachtas to pass legislation dealing with the specific circumstances that would cause a sitting MEP to lose their mandate.

 

Interestingly enough, this provision has been replaced in its entirety by Article 12 of the amendment. Although it is not yet in force, it does illustrate the thinking of the European Parliament in this matter:

 

“1. A seat shall fall vacant when the mandate of a member of the European Parliament ends as a result of resignation, death or withdrawal of the mandate.

 

  1. Subject to the other provisions of this Act, each Member State shall lay down appropriate procedures for filling any seat which falls vacant during the five-year term of office referred to in Article 3 for the remainder of that period.

 

  1. Where the law of a Member State makes explicit provision for the withdrawal of the mandate of a member of the European Parliament, that mandate shall end pursuant to those legal provisions. The competent national authorities shall inform the European Parliament thereof.

 

  1. Where a seat falls vacant as a result of resignation or death, the President of the European Parliament shall immediately inform the competent authorities of the Member State concerned thereof.”

 

 

The amendment is far more strongly worded than its predecessor as it now makes it clear that the national legislature of the Member States must legislate to deal with the situation where an MEP must lose their mandate.

 

The 1976 Act seems to envisage that a seat shall fall vacant only on resignation, death or withdrawal of mandate. In other words, if an Irish MEP is incapacitated through a long-term illness but fails to resign their seat, the only way that they can be involuntarily replaced is by a withdrawal of mandate by the Irish legislature.

 

What is the Irish law that deals with this?

The European Assemblies Election Act 1984 is the current legislation dealing with the election of MEPs. There is nothing in the Act dealing specifically with a withdrawal of mandate from an MEP, despite the EU law requiring same. Section 6 of this shoddy Act deals with “casual vacancies” and defines it as:

(9) In this section “a casual vacancy” means,

(a) a vacancy occasioned by a person who though elected or regarded as having been elected to the Assembly pursuant to the European Assembly Elections Acts, 1977 and 1984, is, by virtue of any provision laid down under any or all of the treaties, not entitled to assume the office of representative in the Assembly, or

(b) a vacancy occasioned by a person having ceased to be a representative in the Assembly otherwise than by the effluxion of time or in consequence of the making of an order under section 17 of this Act by the High Court.”.

 

This section is a statutory version of chasing your tail as a person must “cease to be a representative” but this expressly excludes the sitting MEP being voted out or their election being nullified by the High Court (after a petition-challenge in terms of Section 17).

 

So when can you cease to be a representative if you are not voted out, or do not die or resign?

Essentially, there is no Irish legislation dealing with this scenario. An MEP cannot be forced out of office, other then being voted out at the next election. Otherwise only they themselves can leave office by resigning, or dying.  There is no statutory instrument that can terminate their mandate against their wishes. If they refuse to resign, there is no law that can change that situation.

 

In a conversation with Dr. Jennifer Kavanagh, the leading expert on Irish Election Law and the author of “Electoral Law in Ireland” (Bloomsbury Professional, 2015) she described it as “a massive loophole in Irish law”.

 

All other public offices have statutory substitutes when the incumbent cannot act because of incapacity. This does not apply to MEPs – there is no fall-back provision!

 

So what has this to do with the fight against wind farms and the pylons used to carry their (meagre) output?

 

The South East of Ireland is under an intensive and prolonged attack by wind developers seeking to build wind farms all over Munster, including one in the Copper Coast World Heritage Site. We need a voice in the European Parliament to lead the fight against these invaders. There is clearly no help forthcoming from the Irish government, who have put all their eggs in the wind power basket.

 

The incumbent MEP for the South East is Brian Crowley. He is unable to represent his constituency due to ill-health. An inspection of the EU Parliament page shows that Brian Crowley’s attendance record is abysmal. In his previous term his attendance stood at 22% which equates to 18 months. In other words, Crowley missed 3.5 years of that term. His attendance in his current term (2014-2019) is even worse. He has missed 3 years 2 months since being elected in 2014. In other words, over the last 8 years Crowley has missed 6.7 years. Another Irish MEP has said Crowley should resign.

 

Ironically, Crowley is in all likelihood a supporter of wind farms. It is a matter of public record that he received election support from Murnane & O’Shea, who are well known in Ireland as wind developers.

 

Irrespective of Crowley’s views on the invasion of wind farms into his constituency, surely this inability to attend the EU Parliament to debate issues and cast his vote must be regarded as permanent incapacity which should trigger a withdrawal of Crowley’s mandate?

YES, it should, but there is no Irish legislation dealing with the matter.

 

And why is that, you wonder? It might have something to do with the fact that if an MEP resigned or had their mandate withdrawn, they no longer receive all the perks of the job. These perks include a salary of €8484 per month (€101,808.00 per annum); an expense account of €4342 per month (€52,104.00 per annum); a daily allowance of €306.00 (€79,560 per annum); and an office allowance of €29.883.00 per month (€352,000.00 per annum). This gives you a total package of €585,472.00 per year. Nice money if you can make it.

 

This might explain the Oireachtas’ reluctance to pass a law forcing the retirement/resignation of an incapacitated MEP. Some of our own TDs are MEPs of the future – why should they cut their own purse strings when it is possible to receive that sort of money for doing nothing?

 

And remember that this total package of €585,472.00 per year is the minimum package paid to an MEP as it does not include flights and travelling expenses. In addition, there is another real goldmine: sitting on committees. Being a committee member can net you up to €45,000.00 per annum. Crowley currently sits on the Energy Committee, the very people driving the wind farm madness. Imagine if we could have an anti-wind voice on that Committee?

 

And this finally brings me to the matter of the substitute who would take Brian Crowley’s place if he was forced to resign. Kieran Hartley was elected as the Substitute MEP. He ran on an anti-pylon / anti-wind ticket and received massive support as a result. He continues to be a driving force in the fight against the invasion of wind farms in the South East. His tireless work in helping communities the length and breadth of the country is the stuff of legend.

 

Don’t take my word for it. This is what Wind Aware North Cork had to say on the matter:

“Brian’s EU substitute, Kieran Hartley, has worked tirelessly to help communities all over Munster, ours included”.

(https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1589101137780849&id=836809563010014)

 

BarnaWind Action Group shared similar sentiments:

“Kieran Hartley has visited with us and helped out on many an occasion. This situation looks very unusual. Get someone out there working for us.”

(https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=745105999011092&id=351079851747044)

 

There is a real chance that the citizens fighting the scourge of wind farms which are invading and destroying their communities could have a Super Sub in the form of Kieran Hartley in the EU Parliament, and on the EU Energy Committee.

How can we make this happen?

Posted in Democracy; Ireland; Fine Gael; Labour; Sinn Fein; Workers; Constitution, Dr Jennifer Kavanagh; Electoral Law in Ireland; elections; MEP; TD, Easter Uprising, 1916 Revolution, Independence, IRA., EIA Directive 2014/52/EU, EirGrid; Insurance; Law; Cancer; EMF, EU Renewable Energy 2020 Target, Freedom of Information; Access to Environmental Information; AIE; Commissioner for Environmental Information, lobbying; democracy; political process; general election, Ministerial Responsibility; Liability; Negligence; cardiovascular, North-South Interconnector; An Bord Pleanala, NREAP; National Renewable Energy Action Plan; EU Commission; Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee; ACCC, Press Freedom, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters; Aarhus Convention; Aarhus Treaty, Rugby Union; ; Super Sub; CJ Stander; IRFU; Munster Rugby;, The Spokes of the Wheel; wind farms; Ireland; Windfall, The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s (UNECE) Convention on Access to Information, Wind Farm Contract, Wind Farm Guidelines, turbines, flicker, noise, distance, Denis Naughten, Wind Turbine Syndrome; Professor Alun Evans | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wind Turbine Noise & Vibration Causing Harm to Humans & Animals Alike

Great coverage of the Tullamore seminar. Well done people!

STOP THESE THINGS

For those unfortunates forced to live with incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound, the cause of the sleep deprivation they suffer is no mystery. Moreover, a menagerie of domestic and wild animals stuck next to wind turbines suffer similar effects, including well-documented increases in the stress hormone cortisol (see our post here).

Dr Mariana Alves-Pereira has been studying the effect of noise and vibration on humans and animals for nearly 20 years. Here’s a summary of her work as reported by the Tullamore Tribune – a video follows, recording the experience of Irish wind farm neighbours, as well as a presentation by Dr Alves-Pereira.

Wind turbines damage human health says Portuguese scientist
Tullamore Tribune
6 July 2017

More research will be required to determine safe set back distances from wind turbines, a leading scientist said in Tullamore last week.

