Palmerston North, " Propeller City " ?

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Our water supply is at serious risk.

PNCC'S consultation document was misleading.

Fire caused by friction, electrical fault or lightning strike is an ever present danger. These fires are fuelled by the composite fibreglass materials used in the nacelles and blades and at 125 metres high are virtually impossible to put out. Do you want to risk the Turitea Reserve, Hardings Park, private pine plantations and our water supply in this way ???

Watch a turbine implode. This turbine was one of two in Denmark which collapsed earlier this year. The debris was thrown over a 1/2 mile radius. See a video clip of the debris here.
NB this turbine is 61 metres ( 200 feet ) high, the Turitea turbines are 125 metres high.

Why do wind turbines fail ?
So what's the risk of turbine failure? Mike Graham, professor of aerodynamics at Imperial College, says a modern turbine typically spins at 25rpm, which translates to a few million times a year. "Turbines have to face a lot of force," Graham says. "They are equivalent to the lift forces faced by aircraft in takeoff, and some blades are of comparable size now to the wing of a Boeing 747."
Unlike aircraft, however, wind turbines operate in "the lower part of the Earth's atmosphere, where it is very turbulent and wind is more interrupted. Repetitive loading of forces causes cracks. But the industry is well aware of this." Engineers calculate the forces and add a safety margin, which is then built into the design.
But crucially, manufacturers do not disclose how close to tolerance they make their products, according to Professor Leon Freris, a consultant who is also a member of the board of Ascot Renewco, an insurance company which underwrites policies for turbines. "The most critical components on a wind turbine in terms of fatigue loading are the blades and the gearbox," Freris says. "The majority of blades at present are made of glass-reinforced plastic." They are made to last 20 years, but accelerated fatigue tests, and two years of testing, are standard before new designs are included in products.
Errors can be made, though. Earlier this year, Suzlon Energy had to repair or replace almost its entire stock of 1,251 turbine blades, after many developed cracks. The refit is reckoned to have cost the company $25m (£14m).
Graham says most wind turbines require gearboxes to enable the slowly turning blades to power fast-running generators: "It's one of the major problem areas. Gearboxes are big heavy things based at the top of a tower and they are prone to failure. There is a lot of unsteady loading because they operate in wind."
NB: the 110 m high Tararua 3 turbines have been failing regularly after only 1 year in operation. Blades are delaminating ( one actually fell off last year ) and gearboxes failing. Drive shafts have had to be supplied with undersized bearings. The supply line for these turbine parts stretches clear to the other side of the world.

In the Environment Court recently Palmerston North was referred to as "Propeller City "in response to proposals to swamp the heritage landscape immediately behind the city with monster turbines.

We have a wind farm zone and the prospect of a further 250 or so turbines south of the Pahiatua track is unacceptable. The Vestas turbines at Tararua 3 are falling apart after less than a year in operation. Repair crews are there every day dealing with gearbox and bearing failures and delaminating blades. A 45 metre blade last year simply fell off. The wind is too turbulent, too unpredictable.

An important point.

During the winter months ( 2008 ), due to weather systems with light to no wind at all, Manawatu wind energy has made only a neglible and intermittent contribution to compensate for low levels in the Southern hydro lakes.

Wednesday, 11 Jun 2008

Wind farms don't ease power peak
Taranaki's first wind farm, planned to be built on the coast at Waverley, will probably contribute nothing to meeting the country's peak winter power demand.National electricity grid operator Transpower has revealed that turbines on the three Manawatu farms have been generating at less than 1% of their capacity during winter evening peaks for the past three years.

Click on the comment below for the full story on wind farm inefficiency.


Palmerston North said...

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Wind farms don't ease power peak
Taranaki's first wind farm, planned to be built on the coast at Waverley, will probably contribute nothing to meeting the country's peak winter power demand.

National electricity grid operator Transpower has revealed that turbines on the three Manawatu farms have been generating at less than 1% of their capacity during winter evening peaks for the past three years.

Bernhard Voll, the technical brains behind the 45-turbine Waverley project for Australian company Allco Financial Group, says this farm will probably perform no differently, because of a lack of wind at winter peak times, but it was a small issue.

"Wind farms are not designed to be peaking plants," he said. "The issue is that wind farms displace fossil-fired power generation and contribute to the nation's energy demand throughout the year. Picking on a singular issue of peak demand contribution is misleading."

