17th February, 2015
By Peter Collins, The Standard
PACIFIC Hydro has declared it won’t be paying compensation or modifying operation of its Cape Bridgewater wind farm following an acoustic study which found a link between infrasound and sensations reported by nearby residents.
Company executive general manager Lane Crockett told a public meeting last night in Portland all complaints that led to the commissioning of the report would be closed, but a new round of follow-up discussions would be started.
“We are also satisfied we have gone as far as we can in attempting to find a pathway to resolving residents’ concerns,” he said.
“There is nothing in this report to justify any form of compensation.
“However, we do not want this to be the end of our engagement with the Cape Bridgewater community.”
Acoustics expert Steven Cooper, who carried out the study and officially presented it to last night’s meeting, said the results could be a basis for further study into health issues.
Last week the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) said high-quality research was warranted into possible health effects of wind farms, particularly within 1500 metres of residences.
The council said it would issue a targeted call for study by Australia’s best researchers to undertake independent, high-quality research investigating possible health effects and their causes.
It said previous research did not have consistent evidence showing a health link.
Wannon MP Dan Tehan welcomed the announcement saying some of his constituents were concerned about potential health effects from wind farms.
“It’s essential for everyone involved — including residents and the renewable energy sector — that credible evidence is gathered to ensure a considered position based on the facts can be established,” he said.
Mr Tehan said the Department of Industry and Science would review the NHMRC’s information paper to consider how noise from wind farms may affect human health.
Last night Mr Cooper and Pacific Hydro agreed further study was required to obtain a rigour that would withstand scientific scrutiny.
“This study is a new approach to assessing the acoustic environment as it relates to wind turbines involves a number of hypotheses that are yet to be fully tested and contains information that may prove useful as a basis for further study,” they said.
Mr Cooper and his Acoustics Group found a relationship between sensations reported by six Cape Bridgewater residents and low-level sound when turbines were in operation.