Dr Mariana Alves-Pereira was speaking to the Tribune after…

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Shock Horror! Poll Shows Tourists Hate Wind Turbines: Scotland’s Highlands Shunned

Something Bord Failte needs to think about. Tourism is a huge income earner for Ireland.

STOP THESE THINGS

A decade or so ago, the wind industry used to include claims about the tourism potential of their proposed wind farm in their planning documents.

For some reason, that pitch has been quietly removed from planning applications in recent years. Could it be that it’s not just the locals who hate the look of these things? Are tourists lodging in B&Bs next to wind farms driven nuts by incessant turbine generators low-frequency noise and infra-sound, in the same way as those forced to live with these things every day of their lives?

Whatever it is, the conclusion is pretty clear: tourists hate these things too and, quite reasonably, have elected to avoid them like the plague.

Tourists shun areas hit by wind turbine ‘blight’
The Sunday Times
Mark Macaskill
16 July 2017

More than half of tourists to Scotland would rather not visit scenic areas dominated by man-made structures such…

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German Study Proves Its Combined Wind & Solar Capacity Must be 100% Backed by Coal/Gas/Nuclear 100% of the Time

The glorious German countryside has been ruined by wind farms spread all over the place. But it seems it was all for nought. 

STOP THESE THINGS

Coal-fired plant, Westfalen: where Germany’s power really comes from.

Amongst wind and sun worshippers, Germany is held in a kind of reverent awe.

However, like everything held dear by the renewables cult, the ideal and the real are worlds apart.

For years we were told that if you kept spearing wind turbines into the countryside and spread them far and wide, we could do away with ‘dirty’ coal-fired power plants, and every other conventional form of generation that had, on their reckoning, been made redundant by the wonders of wind and sun.

No country went harder or faster in its pursuit of wind and solar power than the Germans. The South Australians came close, but that’s an Australian state, home to a mere 1.6 million people, rather than a European nation, home to over 80 million.

Now – shock, horror – a detailed study has shown that the German’s attempt…

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Wind Turbine Noise

 

A Seminar on ‘Wind Turbine Noise’

.
will be held on Friday, 30th June
in The Bridge House Hotel, Tullamore, Co Offaly,
at 7.30 pm

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See also: https://phys.org/news/2014-06-blizzard-turbine-airflow-video.html

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PROGRAMME
How Wind Turbines Create Infrasound
Dr John Yelland and Melvin Grosvenor, the UK Independent Noise Working Group (INWG)

.
Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise: A Public Health Nightmare
Professor Mariana Alves-Pereira, Lusofona University, Lisbon, Portugal

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Chair: Professor Alun Evans, The Queen’s University of Belfast

All Welcome

See the Flyer: FLYERSeminar on

 

Posted in Academic Research; Peer-Review Process; Medical Journals, Dr Sarah Laurie; Steve Cooper; Bob McMurtry; Alun Evans, lobbying; democracy; political process; general election, NREAP; National Renewable Energy Action Plan; EU Commission; Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee; ACCC, Planning and Development Act 2000; guidelines; directives; Sections 28 & 29, The Spokes of the Wheel; wind farms; Ireland; Windfall, Wind Farm Guidelines, turbines, flicker, noise, distance, Denis Naughten, Wind Turbine Syndrome; Professor Alun Evans | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Rust never sleeps … and neither does greed

banks and govt

 

This is an excellent article by retired Senator John Whelan from Laois. It was first published on 2nd June 2017 in Laoistoday.ie.

The emphases are mine.

 

 

The king is gone

But he’s not forgotten

This is the story

Of a Johnny Rotten

It’s better to burn out

Than it is to rust

The king is gone

But he’s not forgotten

(Neil Young, 1979)

 

“In over 40 years of being engrossed in newspapers one of the more abiding articles I have read was a simple and straightforward profile in the people section of the Sunday Times magazine. It was of a middle-aged miner who was coping with the closure of the collieries across Britain, with coal-fired power plants to follow in their wake.

 

This burly lad with stubby fingers was dominating the foreground in the accompanying photo standing in a poly-tunnel replete with light, in stark contrast to a mine shaft.

I noticed his chubby fingers because of the awkward incongruous manner in which this man who had spent most of his working life underground held a tiny terracotta pot. The pot contained a cactus. A classic looking mini-version of the ones you see out in the desert in westerns.

I was totally impressed and inspired by the manner in which this miner had become a successful horticulturalist, propagating cacti from seed and had managed to turn it all not just into an enjoyable pursuit but a profitable business.

It had all come about through an enlightened strategy by the mining company and its workers who had prepared for the likely lay-offs five years in advance. They did this through planning for the difficult transition by retraining, mentoring, counselling and saving for that rainy day in the miners’ credit union, so as to have in this case, literally seed capital. Happy days.

If only our own semi-state companies could show such foresight and a smidgeon of consideration for their staff, their families and their communities. I have learned recently of Bord na Mona workers being offered retirement planning, after they were made redundant.

 

A terrible shame …

 

It’s a terrible shame, as companies like Bord na Mona, the ESB and Coillte were pioneering and proud contributors in our economy and communities as they forged new ground, created great opportunities and worked with the locals in the early years and decades from their inception. They held a critically important and highly-regarded place in the country and the countryside where their workers resided and retired making way for the next generation. Housing estates in the shape of horse shoes grew up around the employment opportunities as if to celebrate our good luck.

 

But all that has changed. Changed for the worse and it’s a forlorn hope that they might yet show some of the insight and foresight that is demonstrated in the example of the miner above.

The Boards of these semi-States are now well removed from their origins and the ideals of their founding fathers. This is not harking back to ‘the good old days’ but rather searching for the values and precepts that underline their foundation.

These companies were designed to serve communities, to create employment opportunities and to breathe life into the rural heartland. Today, those at the helm seem far more interested in their fat cat pensions, pension funds and the short-term bottom line than serving their stakeholders rather than a banking like shareholder worldview.

You and your family own these companies. They are supposed to be held in trust and run on your behalf and your best interests, long-term and for the next generation too. But we are being short-changed by them and they are selling us out. In another extraordinary display of short-term greed they seem more content in collusion with some of their political masters of turning the country into one big wind farm – a metaphor for the ages if there ever was one as these companies swap their community-centred focus for a new corporate worldview.

 

Mark you, this is to fund their windfall pensions, to justify their bonuses and to leave communities carrying the can because there are no meaningful jobs for rural Irish workers in windfarms. The technology, the equipment and even the management, maintenance and monitoring of windfarms is all imported and very often conducted remotely, at arm’s length.

 

Their ultimate owners will be international investors and pension funds, once they are sold on and sold off, as they always are. There is a good return for investors in heavily subsidised wind farms with a guaranteed income running to multiples of their initial outlay over a 20-year period, which is even more attractive now than ever, with finance on deposit in banks losing money.

 

Don’t be fooled …

 

However, don’t let anyone fool you by suggesting there are jobs, benefit or a bounce for local communities in this strategy being pursued by the semi-states. It is selfish, short-term and short sighted; will generate no jobs and will never re-energise Mountrath or Mountmellick, Ballyroan, Ballybrittas or Borris-in-Ossory and open up the relish of new ideas and chances for young people in Rosenallis or Camross.

 

Coillte and Bord na Mona between them are the biggest landlords in the country and right now are getting away with the biggest land grab in our history since Cromwell.

 

They are too lazy and too greedy about their own career prospects and pensions to be arsed unless we sit up and kick-up and make them take stock of what is best for Laois and the Midlands. It’s certainly not to sell us out and sell it off; it’s certainly not to tell us that the best use of this massive resource and State asset is for wind farms and data centres.

They might look good initially to local authorities for their rates revenues and sweeten the deal with some local sponsorships as they try to buy friends. But they offer no significant alternative employment to the thousands of jobs being shed and certainly no sustainable social, economic and environmental dividend. When’s the last time you met a tourist looking for directions to the wind farm or the data centre?

 

The latest example of the great sell out of the regions by the state agencies was the startling and shocking revelation at Monday’s Council meeting that it now emerges that there are no funds to proceed with the long-heralded and much-lauded Slieve Bloom Mountain Bike Trails.

This is nothing short of an outrage and you should express yours if you care at all about our county and community. This is an excellent idea. A fantastic project which has been well over six years in gestation. It finally gets planning permission recently and only then Failte Ireland and Coillte maintain they don’t have the money to proceed.

This is an ideal project on so many levels, with the capacity to attract over 50,000 visitors annually to this locality – real local jobs, rural based, eco-friendly, long-term sustainable, healthy and it feeds right in to our burgeoning leisure tourism market.