The Waverley consent hearing was postponed last month at Allco's request and the South Taranaki District Council now says it could proceed some time in August.

Allco is selling assets to reduce debt, and that includes wind farm plans. Sydney-based Mr Voll says the Waverley consent hearing will proceed, regardless of any ownership changes.

Transpower system operations manager Kieran Devine says the country's three major farms, clustered around the Manawatu Gorge, supplied less than one per cent of their capacity during peak load periods during the past three winters, 2005-07.

The highest peaks occurred in the North Island on cold, still weekday evenings, for three to four hours, starting between 5.30pm and 6.30pm.

This is when the electricity price also hits a peak. There was not enough wind blowing at those times to turn the blades fast enough.

The apparently flawed peak winter performance of existing wind farms has come out of the first three years of a 10-year wind generation investigation project.

Mr Devine says turbines on the Manawatu wind farms all behaved similarly, running up and down the generation scale together.

"Either there was insufficient wind at that time, or the current farms are all in the wrong locations and there's not enough wind system diversity," he says.

"We have real concerns about the large amount of wind generation planned in the lower North Island, because the preliminary information is that they will all have very similar characteristics to the Manawatu farms and that won't help with winter peaks. We'd prefer they were spread around so that when one's up others will be down and it would balance itself out.

"Fortunately, the wind characteristics at the new White Hill farm (29 turbines, near Dunedin) appear to be different to Manawatu."

He says power planners are just beginning to discover what wind is all about because the detail needed for wind farm management has never been required in the past.

"In the long term, wind is very reliable but in short term you can never count on it being there when you need it in forward forecasting."

The three farms generating from wind around the Manawatu Gorge are: Trustpower's Tararua (134 turbines), NZ Wind Farms' Te Rere Hau (104), Meridian Energy's Te Apiti (55).

concerned resident said...

Another concerned resident, who is greatly concerned about Turitea reserve and whose amenity will be totally destroyed if Mighty River Power's proposal proceeds in its present form, agreed to have his letters to DOC and the Public Health Officer posted.

10 November 2008

Dear Conservator
Ref. Proposed Eco-Park Turitea Reserve
Palmerston North

Is it correct that DOC is working with Palmerston North City Council to create an eco-park in Turitea Reserve that will be funded by wind turbine royalties from Mighty River Power?

The Karori sanctuary, which is completely enclosed by a specially designed fence, has experienced difficulty keeping rodents and mustelids out. It will be a futile task to attempt to create a similar unfenced sanctuary in Turitea Reserve, in the light of what has happened at the Karori sanctuary. Furthermore, the main area of indigenous forest in Turitea Reserve will be completely encircled by wind turbines. Encirclement by giant flailing blades is not compatible with birds and besides what self-respecting bird would tolerate the noise signature? Could you please describe any research that has been done on this matter relevant to native birds? A good place to start would be to examine the native bird life in the bush remnants around the Manawatu Gorge.

Insect strike residues on turbine blades are a major cause of decreased turbine efficiency. Anecdotal evidence suggests there has been a severe decline in the Odonata order of insects in the environs of the Manawatu wind generation facilities. What research DOC has initiated on this issue? How do insects react to the sound pressure levels from wind turbines?

Many of the road cuttings around Old West Road and Tenant Drive have experienced slipping this spring due to heavy rainfalls. The rainfall in Turitea reserve is higher and the potential for slipping on cut faces is greater. What trials have been done on hydro seeding along the range? The shrubby vegetation along the range has taken many years to grow in the gusty conditions. Replanting, without nurse trees to provide initial shelter, is difficult. Trees planted without shelter in this area socket when it is wet and windy.

The best outcome for Turitea Reserve is to leave regeneration to itself without disturbance by an industrial scale wind generation facility. Intensive possum, rodent and mustelid control does not require the sacrifice of the reserve to rampant wind turbine development.

Could you please explain DOC’s advisory role in the case of Turitea reserve. Is DOC obliged to go along with such a project that is anathema to the fundamental ideals of conservation? It is essential that researched based best practice is implemented and presently it seems that very little research has taken place on the ecological footprint of the existing industrial scale wind generation facilities. A good website to visit concerning Mighty River Power’s Turitea proposal is

The concept of an eco-park in a water-catchment area with restricted public access and participation is bizarre. In my opinion the concept of an eco-park was introduced by PNCC and Mighty River Power to seduce the supposedly gullible public into accepting an extremely visually intrusive project that would colonise the remaining skyline behind Palmerston North.