Laois and Offaly County Council really have to get together on this one and knock heads together to make it happen on a co-funding joint venture. There has to be more to Coillte than wind farms and there as to be more to the questionable moniker, Ireland’s Ancient East, than fancy new road signs. (Seeing the wood from the trees and all that …)

Instead of forging ahead with this magnificent idea for mountain bike trails across the Slieve Blooms this week, there was much talk instead of the midlands becoming the ‘rust-belt’ of Ireland. The only thing left rusting on the landscape will be the giant industrial wind turbines, for as soon as the subsidies run out, so too will the investors.

That need not and should never be the case. There are so many other constructive options and alternatives open to us. The managements and boards of these semi-states are too windy in their cushy numbers to pursue these options as they require courage, creativity, ambition and vision, forward planning and a long-term perspective in the interest of the social sustainability of the communities they are supposed to serve.

 

They need to think more like the enlightened company that helped a miner to become cactus world news one weekend on the back page on The Sunday Times.

 

Become immersed once again in their host communities and seek more holistic solutions to the inevitable decline of their traditional sectors.

 

Think next generation.

 

Not rust.

 

Not greed.

Posted in An Bord Pleanala; appeal; interested parties, BSB Community Energy Ltd, Cloud; iCloud; Data Centre; Data Center, Democracy; Ireland; Fine Gael; Labour; Sinn Fein; Workers; Constitution, Easter Uprising, 1916 Revolution, Independence, IRA., EU Renewable Energy 2020 Target, Green Party; Ireland; Eamonn Ryan; Cormac Manning, Kilvinane Wind Farm Ltd; substituted consent, Planning and Development Act 2000; guidelines; directives; Sections 28 & 29 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Energy bills to jump as plans unveiled for ‘massive’ hike in levy

print money

This from the Independent:

 

“Householders and businesses are facing higher electricity costs after the regulator for the sector proposed a massive hike in a levy on bills.
The Commission for Energy Regulation has proposed that the public service obligation (PSO) levy goes up by 40pc for consumers.
The levy is mandated by the Government and is mainly used to cover the cost of subsidy schemes to support the generation of electricity from renewable sources, such as wind farms.

Some of the levy goes to ensure that there are power stations on stand-by when demand for electricity goes up. It is also partly used to subsidise peat-generated power.
The regulator has proposed that the charge go from €80 a year for domestic customers to €112, when value added tax is included.

This is a rise of 40pc.
A 12pc rise is proposed for businesses.

The regulator has sought the views of the public, with a final decision likely in July.
The new levy would then be imposed on energy bills from October.

Last year the Commission for Energy Regulation proposed a massive increase in the charge, but it scaled this back after objections.
“The increase is the second largest in the history of the PSO levy and the reason is mainly due to subsidies for renewable energy,” said Simon Moynihan, from price comparison site Bonkers.ie.

He said this country now produces more than 40pc of its electricity from renewable sources, according to the latest numbers from the regulator.
“That’s up from just 12pc in 2010 and the steady increase in the PSO levy reflects this increase in the renewable electricity production,” Mr Moynihan said.

The price comparison expert said that the PSO levy now makes up some 10pc of the average domestic electricity bill. “We need to ask how much is too much?” he said.

Eoin Clarke, of price comparison site Switcher.ie, said that the proposed increase would mean that households would be paying €112.64 a year on this levy from October, compared with €80.30 per year at the moment.
“The standard electricity bill for an average customer in Ireland is already a whopping €1,136 per year,” he said.
“So any increase in the PSO levy – which all electricity customers have to pay – will be unwelcome news for anyone already struggling to make ends meet.”

He said that more ­households could save money if they looked to switch energy suppliers.

“Energy bills are one of the biggest costs to Irish households.
“But still only 15pc of us switch energy every year, which means most of us are missing out on a better deal.”

He encouraged people to take a look at their energy bills and at the deals that are out there, and switch if they can find a better offer.”
Irish Independent

Posted in EU Renewable Energy 2020 Target | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Start Preparing Your Submissions


Ref: MS-2017 11 – please quote this reference on all correspondence 
Dear Deputy,
I refer to your email received 21 April 2017 in relation to the new RESS scheme and financial support.
My Department is currently developing a proposed new Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS) which will be designed to assist Ireland in meeting its renewable energy contributions out to 2030.
The new scheme design requires detailed economic analysis on the viability and cost effectiveness of supporting several renewable technologies at various scales, including onshore and offshore wind, Solar PV (both ground mounted and rooftop), Bio-Energy, Ocean (Wave and Tidal) etc. Once this analysis is complete, my Department will publish a public consultation on the design of the new support scheme. There will be many decisions to be made on this support scheme with regard to scale, technologies, cost, eligibility and – in particular – how communities will have a greater involvement than in previous schemes. 
Following the outcome of this public consultation, and before any new scheme is introduced, it will need to secure Government approval and state aid clearance from the European Commission. Subject to this, it is expected that the new scheme will become operational in the first half of 2018.
Details of the next public consultation will be advertised on my Department’s website http://www.dccae.gov.ie and we would welcome your response to this consultation.
I trust this information is of some assistance.

Yours sincerely,
Denis Naughten, T.D.
Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment
For a consultation of this importance and magnitude, I would expect the Minister to post full page notices in the national dailies, radio and TV, and a consultation period of at least six months. The usual notice hidden in the layers of the departmental website with two weeks to go does not cut the mustard.


Posted in Democracy; Ireland; Fine Gael; Labour; Sinn Fein; Workers; Constitution, EirGrid; Insurance; Law; Cancer; EMF, Freedom of Information; Access to Environmental Information; AIE; Commissioner for Environmental Information, lobbying; democracy; political process; general election, Ministerial Responsibility; Liability; Negligence; cardiovascular, Planning and Development Act 2000; guidelines; directives; Sections 28 & 29, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters; Aarhus Convention; Aarhus Treaty, Wind Farm Guidelines, turbines, flicker, noise, distance, Denis Naughten | 3 Comments

Going, going, gone (with the wind).

wind-money

The excellent blog produced by Owen Martin makes a very valid point: even if you don’t give a damn about the environment, you do care what is being pinched out of your pocket to keep the Great Wind Swindle alive.

Irish taxpayers paid upwards of €21 Million in curtailment fees in 2015 to wind farms which produced enough usable electricity to power a small bar fridge. God knows how much taxpayer money was spent in the EU as a whole.

Can you imagine where this money could have been spent? For example, in Ireland we could have avoided having to cut the hospital cleaning budget which was desperately needed by hospitals to deal with recent deadly Superbug outbreaks. Or we could have made up the €15 million shortfall in the post office pension funds (or keep the rural post offices open in the first place, so that people can collect their pensions). Again, these stories are repeated all over the EU – there are needs which are not being met because the government holds out its hands and says: “No money, sorry!”

There are a host of other more useful uses for this huge sum of money instead of being shovelled into the pockets of sWINDlers. What is even scarier about these 2015 figures is that these curtailment fees might have doubled since 2015 given the huge increase in installed wind turbines over the previous two years.

Read Owen’s blog – it is excellent:

http://irishenergyblog.blogspot.ie/2017/05/does-wind-energy-provide-good-return-on.html?m=1

Posted in Apple; Google; Data Centre, BSB Community Energy Ltd, Cloud; iCloud; Data Centre; Data Center, EirGrid; Insurance; Law; Cancer; EMF, Enercon, EU Renewable Energy 2020 Target, Framore Limited, Green Party; Ireland; Eamonn Ryan; Cormac Manning, Kilvinane Wind Farm Ltd; substituted consent, NREAP; National Renewable Energy Action Plan; EU Commission; Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee; ACCC | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Your Home is Your Castle

scream at turbine

 

A person needs to feel safe and secure, and happy, in their own home.

 

If a society cannot guarantee its citizens a peaceful and secure place to stay, that society will very quickly become dysfunctional. Citizens will react badly to a threat to the sanctity of their home. These reactions will include mental illness, intra family conflict, and vigilantism, to name but a few.

 

The idea of a home invasion is the terror of most. The idea of armed intruders invading your domestic sanctity is the stuff of nightmares and horror movies.

 

But when you think about it, is that not what a wind farm is doing? It is invading your home with its noise and flicker. The physical and psychological effects of the “whump-whump” of the blades, and the strobe effect of the sunlight, is invading your home and making it impossible for you to achieve the domestic sanctity that is a fundamental right of every citizen.

 

In Ireland the sanctity of the home has not only a social significance, it also has a political – historical significance. The colonial legacy of the absentee landlord being able to evict tenant farmers from their homes at will is still a festering sore in the Irish psyche. The fact that the banks have now taken the place of the absentee landlord means that the sore is still festering.

 

Article 40.5 of the Constitution of Ireland says:

“The dwelling of every citizen is inviolable and shall not be forcibly entered save in accordance with law.”

As I previously mentioned, this clause has a fundamental resonance, not only in the socio-legal sense, but also in the historical sense. In essence, the Constitution is saying “never again”.

 

And yet it is happening again. Families are being driven from their homes by wind farms. This is worse than the absentee landlord, as in this case the wind farm is not even your landlord, it is rather an unwelcome neighbour that is driving you off your property.

 

That word “inviolable” is important. It is not a word that you would often see in modern language, but in essence it means something that must never be broken, infringed or dishonoured. Surely what these wind farms are doing is breaking and dishonouring citizen’s dwellings.

 

The wind farms might point out the proviso, “save in accordance with law”, with that hoary old line: “We are not breaking the law. We obtained planning permission”.

 

However, in the landmark judgment of King v Attorney General [1981] 1 I.R. 253 (S.C.) Henchy J. held that the phrase “save in accordance with law” is to be interpreted “without stooping to methods which ignore the fundamental norms of the legal order postulated by the Constitution”.

 

In other words, even if the law is officially on your side, you cannot use the law to achieve effects which are clearly undermining the Constitution. The anguish and mental suffering that wind farms are causing citizens to experience clearly ignores the fundamental norms of our Constitution, especially when one considers that the property in question is also the family home.

 

Our Constitution is based on the sanctity of the family. The family is often described as the bedrock of society, and our Constitution recognises this and enshrines that principle. And yet the Government allows families to be destroyed by neighbouring wind farms. How can that be in accordance with the Constitution?

 

The inviolability of the family home is not only enshrined in our Constitution, but also in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Article 7 of the Charter says that everyone has the right to respect for his or her private and family life, home and communications.

 

In the case of Monika Kusionova v Smart CAPITAL ((2014) Case C-34/13 of the European Court of Justice) emphasised (in extremely strong language) how the loss of a family home places the family in a particularly vulnerable position. The Court held that the loss of a home is one of the most serious breaches of the rights to respect for the home and that any person who risks being the victim of such a breach should be able to have the proportionality of this measure reviewed. In other words, can the benefits of a wind farm (assuming that there are any) ever be justification for driving someone from their family home?

 

One does not need to be a genius to get the answer to that question.

 

And the fact that the government is not only allowing these home invasions, but are actually profiting from the proceedings?

 

Article 40.3 of the Constitution of Ireland says:

“3 1° The State guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate the personal rights of the citizen.

2° The State shall, in particular, by its laws protect as best it may from unjust attack and, in the case of injustice done, vindicate the life, person, good name, and property rights of every citizen.”

 

This Government is not only allowing a fundamental constitutional right to be taken from its citizens, it is doing that taking itself.

Posted in Academic Research; Peer-Review Process; Medical Journals, An Bord Pleanala; appeal; interested parties, Democracy; Ireland; Fine Gael; Labour; Sinn Fein; Workers; Constitution, Dr Sarah Laurie; Steve Cooper; Bob McMurtry; Alun Evans, Easter Uprising, 1916 Revolution, Independence, IRA., EIA Directive 2014/52/EU, EirGrid; Insurance; Law; Cancer; EMF, EU Renewable Energy 2020 Target, Freedom of Information; Access to Environmental Information; AIE; Commissioner for Environmental Information, Green Party; Ireland; Eamonn Ryan; Cormac Manning, Law; High Court; Leave To Appeal; Environment, Ministerial Responsibility; Liability; Negligence; cardiovascular, Planning and Development Act 2000; guidelines; directives; Sections 28 & 29, Planning Permission; Extension; Planning and Development Act, Wind Farm Guidelines, turbines, flicker, noise, distance, Denis Naughten, Wind Turbine Syndrome; Professor Alun Evans | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lies, lies and more lies.

Pinnochio nose

 

This is a very interesting and useful piece, explaining infrasound from wind turbines in language we can all understand. Courtesy of Stop These Things!

Vermonters Vent Fury at the Wind Industry’s Constant Stream of Lies

Annette Smith is Executive Director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, Inc. She is the Burlington Free Press’s 2016 Vermonter of the Year. And, having graced these pages many times, an STT Champion.

In this sharp and insightful piece, Anna unloads on the lies, treachery and deceit that makes the wind industry tick.

The winds of woe
Vermont Biz
Annette Smith
27 April 2017

Prospective neighbors of wind turbines heard all the promises: “Quiet as a library.” “Like a baby’s breath.” “The same decibel level as a refrigerator.” The more brazen wind developers claimed “you will not hear them.”

Then the four hundred and fifty foot wind towers with their bus-size nacelles and three-bladed fans were built. Sixteen in Sheffield, four on Georgia Mountain, twenty-one in Lowell. And neighbors learned the truth. Yes, you can hear them. They sound like “a jet plane that never lands,” or “sneakers in a drier,” or there is a “thump thump thump” or a “whoosh whoosh whoosh” as the blade passes the tower, causing something called amplitude modulation.

“If the noise was the same all the time, maybe we could get used to it,” say some exasperated neighbors.

Wind turbine neighbors talk about feeling a deep rhythmic rumble inside their homes. “We feel the vibrations over the TV set,” they say. That is the Low Frequency Noise.

Some farmers living five miles from the Lowell wind turbines talk about the side of the barn vibrating. The Nelsons, who had no choice but to sell their jewel of a farm in Lowell to Green Mountain Power due to their deteriorating health and quality of life, saw the windows in their house vibrate, and the vibrations were visible in a bowl of water on the kitchen counter.

Some neighbors experience the barometric pressure waves that hit their homes, turning the house into a drum, producing inaudible infrasound inside the home at higher levels than outside. “Imagine you are sitting at your kitchen table and are seasick, except you are not on a boat and nowhere near water,” says one former neighbor whose family became so sick[i] after living 3500 feet from the wind turbines that they abandoned their home of seventeen years.

Infrasound cannot be heard, but it has been scientifically proven by recent studies to be a component of the acoustical profile of wind turbines.[ii],[iii],[iv] The vortexing pressure waves do not dissipate and can go out for miles.

This complex acoustical profile of wind turbines creates a challenge for regulators and the experts they rely on. Typical noise control measures such as insulating the source or insulating the receptor do not work with an open air source and a receptor that experiences higher levels of infrasound inside the home than outside. And people have a right to have their windows open. Insulation does not work.

The unique noise produced by wind turbines does not create a problem for the wind industry, though. “There are no problems,” is their attitude. “It’s all in their heads,” they say. “The “nocebo effect” is at work,” they claim, alleging that people’s beliefs are making them sick.

They heap ridicule on neighbors who are victimized once by the wind turbines themselves, a second time by the industry which refuses to accept responsibility, and a third time by regulators who have turned a deaf ear to the hundreds of complaints filed by Vermonters since mountaintop wind turbines began operating.

A unanimous vote by the Vermont House last year affirmed that there is a problem. The legislature directed the Vermont Public Service Board to right the wrong that has occurred.

The PSB has issued a rule that sets a night-time level of 35 dBA (audible decibels). This has resulted in a shrill response from wind proponents who absurdly claim that this standard, which is the nighttime noise standard for wind turbines in Germany, would outlaw bird songs.

Here is a short course on wind turbines and decibel levels:

  • dBA is audible decibels. Nighttime background noise levels in the areas where wind turbines have been constructed are about 20 dBA. 10 dBA above background is well known to result in complaints. It is the noise standard that has been used in Massachusetts for decades. By that measure, the correct standard for wind turbines in the very quiet areas where wind turbines are being built would be 30 dBA – lower than the PSB is proposing.
  • dBC is the frequency scale for Low Frequency Noise. Denmark has an interior noise standard of 20 dBC.[v]
  • The best solution for protecting people from infrasound is distance. The PSB rule has a 10x total height setback, or 5000 feet for 500 foot tall wind turbines, the same as places in Germany. It may not be far enough, but it is a step in the right direction.

The wind developers have made big promises. Now they have promises to keep–so their neighbours don’t have miles to go before they sleep. And the Vermont Public Service Board should establish standards that reflect those promises.

[i] http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0174420

[ii] http://www.pacifichydro.com.au/english/our-communities/communities/cape-bridgewater-acoustic-study-report/

[iii] https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=https%3A%2F%2Fdocs.wind-watch.org%2FShirley-LFN-infrasound.pdf

[iv] https://www.acousticecology.org/wind/winddocs/health/Ambrose%20Rand_Bruce%20McPherson%20Infrasound%20and%20Low%20Frequency%20Noise%20Study.pdf

[v] http://eng.mst.dk/topics/noise/wind-turbines/wind-turbine-regulations/

Posted in Dr Sarah Laurie; Steve Cooper; Bob McMurtry; Alun Evans, EU Renewable Energy 2020 Target, NREAP; National Renewable Energy Action Plan; EU Commission; Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee; ACCC, Planning and Development Act 2000; guidelines; directives; Sections 28 & 29, Wind Farm Guidelines, turbines, flicker, noise, distance, Denis Naughten, Wind Turbine Syndrome; Professor Alun Evans | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Top Sleep Specialist Slams ‘Nocebo’ Nonsense: Wind Turbine Noise Obvious Cause of Sleep Deprivation

More ammunition for those families intending to sue wind farms who have ruined their lives.