5 September 2008

Dear Public Health Officer

Ref. Grading of Turitea Water Supply

The Health (Drinking Water) Amendment Bill, passed 10 October 2007, introduced a risk management approach to drinking water supplies, i.e. a move away from focusing on compliance or non-compliance.

Mighty River Power’s proposal for an industrial scale wind generation facility in Turitea Reserve includes extensive erection of turbines, a sub-station and a concrete batching plant on Brown’s Flat itself. Brown’s Flat is the heart of the Turitea catchment consisting of a large natural basin that collects water and directs the water to the dams below. The scale of the earthworks required for planting 125 metre high turbines can be viewed on Presently, the integrity of the water supply is maintained by protected catchment status and minimal development.

Mighty River Power’s ill-conceived project will jeopardise the protected catchment status significantly during the construction period and to a lesser degree with on-going maintenance crews. The scale of the development means that risk management will be placed at risk and mandated health checks will become unworkable. The risk of contamination with microorganisms such as cryptosporidium and giardia exponentially increases.

The scale of the Turitea proposal will involve thousands of hours of machinery operation and truck movements in a sensitive area that directly feeds into the water supply. Diesel fuel emissions are of concern and must be considered seriously. Diesel fuel emissions are a complex mixture of vapours and fine particles. Unburned fuel and lubricant components, products of incomplete combustion, engine wear, or trace contamination of the fuel and lubricant oil all contribute to such pollutants in the exhaust as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, oxides of sulphur, volatile organic compounds (VOC), particulate matter, aldehydes, ketones, sulphates, cyanides, phenols, metals and ammonia (Galveston Bay Conservation and Preservation Assoc., 2006).

Diesel particulate matter averages 0.1 to 0.25 microns and contains many known carcinogens and mutagenic compounds such as arsenic, benzene, nickel, benzopyrene, 1,3-butadiene and formaldehyde. The particulates also contain many soluble aromatics called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

Diesel exhaust can deposit onto water, soil, and vegetation, contaminating anything it comes into contact with. Another drinking water contaminant that originates from the volatilization of fuels and vehicle exhaust is toluene. The maximum contaminant level for toluene has been set by the EPA as 1 part per million.

We can learn from the concerns of the American EPA where there is a growing awareness of the contamination of drinking water supplies from diesel fuel emissions. Monitoring and detailed exploration/ research of these concerns must occur before the Turitea proposal proceeds.

Furthermore, the scale of the earthworks required means that some sedimentation and turbidity will result regardless of the silt traps and other engineering best practice implemented. An extreme risk results because turbid water may contain high concentrations of protozoa and other pathogens where the water may be more difficult to treat adequately.

The risk management focus of the Health (Drinking Water) Amendment Bill will not be met if Mighty River Power’s proposal is granted consent. The Aa grading status of the Turitea water supply may have to be revised. I would appreciate your opinion on the concerns I have raised.

concerned resident said...

The concerned residents whose letters were posted by me, attempted to post their submissions on the proposed National Policy Statement for Renewable energy, but were unable to do so and in frustration forwarded them to me. I found out what they were doing wrong, i.e. they were entering the user name they had chosen and not their email address in the username box. I wonder how many other people have been unable to post their comments because of this.

To the Chairperson
Board of Inquiry
proposed National policy Statement on Renewable Energy

This is a submission on the proposed national policy statement for renewable electricity generation that was publicly notified on 6 September 2008.

The support, changes and additions I seek, with reasons, are set out below.

Avoid concentrating wind generation in one area

1. I am in full agreement with the words in Policy 1, which state:

Maintaining or increasing security of electricity supply at local, regional and national levels by diversifying the type and/ or location of electricity generation.