STOP THESE THINGS

Dr Wayne Spring is a sleep specialist with a lifetime’s experience of dealing with those suffering from sleep deprivation from all manner of causes. Recently, Dr Spring went into print, slamming those from the wind-cult who spend their time deriding the wind industry’s victims, rather than listening.

One of its victims, who will never be silenced, is STT Champion, Annie Gardner who let rip in the Hamilton Spectator with this thumping letter to the editor, picking up Dr Spring’s sharpest points along the way.

WIND TURBINE IMPACTS ECHO SEASICKNESS
Hamilton Spectator
29 April 2017

IT’S most important that Dr Wayne Spring’s willingness to expose his experience of treating many wind farm victims, referred to him for sleep deprivation, is released to the people in your readership area, particularly as so many will become exposed to the same problems particularly around Macarthur and Oaklands Hill. Below are excerpts from Dr Wayne…

View original post 1,170 more words

Posted in EirGrid; Insurance; Law; Cancer; EMF | Leave a comment

Bill Bailey. He’s Unbelievable!

williambailey-140x140

The Irish nation were privileged to meet Bill Bailey on Prime Time. He was erroneously introduced as a “medical doctor” but neither he, nor his erstwhile collaborator, Fintan Slye of EirGrid, bothered to correct the mistake.

Dr Bill thereafter went against mainstream medical opinion (on which he was not qualified to speak) by announcing that pylons and their EMF was completely safe. You can hear that here.

Well, he is at it again folks. I reproduce in its entirety, an excellent article by an American journalist, Nancy West.

Is NH Getting ‘Hoodwinked’ on Health and Safety By Northern Pass?

Critics of Dr. William Bailey’s testimony at last week’s Northern Pass hearings that the project poses no threat to public health and safety call him a “hired gun” out to serve only the interests of the controversial 192-mile high-voltage transmission line proposed to run from Pittsburg to Deerfield.

Dr. Denis Henshaw, a retired professor of Human Radiation Effects at the University of Bristol in England, called Bailey a “professional denialist” after reviewing his testimony that is posted on the state Site Evaluation Committee’s website.

“The public is being completely hoodwinked about this, completely hoodwinked,” Henshaw said.
It’s not about taking sides on various transmission projects, he said.  “The truth is EMF (electromagnetic fields) are bad for you. That’s what the evidence says,” Henshaw said.In fact, the truth about the dangers associated with high voltage transmission lines is the exact opposite of the impression Bailey tried to convey in his testimony, Henshaw said. “I find it incredible there isn’t some properly argued evidence at this New Hampshire hearing.”

Henshaw and others questioned how Bailey could tout powerline safety after he served on an international panel 16 years ago that unanimously found electromagnetic fields pose a possible leukemia risk to children.

Bailey and Dr. Gary Johnson, both employees of Exponent, Inc., testified last week for Northern Pass/Eversource Energy before the state Site Evaluation Committee that will ultimately approve or deny Northern Pass’ application for the $1.6 billion project.

Bailey, who was hired to evaluate the potential effects of Northern Pass on public health and safety, didn’t return messages seeking comment. Exponent, Inc., also didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Northern Pass spokesperson Martin Murray replied by email.

“Dr. William Bailey is an internationally recognized expert in the potential effects of electric and magnetic fields, and Dr. Gary Johnson has extensive experience with the audible noise, radio noise, and ozone that may be produced by high voltage power systems. Both experts are highly qualified to assess the Northern Pass project and provide objective testimony to the SEC. An important factor in the decision to retain the services of Exponent Inc. was the company’s recognition for independence and integrity,” Murray said.

Murray also said it wouldn’t be proper to interview Bailey and Johnson “as active expert witnesses in an ongoing adjudicative process.”

UAlbany expert

Dr. David Carpenter, a public health physician who serves as director of the Institute for Health and the Environment, said studies that show a link to childhood leukemia from electromagnetic fields were almost all funded by the government or independent agencies, while the ones that found no association were paid for by the electric industry.
The World Health Organization has said exposure to magnetic fields from AC transmission lines is a known possible human carcinogen and found strong evidence that there is an increase in leukemia in children exposed to high magnetic fields, Carpenter said.He believes Bailey relies on publications funded by the electric utility industry. “That is such a blatant conflict of interest in my judgement, that those studies do not deserve attention,” said Carpenter, who is also a professor of environmental health sciences at UAlbany’s School of Public Health.

Childhood leukemia is the best documented, but there is also a lot of evidence of a link to brain cancer and breast cancer, Carpenter said.

“I recommend they position high-voltage power lines as far away from residences as possible and particularly as far away from daycares and schools as possible,” Carpenter said.

Studies show beyond about 300 meters, there is no elevated risk of leukemia, he said. The farther away, the better, he said. Buried lines are very safe, he said, referring to AC lines.

Concord hearings

Bailey testified last week under pointed cross-examination by several people including Counsel for the Public Peter Roth and Deerfield intervenor Maureen Quinn.

According to Northern Pass’ website, the transmission line would carry DC, or direct current, from Pittsburg to Franklin, then AC, or alternating current, in the more heavily populated areas from Franklin to Deerfield through Concord. The transmission lines would bring 1,090 megawatts of hydroelectricity from Hydro-Quebec through New Hampshire to the New England grid.

Attorney Roth questioned Bailey at last week’s hearing about a public meeting in Holderness on March 14th of last year, saying Bailey quoted the World Health Organization in saying “that the evidence does not confirm the existence of any health consequences of exposure to low level electromagnetic fields.”

Roth pressed Bailey as to why he didn’t go on to explain from the WHO web page that there are gaps in what is known. He asked Bailey to look further down the WHO page where it said: “A number of epidemiological studies suggest small increases in risk of childhood leukemia with exposure to low frequency magnetic fields in the home.”

Roth said: “Now, you didn’t quote that in your testimony or provide that to the people in Holderness, did you?”Bailey finally conceded: “Not in Holderness. Not in Holderness.”More than two dozen quasi-judicial hearings on Northern Pass are planned through July starting Monday, May 1. The state Site Evaluation Committee will decide by Sept. 30 whether to approve or deny Northern Pass’ application.UK experienceDr. Henshaw, the retired professor at the University of Bristol, said he first came across Bailey at the Beauly to Denny (Scotland) Powerline Enquiry in 2005. Henshaw represented the objectors as an expert witness.

“The trouble with Bailey is that his science is so very weak, unsound and flawed,” Henshaw said.

As to Bailey’s testimony in Concord about health effects of transmission lines, “It’s like getting in a time machine and going back 20 years when knowledge was very primitive,” Henshaw said.

While much of the attention relative to health effects is relegated to AC lines, there is also a lot of evidence that electrical fields from DC lines have the same effects as magnetic fields, Henshaw said.

The DC lines are not true DC because they contain fluctuations in the currents being carried known as “dirty electricity,” which generate magnetic fields, and less research has been done on them, Henshaw said.

Henshaw also brought up a scholarly paper that was published in April in which Bailey is listed as an author. It asks the contributors to disclose outside interests, but doesn’t show Bailey disclosed any interests.

“Bailey actually gives his address as Exponent. I find that incredible,” Henshaw said. “His address is Exponent which specializes in representing industry.”  The publisher of the paper didn’t immediately respond to an email inquiry.

The Tweet

Louis Slesin, PhD, editor and publisher of Microwave News based in New York City, Tweeted about the April article circling Bailey’s name, the words “no competing interests” and “Exponent” under author’s details.

“Bailey’s been a hired gun ever since I can remember,” Slesin said. “He’s there to protect the interests of the client. I’ve seen him in action many times,” Slesin said.

Slesin, too, noted Bailey’s participation in the 2002 study. “He was there when the decision was made to classify it as a human carcinogen.” The decision was unanimous, he said.

Slesin wrote about Bailey in a Microwave News post on Nov. 26, 2013 when Bailey was a consultant to EirGrid, the Irish state-owned power line company, at the time.

Slesin wrote: “Bill Bailey of Exponent, a consultant to EirGrid, was flown in from the U.S. to sit in the studio audience and support (CEO) Slye. The scientific evidence, he said, does not demonstrate a health risk from exposure to EMFs encountered in daily life.”

The audience jeered in response, Slesin wrote.

Exponent, Inc.

Dr. Stanton Glantz of the UC San Francisco’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, has followed the work of Exponent, Inc.

“(Exponent experts) have worked for tobacco companies, chemical companies, just about anybody you can imagine. They basically specialize in coming up with scientific looking reports that serve the needs of their clients,” Glantz said. “They did a lot of work for the tobacco industry contesting the evidence that second-hand smoke was dangerous.”

Exponent also did a lot of work for Toyota, he said, referencing a Los Angeles Times article. “If you cast things as your expert opinion, you can get away with a lot of stuff. You can make a lot of money.”

There’s a small number of firms that specialize in science denialism and obfuscation, Glantz said. “They are one of the bigger ones,” he said of Exponent, Inc.

FairWarning wrote about Exponent, Inc., last December. The New York Times ran a long piece about Exponent’s work in the Deflategate scandal.

Deerfield intervenor

Maureen Quinn, an intervenor with the non-abutting Ashland-Deerfield property owners group, is a semi-retired public health nurse who retired as a captain in the U.S. Public Health Service, eight of those years working with children who suffered from various forms of cancer.

She questioned Bailey about a number of studies that show a 1 1/2 times to a doubling of the risk of childhood leukemia associated with powerline magnetic field exposure. While the science can’t explain why it happens, the numbers should make people in New Hampshire wary, Quinn said.

“Bailey wants to support electric utility projects because that’s who’s signing his paycheck,” Quinn said.

“I just really think it’s important that people understand we could be potentially putting people’s lives at risk for something that is not necessary for regional energy needs…
“We don’t want to be putting people at greater risk when there are alternatives and we are not meeting a critical need,” Quinn said.”

Well done Nancy West. This was a great piece of investigative journalism. Something your Irish counterparts could learn from.

Posted in Academic Research; Peer-Review Process; Medical Journals, Dr Sarah Laurie; Steve Cooper; Bob McMurtry; Alun Evans, EirGrid; Insurance; Law; Cancer; EMF, Nancy West | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Undeniable Proof: Wind Turbine Noise Causes Serious Adverse Health Effects

Another great resource. Lots of very useful information in your pending action against your local wind farm.

STOP THESE THINGS

A couple of years back, STT produced a timeline which highlighted how the wind industry and its pet acoustic consultants managed to set up ‘rules’ which have no relevance to the noise impacts experienced by wind farm neighbours and under which wind power outfits could ride roughshod over rural communities with complete impunity.

That post – Three Decades of Wind Industry Deception: A Chronology of a Global Conspiracy of Silence and Subterfuge – was picked up by not only those wind farm neighbours suffering adverse health effects, but by those in the scientific community involved in establishing the precise mechanism by which incessant, turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound causes adverse health effects, including sleep deprivation.

One of them is Canadian researcher, Carmen Krogh. Carmen has taken our timeline, brought it up to date and added scientific detail to what, for those suffering from wind turbine noise emissions, is a miserable…

View original post 53 more words

Posted in EirGrid; Insurance; Law; Cancer; EMF | Leave a comment

Suing Windfarms for Nuisance

Once again the Aussies take the lead. This is a DIY kit on how to sue windfarms in Aussie, including examples of Particulars of Claim. Clearly these must be changed to reflect Irish law and practice, but it is a great starting point, full of good ideas.

 

Over the last few weeks there has been an uptick in chatter about long dormant wind farm projects being resurrected, which has more to do with anxious developers hoping to offload their projects than any kind of renewed confidence in Australia’s precarious renewable energy policies. In the main, this rush of panicked activity is about […]

via First Strike: Communities Threatened by Wind Farms Gathering Own Noise Data to Later Sue Turbine Hosts & Developers in Nuisance — STOP THESE THINGS

Posted in BSB Community Energy Ltd, Democracy; Ireland; Fine Gael; Labour; Sinn Fein; Workers; Constitution, Dr Sarah Laurie; Steve Cooper; Bob McMurtry; Alun Evans, EIA Directive 2014/52/EU, EirGrid; Insurance; Law; Cancer; EMF, EU Renewable Energy 2020 Target, Framore Limited, High Court; Judge Caroline Costello; John Callaghan; Leave to Appeal, Irish Farmers Association; IFA; wind farm contracts, Kilvinane Wind Farm Ltd; substituted consent, Law; High Court; Leave To Appeal; Environment, Legal Costs; Access to Justice; Courts, NREAP; National Renewable Energy Action Plan; EU Commission; Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee; ACCC, Pat Swords, Paudie Coffey; series compensation; Fine Gael; Alan Kelly; Alex White, Peremptory law; Directory Law; Planning and Devlopment Act of 2000, Planning and Development Act 2000; guidelines; directives; Sections 28 & 29, Planning Permission; Extension; Planning and Development Act, Wind Farm Contract, Wind Farm Guidelines, turbines, flicker, noise, distance, Denis Naughten, Wind Turbine Syndrome; Professor Alun Evans, Wind Turbines: Esen Fatma Kabadayi Whiting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

So you say you wanna Revolution?

peaceful protest

“You say you want a revolution

Well, you know

We all want to change the world

You tell me that it’s evolution

Well, you know

We all want to change the world

 

 

You say you’ll change the constitution

Well, you know

We all want to change your head

You tell me it’s the institution

Well, you know

You’d better free your mind instead.”

 

“Revolution” The Beatles (1968)   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGLGzRXY5Bw

 

At this time of year we in Ireland remember those brave men and women of the Easter Uprising. Whilst it is a huge event in Irish history, and the penultimate milestone in throwing off the English colonial yoke, it might be argued that the real revolution is yet to happen. The revolution of the mind. A fundamental change in how people think, and more specifically a fundamental change in how people think about those that govern them.

I am teaching in Germany at the moment, which is why this blog has not been published as regularly as it should be. However, Pat Swords published something the other day about the Swedish model of public participation, and that got me thinking about the docile nature of Irish politics, and how we just process the shit that politicians spew out, either accepting it or rejecting it, but never really providing an alternative version of our own.

Pat suggested that the key reason that Sweden was so successful, and this goes for the Nordic countries in general, is that the citizen is empowered by interacting in a transparent manner with local structures, in which there are strong checks and balances in relation to the decisions being made in that area. Hence, in that part of the world the citizen isn’t as frustrated with the political system, or with what is perceived as the injustices and corruption integral to the State apparatus. If an injustice is perceived, the citizen body will kick up a racket, supported by an investigative press, and things will happen. This is not to say that Sweden is a perfect political model, but when you compare it to Ireland, where all decisions are centralised and determined by (the inner sanctum of) the Cabinet and the Party Whip, and of course kept as far away from the citizen as possible (on a buried layer in a website, for example), it is certainly a far better model.

And what do we do? We moan and grumble for a couple of days, curse the cute hoors, and then live with it until the next mess comes along.

Pat further argued that public participation was around in those Nordic countries long before Aarhus, which is why the Aarhus Treaty was never a major issue with these countries, as it simply confirmed what was there already. On the other hand, successive governments (and the courts) have resisted and restricted and effectively hamstrung the Aarhus Treaty and its implementation in Ireland every step of the way.

The system of challenging planning decisions is also fundamentally more transparent and fair than the Irish model of appealing to the now infamous and thoroughly discredited An Bord Pleanala, followed by a judicial review on the narrowest grounds known in our law.

Contrast the Swedish model:

Appeal and administrative review

A final administrative decision may be appealed. A municipal decision is generally appealed to the regional county administrative board, and further to the land and environmental courts. The decision of a higher authority is, however, generally appealed to the land and environmental courts directly. The above-described governmental decisions may be subject to a specific judicial review procedure before the Supreme Administrative Court (Act 2006:304).

An administrative decision may also be reviewed by the original decision-making authority, independently of the appeal. The administrative authority has a legal duty (FL 27 §) to change a clearly incorrect decision, at least if such correction is simple and quick, but the decision cannot be to the detriment of other parties. This administrative review procedure is therefore of limited use in cases involving several parties of conflicting interests. Administrative review can be made in response to an application or on the authority’s own initiative. Administrative appeal is submitted to the decision-making authority for forwarding to the appellate body. This system provides opportunity for review and hence correcting an incorrect decision without having to go to court. In environmental cases there is no obligation to apply for such review before appealing an administrative decision.