An excellent example to illustrate the importance of diversifying the type and location of renewable generation are the Manawatu wind generation facilities.
· The Wind generation Investigation Project raised the issues of the management of large, sudden changes in wind generation output, which have already been observed in the Manawatu region, as well as the effect of wind generation output uncertainty on pre-dispatch processes. Such a situation does not increase security of supply.
· Kevin Devine (Transpower system operations manager) is quoted in the Taranaki Daily News: The country’s three major wind farms clustered around the Manawatu Gorge, supplied less than one percent of their capacity during peak load periods during the past three winters, 2005-07. We have real concerns about the large amount of wind generation planned in the lower North Island, because the preliminary information is that they will all have very similar characteristics to the Manawatu farms and that won’t help with winter peaks. We’d prefer they were spread around so that when one’s up others will be down and it would balance itself out.
· Presently there is approx. 300MW of installed capacity in the Manawatu wind generation facilities. Mighty River Power’s proposal is 360MW and will greatly exacerbate the problems described above.
· The tipping point for cumulative effects in the Manawatu has now been reached and the rush by Mighty River Power to grab the last remaining site that forms the backdrop to Palmerston North is no longer sensible development for the reasons above.

Target driven development does not achieve the best result

2. A renewable energy policy that is target driven, i.e. 90% renewables by
2025, is not based on sound analysis and planning. The renewable energy target is being interpreted by SOE’s, such as Mighty River Power, as carte blanche to erect as many turbines as they possibly can irrespective of the impact on local landscape and communities, all in the name of the national good. The national good requires that security of supply and reliability is enhanced by a geographical spread of wind generation facilities outside of the Manawatu. The NPS must ensure that projects are not solely target driven in the quest for carbon credits, i.e. all projects make a sensible and worthwhile contribution to security and reliability of supply. ‘Carpet bomb’ and speculative applications such as Turitea are designed to intimidate and demoralise local communities.

Moratorium necessary on industrial scale wind generation facilities

3. The Minister of Energy in a speech to NZWEA Conference, 8 April 2008 stated that NZ needs around 175 MW of new renewable generation each year.
The Minister also stated that:
· Two wind projects of 188MW are under construction in Manawatu and Wellington.
· Five wind projects totalling 312 MW have been consented.
· Applications are being processed for nine wind projects totalling 1700 MW. (Since the 8th of April, Waitahora at 177MW, Central Wind, Turitea at 360MW and Mt Cass at 69MW have been announced).
· Mighty River Power’s geothermal station of 125MW ( has now been commissioned). Another geothermal plant of 130 MW has been consented and Te Mihi is currently seeking consent (has now been called in).
· Five resource consents for up to 415 MW have been applied for South Island hydro.

It is obvious that the target of 175 MW of renewable energy per year will
be exceeded for many years. On this basis a moratorium should be
placed on industrial scale wind generation facilities until national
guidelines for reasonable off set distances are developed. Unfortunately, the
rush for industrial scale wind generation facilities appears to be a result of
the Governments gross miscalculation of our Kyoto obligations due 2012,
resulting in a scramble for carbon credits that does not treat the
environment responsibly.

An article in the Manawtu Standard, 29 August 2008, titled “Turbine
certainty called for’, states that Horizons has fielded 29 inquiries in the
past two years from parties interested in building wind generation facilities.
Horizon’s CEO recommends that the rules about what could go where had to
clarified, to put an end to the current case-by-case situation. The CEO claims
applications are dealt with in an ad-hoc method.

Small scale community generation projects are a priority

4. Easing the way for large scale industrial wind generation, such as Turitea,
does not facilitate, or encourage small community-scale development of renewable electricity generation, which is a more pragmatic solution in the long term. Refer to the report titled “Wind, Power and People” prepared by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, which highlights the role of small scale distributed generation and community projects (Refer to recommendations 1&2 on p.114). Small-scale projects also avoid the cumulative effects, which is an issue in the Manawatu (see p. 90 of the report)
Small-scale community generation projects avoid sacrificing communities for the perceived national good and the associated pressure for grid up-grades. Small-scale community projects also increase awareness that energy conservation and load spreading are a more economical and environmentally friendly way forward.
The focus for the National Policy Statement on Renewable Energy should be primarily on small-scale community projects.

Reasonable off-set distances need to be established to balance national benefit against loss of local amenity

5. Section 5 of the RMA theoretically enables people and communities to provide for their social, economic, and cultural wellbeing and for their health and safety. This is interpreted in the Proposed National Policy Statement for Renewable Generation as a security of supply issue regarding economic, social and cultural benefits to the country, i.e. the national good comes first, where the perceived benefits are deemed to outweigh the costs. Communities that are adjacent to proposed industrial scale wind generation facilities will become more vulnerable to losing their social, economic and cultural wellbeing as well as their health and safety because:
· Wind generation facilities create divisions in the community between those who receive royalties for wind turbines and those who don’t and are often more adversely affected in terms of loss of amenity, i.e. social wellbeing and neighbourly relationships are destroyed. The report titled ‘Wind, Power and People’ states that tensions with communities have been noted with recent proposals partly because only the landowner benefits financially (p.57).
· Reduced property values and the inability to sell property that is close to large industrial scale wind generation facilities is now becoming a serious issue with the monstrous turbines that are now being proposed too close to so many residences. For example, Mighty River Power’s Turitea project has proposed a 125m high turbine 50m from my cottage, plus two more at 100m and three at 250m. I have been trying to sell two titles of my property for over a year but no one wants to live in the shadow of monstrous wind turbines. Thus, the economic wellbeing of the community is destroyed with excessive property devaluation beyond normal market trends, or if people are unable to sell their properties as their life circumstances change.
· Noise monitoring is on the basis of modelled sound pressure levels and does not relate to audibility. The dripping tap effect of audible wind turbine noise can affect many nearby residents. (Refer to Bob Thorne’s evidence in the Motorimu appeal) There is growing evidence that such noise can adversely affect health, i.e. health and safety issues arise (Refer to Daniel Shepherds evidence in the Motorimu appeal, and Richard James’s evidence in the Mill Creek RMA hearing).

Thus, local communities are adversely affected for the perceived national good.
The ‘Telegraph’, 26 July 2008, reported on a landmark case where Jane Davis
will get a discount on her council tax because her home had been rendered
worthless by a wind turbine 1000 yards away. In a similar case in the Lakes
District Judge Michael Buckley awarded £15000 damages to a couple who had
brought a house in 2004 without being told by the sellers that a wind generation
facility was going to built nearby. Judge Buckley said that the noise, visual
intrusion and flickering of light through the blades of wind turbines reduced
the value of the house they brought by a fifth.

The only way for the National Policy to facilitate industrial scale wind
generation development that does not sacrifice local residents is to establish
reasonable offset distances of wind turbines from dwellings, e.g. 2 to 3km. If
an industrial scale wind generation facility developer wishes to place turbines
within the offset distance, in order to maximise their project, it should be
mandatory that they offer to purchase any such affected property, at an
evaluation that takes into account values prior to the wind generation proposal
being announced.
Why are developers reluctant to consider this option? Developers always claim
that their noise modelling is the reality and that property values are not
adversely affected, thus they have nothing to lose by exercising such an option
because if what they claim is correct they can easily on-sell the property.

The report prepared by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
titled, “Wind, Power and People”, claims that a separation distance of
2.0-2.5km appears to be the threshold below which acceptance is more likely
to be replaced by negative sentiments for neighbours who experience no direct
benefits (p.56).

The Motorimu Environment Court decision released on 1 October 2008
declined 34 of 38 appealed turbines on the grounds of:
· Adverse effects on landscape and amenity.
· Imposing unreasonable burden on neighbours
· Proximity of turbines to neighbours
· Elevation of turbines above the nearby properties

The Motorimu Environment Court decision provides valid justification for
the establishment of offset distances between turbines and dwellings
to protect local communities from the rampant grab for turbine sites that
totally disregards local amenity values.

Trying to sustain the unsustainable

6. The energy debate is hollow because it is attempting to help us keep on living the way we do in a carbon neutral way. In the long term this is not sustainable, i.e. we have to make radical changes to everything we do. For example we cannot continue to fill our homes with electronic toys such as flat screen TVs that continually increase demand over and beyond population increase.
Jim Kunstler ( describes this as the, ‘suburban sprawl building economy’, meaning an economy dedicated to building a living arrangement with no future. Kunstler claims the climax of the sprawl building economy occurred in lockstep with the climax of peak oil.

Facts must drive policy

7. The emotionally compelling climate change debate has been useful to raise public awareness that we must live in a more sustainable way and reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. However, policy must be driven by facts! IPCC’s role has been to gather evidence that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are the cause of climate change. Other natural phenomena such as solar irradiance have been overlooked, speculative possibilities have been overstated and the uncertainty of climate change modelling has been understated. Climate change based solely on anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions is not proven science and is an on-going debate. Policy based solely on such hypotheses without conclusive proof is equivalent to the era of where witches were burned at the stake and Galileo was imprisoned for stating that the earth orbited the sun. It is also dishonest for industrial scale wind generation facility developers to justify their grab for turbine sites on this basis.