The administrative appeals procedure in Sweden is as a rule reformatory and one of full appeal. This means that the administrative courts decide cases on the merits as well as legality of the appealed administrative decision, and that they can replace the appealed decision with a new one. Within the limits of the claim, the court takes on the role of the authority that made the appealed decision, and thus in principle acts as a public authority making an administrative decision. The ultimate responsibility for the investigation of the case rests with the court according to the “ex officio principle”. The point of departure is that the original decision-making authority should have ensured sufficient decision-making material, but if needed the court has to take on this responsibility. They should therefore look beyond the appealed decision and scrutinise the decision-making materials. The court may then order the parties to provide materials, or they can acquire it themselves. “

(https://e-justice.europa.eu/content_access_to_justice_in_environmental_matters-300-se-en.do?member=1 )

 

What a difference to our closed and effectively dead-end system, which is cost-prohibitive to most ordinary people. Can you imagine what our environmental groups could achieve, given the number of people with a good focused knowledge of environmental compliance, and not necessarily a lawyer or somebody with deep enough pockets to be able to afford a lawyer? We could really put the brakes on unsuitable development and the rape of our countryside.

What does the same person get here in Ireland? Sleepless nights and a permanent state of mental and physical exhaustion, brought about by the constant banging of your head against the bureaucratic brick wall.

And what else does active citizen participation bring, apart from a cleaner and healthier countryside? It brings happiness. There are five Nordic countries in the top 10 happiest countries of the world, in positions 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10. I deliberately chose Sweden as they are at number 10. In other words the system of civic participlation in the least happiest Nordic country is still way better than ours! See http://worldhappiness.report/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2017/03/HR17.pdf

So let us have a proper revolution, a revolution of the mind, of our attitudes, of getting off our arses and demanding greater transparency. This is the existing EU law, it is not a theoretical pipe-dream. However, it remains a pipe-dream unless we as citizens demand that it is properly implemented.

Posted in An Bord Pleanala; appeal; interested parties, Democracy; Ireland; Fine Gael; Labour; Sinn Fein; Workers; Constitution, Easter Uprising, 1916 Revolution, Independence, IRA., Freedom of Information; Access to Environmental Information; AIE; Commissioner for Environmental Information, lobbying; democracy; political process; general election, Pat Swords, Planning and Development Act 2000; guidelines; directives; Sections 28 & 29, Press Freedom, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters; Aarhus Convention; Aarhus Treaty | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cans can bounce (back)

6a0133f440106f970b01543247eaef970c

There have been a number of interesting comments on Nigel’s blog of last week, “Kicking Cans”. One of those was a link to a German article by a medical doctor on important new research regarding the dangers of infrasound emitted by wind turbines. The ever tenacious Nigel de Haas has again offered his literary and editing skills by providing a readable translation of this article, which I reproduce here (the highlights and spacing are mine):

 

DR. MED. THOMAS CARL STILLER

March 27, 2017

Infrasound – the boomerang of energy sources

Dr. Thomas Carl Stiller is a specialist physician of general medicine and co-founder of “Doctors for Emission Control” (AEFIS).

 

People living in proximity to wind power plants often describe their complaints concerning low-frequency noise (infrasound) from these plants as “I feel what you cannot hear.”

But what is the cause of infrasound, what impact does it have on people, what standards regulate the permissible sound emissions and what is the state of science on these issues?

Inaudible but biophysiologically effective sound is not science fiction but an increasing threat to health.

First, a few physical bases: sound is the pressure change in a medium such as air and spreads around the source. The lower the frequency, the more sound is transported in the air. Very low frequencies are also transmitted through closed buildings. As a result of acoustic reflections and superimpositions, it can then lead to excessively high sound pressure values. In general, sounds and noises are described by frequency, timbre and volume. The human ear can hear frequencies approximately in the range of 20,000 Hz, i.e., vibrations per second (high tones) to 20 Hz (low tones). The sound range above a frequency of 20,000 Hz is referred to as ultrasound, below 200 Hz as low-frequency sound, below 20 Hz as ultrasound. Both infrasound and ultrasound are no longer perceived by the ear, but the body has a subtle perception for infrasound, and some people are particularly sensitive to low-frequency sound. In nature, low-frequency vibrations are ubiquitous. For example, some migratory birds orient themselves by the noise of the sea which is transmitted over several hundred kilometres in the atmosphere.

The infrasound from wind turbines is still measurable for several kilometres1.

On the other hand, humans are often exposed to technically generated ultrasound in their immediate surroundings. In residential areas, in the age of energy efficiency regulations for new buildings, air heat pumps are increasingly used as energy sources, which are cheaper to purchase than many other heating systems. In operation, however, they are often annoying for the neighbours, if the compressors are too loud and run too long. Even more problematic are wind power plants, in particular the modern large plants, which are mostly placed in front of villages and settlements at a small distance from the housing development. A pressure wave is generated every time a rotor blade is passed in front of the tower; many people perceive this as periodic “thumping”, sometimes also at a distance of several kilometres. The consequences of technically generated infrasound are only gradually becoming understood. About 10 – 30 percent of the population is sensitive to infrasound radiation. These people, which in Germany number several million, develop numerous symptoms, which are now understood by more and more physicians. The lowfrequency oscillations from compressors and wind power plants cause stress reactions in these people, which manifest themselves in sleep disorders, concentration disorders, nausea, tinnitus, dysphasia, dizziness, cardiac arrhythmia, fatigue, depression and anxiety disorders, earaches and permanent hearing impairments.

From a physiological point of view, there is damage to the hair cells of the cortical organ of the auditory canal and to permanent irritation in cerebral arteries, such as the amygdala (anxiety centre)2.

Effects on the heart and blood vessels included diseased changes of the connective tissue in the arteries of the pericardium (heart bag) detected in experiments3 with animals which were exposed to infrasound for a long duration. Those affected cannot escape the effects of health and harassment. They are often ineffective for a long period of time. A neurobiological habituation of sensitive persons on technical infrasound is not known. It is often falsely asserted that the symptoms are attributable to the attitude of persons concerned about the sources of the infrasound. Unfortunately, this is not observed in medical practice; the symptoms are all sensitive.

Numerous international studies have been carried out over the last few years, but in Germany this research is not advanced and almost unknown at the political level. If the symptoms occur, however, those affected are often hardly in a position to react. Those who live in a residential area affected by low-frequency noise and infrasound radiation cannot usually move away if, for example, they have to sell their house, which has lost a lot of value due to nearby wind power plants.

Who can perform optimally in today’s working world if sleep deprived and unable to find peace and quiet in their home by pervasive infrasound loading4.

How long can those affected compensate for this healthily and financially? Infrasound-sensitive people are ensnared in a tragic dilemma: their complaints are not taken seriously and legally they do not go further because of the lack of emission control regulations.

The acoustician Steven Cooper, together with a wind farm operator in Australia, investigated the effects of infrasound on the local population. Local residents in the vicinity of a nearby wind park complained about the above symptoms. But they did not have the wind farm directly in front of them. Cooper had their symptoms recorded at an exact time and checked the correlation with the activity of the wind power plants; the symptoms were strongest when the wind power plants were particularly active5.

In Denmark, information on malformed foetuses and miscarriages on a mink farm where wind turbine installations were subsequently built, as well as frequent reports of disease symptoms of people near wind power plants, led to a moratorium on wind energy expansion, pending completion of investigation of the connections.

The subject of infrasound radiation has also been taken seriously for some time6.  All previously valid protection standards, such as the Technische Anleitung (TA) noise and the DIN 45680, are based on the assumption that only sound which can be perceived by the ear can be damaged7. Other forms of the perception of sound are excluded. The measurement regulations are also not helpful, since only sound above 8 Hz is measured, although modern instruments can also detect frequencies of <1 Hz and the infrasound range in the range 1 – 8 Hz causes particularly severe health impairments.

The prescribed sound measurements also average individual frequency peaks. They are based on the decibel A filter, which follows the human auditory curve in the audible sound range and measures on many different frequencies rather than linearly and narrowly, as would be appropriate to avoid health hazards in the infrasound range.

Furthermore, often obsolete measuring systems and microphones that do not measure accurately enough in the infrasonic range are still permitted within the scope of the currently valid regulations for measurement. As a result, the measurement of the sound phenomena that are harmful to human beings does not take place below 20 Hz. Since these measurement regulations are the basis for approval procedures for technical systems, they must be adapted to the current state of the art. There would be a direct effect if the standards and regulations for the approval procedures of technical installations were at the level of the international state of knowledge. Were the standards for sound pressure to correspond to the state of the art, the limits for infrasound pressure would be set lower, the models for the propagation of infrasound would correspond to the state of research and the construction of plants would be optimized in terms of emissions of low-frequency sound. If technical sources of infrasound radiation are not removed quickly and sustainably enough by wind turbines, public complaints will develop into a health boomerang with respect to energy sources.

A new national disease on a par with diabetes and cancer is now inevitable given the failure of governments to act. It is high time for politically responsible people to meet their protection obligation for humans and nature and to initiate the most important measures from the point of view of preventive medicine an immediate dismantling of wind power, greater minimum distances between humans and wind power plants, prioritise objective infrasound research coupled with modern measurement regulations in the corresponding DIN standards and stricter protective regulations directed at sound physics and biology.