Industrial scale wind generation facility developers must held accountable for lies/ mis-information

8. Experts hired to create evidence on behalf of industrial scale wind generation facility developers are paid well. Most animals do not bite the hand that feeds them. If experts desire future work they are under pressure to create a favourable case for whoever hires them. If the modelling/ predictions made by experts are not borne out in reality, the experts or whoever hired the experts are not held accountable. Furthermore, many developers down play and minimise effects such as photomontages. For example, in Mighty River Power’s (MRP) Turitea proposal they state that they have carefully considered the proposal and adverse effects are only minor. There is no way noise levels will comply at my cottage where there are approximately 24 turbines within 1.5km. My safety will be at risk and I could possibly be killed if a the 125 metre high turbine proposed less than 50 metres away from my cottage folds over and falls on it, or a bade falls off one of the turbines situated 100 metres away. Such events do occur as can be seen on

MRP state that their project will supply 150 000 houses but fail to clarify that this will only occur when the wind blows at optimal speeds. MRP state that their project is 10km SE of the city. The closest suburb is 2km distance and the Fitzherbert Bridge is 5-6km distance from the nearest wind turbine. The CEO for MRP stated in a radio interview that the Turitea proposal is the same size as Te Apiti when it is four times the size. If MRP are mis-informing the public on these obvious matters what trust can be placed in any other evidence they present?

The National Policy statement must add in a clause that all evidence/ information put forward by developers must be factual and correct to avoid mis-informing the public and the commissioners who are involved in assessing proposals.

There are already signs that large SOE’s and other wind generation developers will turn the RMA and consent conditions into the “Wild West” on the back of Government policy that is target driven and hungry for relief from Kyoto obligations. Consent conditions must be given teeth in the National Policy Statement to enforce social responsibility by predatory SOE’s.

To the Chairperson
Board of Inquiry
Proposed National Policy Statement on Renewable Energy

This is a submission on the proposed national policy statement for renewable electricity generation that was publicly notified on 6 September 2008.

The changes and additions I seek, with reasons, are set out below.

Holistic view required to achieve sensible development of renewables

The main form of renewable energy proposed to meet the Government’s target is wind generation. Many industrial scale wind generation facilities, such as Mighty River Power’s speculative and ill-conceived Turitea proposal, are simply not based on sound green policies but commercial opportunism for distorting factors such as carbon credits*. A holistic renewable energy policy is required, balancing costs, benefits and deliverability of a full range of options including demand reduction.

Evidence has emerged that wind generation is an unreliable and intermittent source of energy that cannot provide firm predictable generating capacity, i.e. it cannot be scheduled or the availability predicted sufficiently accurately. It has limited value in reducing greenhouse gas emissions when thermal stations are used for spinning reserve backup. Wind generation developers claim that hydro stations are used for backup. However, this did not happen earlier in the year when hydro lakes were low and the wind stopped blowing in the Manawatu, i.e. Whirinaki had to be fired up. In the UK an approximate rule is that the amount of conventional base load capacity that can be retired is the square root of the wind capacity. Thus, 25MW of wind generation installed would allow 5MW of conventional plant to be retired without compromising National Grid security of supply standards. An equivalent amount of firm generation, or slightly less has to be retained and to operate at lower load factors producing electricity at higher unit costs. These requirements mean that with regard to wind generation alone the requirement for firm plant capacity will never be less than the system peak load. One of Europe’s leading energy analysts, Mr Paul-Frederik Bach, until recently the Deputy Director of Eltra, now Energinet, the Danish Grid Operator, claims that from a planning perspective wind should be attributed a capacity credit of zero. Consequently, communities such as the one I live in, directly underneath Mighty River Power’s Turitea proposal, will pay a high cost socially, environmentally and economically for poor results. With increasing amounts of intermittent and unpredictable embedded generation on the grid, control becomes increasingly more difficult especially if wind turbines are concentrated in one area such as the Manawatu.

The proposed NPS appears to be favouring developers. The political pressures will always weigh in favour of allowing proposals to proceed at all costs. The present arrangements put too much weight on the proposals from the companies, with too little independent objective scrutiny. In my opinion large and well-resourced wind generation developers such as Mighty River Power are attempting to ride roughshod over local communities. The present situation is unfair and the ‘carpet bomb” approach by developers such as Mighty River Power appears to be a deliberate tactic to intimidate local communities, or bleed them dry of the resources and political will to oppose the application. The issue is socially divisive and the cost to those opposing is prohibitive.

* It is of interest to note the statement made in Mighty River Power’s 2007 Annual Report by its CEO extolling the virtues of geothermal generation:
Unlike wind and hydro, geothermal is not subject to climate variations such as wind sped or the amount of rainfall. It can contribute to the country’s energy requirements with more certainty……… means much less transmission investment than other renewable options.

Consent applications must be factual and consent conditions must be enforced

Wind generation developers include deliberately misleading information in their consent applications. For example the photomontages used by developers often downplay the true scale and impact of the development. There is no penalty or offence for providing misleading information within an application. Any non-factual information placed before the public and commissioners should automatically make the application invalid.

Consent conditions on matters such, as noise nuisance are difficult to enforce because who wants to know? A newspaper article on this issue can be viewed on

With so many large turbines being proposed so close to so many homes it is essential a more rigorous noise standard than NZS 6808 is applied.

The issue of noise and impact on health from wind turbines will need to be addressed before siting close to residences can be justified. There is growing evidence that
NZS 6808 has failed to provide a reasonable level of protection to family homes from unbearable noise nuisance where wind turbines are located too close to homes. Symptoms include sleep disturbances and deprivation. This is a worldwide phenomenon where wind turbines are located too close to homes.

Wind turbine noise is characterised by its loudness, pulsating and persistent/ continuous character and its low frequency component, which cannot be heard but can be felt. These characteristics affect:
· Sleep and rest
· The ability to enjoy amenity values
· Health, which includes tiredness
· Loss in value of property

The pulsating low frequency noise from wind turbines is dismissed by noise monitoring people working for developers who claim it is not a health issue. Yet the WHO and other experts warn of serious medical impacts where low frequency noise is present.

In 1999, The World Health Organisation published its ‘Guidelines for Community Noise’. These Guidelines incorporated significant changes to the previous WHO Guidelines of 1980, 1993, and 1995, particularly in setting maximum noise limits in a bedroom where noise with a pulsating and low frequency character are present. NZS 6808 urgently requires updating to reflect these changes.

The WHO Guidelines for Community Noise 1999 clearly states in section 3.8:
“The evidence on low frequency noise is sufficiently strong to warrant immediate concern”.
“Health effects due to low frequency components in noise are estimated to be more severe than for community noises in general (Berglund et al 1996).”

And from section 4.4 ‘WHO Guidelines, 1999, Values’:
“It is not enough to characterise the noise environment in terms of noise measures or indices based on energy summation (e.g.LAeq) because different critical health effects require different description. .... For indoor environments, reverberation time is also an important factor. If the noise includes a large proportion of low frequency components, still lower guideline values should be applied. The ‘WHO 1999, Guidelines, Critical health effects’ for sleep disturbance, sets a limit of total noise in the bedroom at night at 30dBA, before additional reductions are applied to reflect the presence of low frequency noise and the pulsating character of the noise.

A human rights issue arises when families suffer sleep deprivation and consequent health problems when turbines are placed too close to dwellings

In a British case: “Dennis & Dennis v M.O.D. (2003) EWHC 793, Mr Justice Buckley found an interference with the convention rights of the claimants whose enjoyment of their home (and its value) was impaired by the noise: “I believe it is implicit in the decision S v France, that the public interest is greater than the individual private interests of Mr and Mrs Dennis but it is not proportionate to pursue or give effect to the public interest without compensation for Mr and Mrs Dennis... in my view, common fairness demands that where the interests of a minority, let alone an individual, are seriously interfered with because of an overriding public interest, the minority should be compensated.”

A number of noise experts and health experts have called for a minimum offset distance of 2km between wind turbines and homes. The wind industry does not agree with such a proposal because they consider that such an offset distance will constrain projects. It could be argued that if a small number of homes within the 2km zone would stop the site being developed, then it should be mandatory for developers to buy out those homes at market value to allow the scheme to proceed.

Allowing industrial scale wind generation developers to make profits at the expense of individual families is repugnant.