 

Footnotes

1 Lars Ceranna, Gernot Hartmann & Manfred Henger; “The inaudible sound of wind turbines – infrasound measurements on a wind turbine north of Hanover, Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR), Unit B3.11, Seismology, 2004

2 AN Salt, JT Lichtenhan; “Perception-based protection from low-frequency sound may not be enough”; InterNoise 2012. http://oto2.wustl.edu/cochlea . AN Salt, JT Lichtenhan; “How does wind turbine noise affect people?”, 2014.

3 Alves-Pereira M, Castelo Branco NA; Prog. Biophys. Mol. Biol. 2007 Jan-Apr 93 (1-3): 256-79. Epub 2006 Aug 4; “Vibroacoustic disease: biological effects of infrasound and low-frequency noise elucidated by mechanotransduction cellular signaling”.

4 Claire Paller (2014). “Exploring the Association between Proximity to Industrial Wind Turbines and Self-Reported Health Outcomes in Ontario, Canada”; UWSpace, http://hdl.handle.net/10012/8268.

5 Steven Cooper; “Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm”; 44.5100.R7: MSC; Prepared for: Energy Pacific (Vic) Pty Ltd, Level 11, 474 Flinders Street, Melbourne VIC 3000, Date: 26th Nov, 2014.

6 Robert Koch Institute; “Infrasonic and low-frequency sound – a topic for environmental health protection in Germany?”, Communication from the Commission “Methods and quality assurance in environmental medicine”. Position paper of the doctors for emission control (www.aefis.de).

7 Standards: DIN 45680, 45401, 45651; Technical guidance noise (TA noise). “Acoustics – Attenuation of sound in outdoor propagation – Part 2: General calculation method”. DIN EN 61260: 2003-03; “Electroacoustics – Band filters for octaves and fractions of octaves”; DIN EN 61400-11; “Wind energy installations, Part 11: Sound-measurement methods, acoustics, electroacoustics”; “Standard frequencies for measurements” (retracted), “Octave filters for electroacoustic measurements” (withdrawn

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Kicking Cans?

pass the buck

I have had too much on the go to be able to do another blog, so I am very happy to welcome an experienced wind warrior and ethical activist, Nigel de Haas, to tell us about his correspondence with the esteemed Minister.

Copies of the letters can be found at the end of the blog:

 

“A LOUD CLANG AS THE CAN GETS KICKED (AGAIN)

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment has responded to a letter that I wrote to him on 14th February by letter dated 27th March in which he has clarified the following points of public interest:
● A review of the Wind Energy Guidelines is a key commitment in the Programme for Government (May 2016);
● The review of Wind Energy Guidelines began in December 2013;
● This is a very technical area and engagement between the DCCAE and the DHPCLG is ongoing in order to bring the review to completion;
● The proposed new guidelines will be subject to SEA and associated public consultation before they are finalised by Government.

And so dear folks, having sat on their hands for three years since the close of public consultation, and having sat on the findings of the July 2015 RPS Report for two years and despite having committed to issuing the revised guidelines by November last year, the Minister and his Department intend to kick the can right out of the stadium, let alone down the road.

How far we have travelled from the lofty promises of the Programme for a Partnership Government, where Section 13.3.K) addressed the Rights of Local Communities and Indigenous Energy Generation with the words:

“The new Government understands the divisions and distress caused in local communities who feel that new energy infrastructure, like wind farms and pylons are imposed on them. The technology and scale of wind farms has evolved significantly since the last set of planning guidelines were introduced in 2006. As a matter of urgency the new Government will update the wind farm planning guidelines, within 3 to 6 months, to offer a better balance between the concerns of local communities and the need to invest in indigenous energy projects. These new planning guidelines will be informed by the public consultation process and best international practice”.

Words it seems are not the same as promises. Perhaps they are the new alternative reality? The subject of my letter to Minister Naughten of 14th February was the Public Disclosure finding by the Commissioner for Environmental Information in case CEI-15-0032 where he stated that:

“If disclosure were to lead to a submission being made to either or both Departments which was of such significance that it could not be ignored, such a submission would appear to be highly important and very much in the public interest.”

The disclosure referred to included a report commissioned by SEAI and prepared by RPS in 2015, showing that the size and ramifications of planned wind farm development far exceed the parameters in current use. Section 3.2.3 of the report states that the typical wind turbine size in any future development is likely to have a power rating of 3.5MW and a tip height of 150 to 175m (up to 190m in low-wind areas).

This is five (5) times larger than the 0.66MW wind turbines typically installed in 2006 when WEDG06 was issued.

Table 3.2 of the report shows that an estimated setback distance of 1209m would be necessary to meet the 40dB absolute noise limit proposed in the draft revision of WEGD06, and even with a 45dB limit the setback is estimated as 782m.

Compare these (Government-Commissioned Study) figures to Section 5.6 of WEDG06 which states:

“noise is unlikely to be a significant problem where the distance from the nearest turbine to any noise sensitive property is more than 500 metres”.

The disclosure is certainly of a significance that cannot be ignored, and it is indeed in the public interest that the following submission should be made:

The proposed revision to the Wind Energy Development Guidelines (WEDG06) is now three years overdue;
● The existing, obsolete guidelines do not afford proper protection to rural residents;
● The Government has been shown by the CEI-ordered disclosure above to have commissioned modelling that reinforces the point that WEDG06 does not afford proper protection to rural residents.

Public planning policy implemented by all administrations in Ireland over the past 50 years or more has supported dispersed rural housing rather than the consolidated settlement pattern found in continental Europe where farms are huge and farm labour lives in consolidated hamlets and villages. Irish farms have historically been small, and sons and daughters frequently build on parcels of land from the family farm, or farmers have sold off plots to people who prefer to live in the quiet of the countryside.

The direct consequence of this historic planning policy is that there is far less potential to develop wind farms in Ireland than there is in continental Europe, without adversely affecting the lives of large numbers of people who have their homes in rural Ireland. Key Objective 5.6.1 of the draft revision to WEDG06:

“seeks to achieve a balance between the protection of residential amenity of neighbouring communities in the vicinity of wind energy developments, and facilitating the meeting of national renewable energy targets”.

The Minister is not convinced; in his letter of 27th March he takes the following position on the RPS report and setback distances:

● Key to the (RPS) calculations were the accumulation of worst-case based scenarios meaning that the figures arrived at cannot always represent likely real world situations;
● The figures should therefore be considered as maximum theoretical distances at which wind farm noises can be detected at the specified levels, rather than as minimum distances required to reduce noise intensities to those levels;
● This highlights the complexity of the conditions under investigation in the review of the guidelines currently under way.

It is all sort of flexible, squeezy stuff. Especially a setback of 1209m, which the Minister considers to be a maximum theoretical distance at which wind farm noises can be detected at a level of 40dB (the noise level first mooted by his Department in the 2013 draft Targeted Revision of the Wind Energy Guidelines).

The long suffering residents of rural Ireland have a better chance of resolving how many angels can dance on the head of a pin than getting any reasonable level of protection against inappropriately closely sited wind farms from the Ministers of DCCAE and DHPCLG any time soon.

And in the intervening period, more and more wind farms will happily pass through the planning process bound only by the outdated 500m setback, 43/45dB noise limit and permissible levels of shadow flicker.

Whatever happened to the concerned Minister for Communications, Climate Change and Environment who told the Dáil on 6th October 2016 that “I am as anxious as anybody else to have these new guidelines put in place as the current guidelines are not fit for purpose”?

Nigel de Haas
Dunmanway, Co. Cork.

Letter to Minister from Nigel

Reply to Nigel from Minister

Posted in Irish Farmers Association; IFA; wind farm contracts, NREAP; National Renewable Energy Action Plan; EU Commission; Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee; ACCC, Planning and Development Act 2000; guidelines; directives; Sections 28 & 29, Wind Farm Guidelines, turbines, flicker, noise, distance, Denis Naughten, Wind Turbine Syndrome; Professor Alun Evans | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Minister concedes to setback and zoning for wind farms in Donegal

Well done Councillor Campbell! We need more like you!

Concerned About Wind Turbines - Donegal

In the end Minister Coveney skulked out of the legal hearings which would have tested his powers under section 31 of the Planning and Development Act to overturn the democratically passed variation no. 2 to Donegal County Development Plan, dealing with wind energy development.

Councillor John Campbell who took the legal challenge announced the end of this, his second successful foray in the courts against a Ministerial direction, on twitter, where he also highlighted the extent of the shameful delaying tactics of the Minister and his Department:

What is notable is that when tested neither the Minister nor his Department were able to open any documents or arguments in support of their position in court, they merely…

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