Mortimer, D. & A. Supplementary Submission to 2015 Select Committee on Wind Turbines

“We have been physically assaulted by the wind turbine noise for over ten years and are becoming increasingly sensitised to the noise and the associated physiological sensations”

Recently, my wife and I attended the Senate hearing on wind farms at Portland in Victoria.

I was given the opportunity to make a brief (three minute) presentation to the committee. I was effectively unable to speak, as though I had a sudden and total mental black out. This has not happened to me before as I can usually speak at length on the subject of wind turbines and without written notes. So why the sudden blank out?

Since 2012, we have had to go away from the noise ‘foot print’ of wind turbines at least once per fortnight for at least two days at a time to have a decent sleep.

We have been physically assaulted by the wind turbine noise for over ten years and are becoming increasingly sensitised to the noise and the associated physiological sensations.

The month prior to the Portland Hearing, I had been required for Court Jury Service and as a consequence, could not have my usual weekly break. During that period, the wind blew predominately from the turbines towards our home, resulting in severely disturbed sleep.

We decided to stay overnight in Dartmoor (SA) on our way to Portland for the Senate hearing , as we considered it would be a chance to have at least one good night’s sleep prior to the hearing, the nearest wind turbines being around 35 to 40 kilometres distant. The town is quiet and quite picturesque and promised us a good sleep. We had no sooner laid our heads on the pillow in our camper when we became aware of the same pulsing/drumming sensation as we experience at home and which we know is produced by the wind farm adjacent our home. As a consequence, we did not sleep well.

The following night, we travelled to Cape Bridgewater and spent the night in the yard of Ms Sonia Trist. The sensations we experienced due to the low frequency noise produced by the wind turbines only 600 or so metres from our camper were extremely unpleasant, resulting in yet another poor sleep.

The next day was the Senate hearing. Within an hour of being in the Senate Hearing room, both my wife and I became affected by low frequency sensations not unlike those which are produced by the wind turbines adjacent our home. We both felt nauseated and experienced apparent heart palpitations. My wife became so dizzy that she had to leave the room and in doing so, collided with a plate glass window. During the hearing, I experienced a sensation of acute anxiety similar to that often experienced at home due to low frequency noises produced by turbines adjacent our home.

On such occasions, it is common for me to suffer nocturnal panic attacks. My inability to address the Senate may have been as a result of such a panic attack, it certainly felt similar, and something over which I had little control. I believe that not even politicians are immune from panic attacks. In addition, when I tried to speak, it felt as though there was a slight delay between uttering words and actually hearing them myself, resulting in a state of confusion. I wish I knew! Is my mind being altered by the wind farm low frequency noise?

On completion of the hearing, I observed the turbines closest to the town were facing directly at the TAFE building where the hearing took place. The wind therefore, was blowing directly from the turbines to the TAFE. This would be consistent with the sensations we both felt.

The week immediately following the Senate hearing, my wife and I spent our time on an egg farm just out of Bendigo. We slept peacefully each night with absolutely NO wind farm symptoms or sensations . The peace inside our heads was “delicious”. Honestly, you have to experience our problems in order to understand. Thousands of people around the world are reporting what we sense but our governments at all levels are simply ignoring us virtually calling us liars and encouraging people who only care for money to carpet the globe with a failed technology that will never work but only serve to increasingly destabilize the power grid.

We thank goodness that we generate all our own power via a small scale PV solar array and are not connected to the electricity grid.

Sensations that are caused by wind farm low frequency noise and that affect us are:

  1. This is with me now virtually full time although it is “loudest” when I am at home and in my house. After a day or two of the turbine noise footprint, the tinnitus eases to be barely perceptible. My wife is not affected.
  2. Spontaneous nose bleeds. These were common up until we started taking leave of absence from the vicinity of the wind farms. They are now rare but still
  3. Both my wife and I experience dizziness, however my wife is most severely affected (to the falling over stage) unless she gets to spend regular and significant time away from the wind farm low frequency noise.
  4. Anxiety: This is self explanatory but seems to be most pronounced when reclining or after extended periods spent in the home or out
  5. Once again, self explanatory but occurs after extended periods of anxiety. It is ameliorated by physical activity and removal from the low frequency turbine noise. Unfortunately, we have to rest some time.
  6. Apparent heart palpitations. This sensation is as though our heart is skipping beats or trying to insert intermediate beats. It is felt around the heart, sometimes with accompanying sharp pains. It is never felt when away from wind farms and is not consistent with our actual heart beat.
  7. Pulsing inside the head. This sensation is as though there is a “ball” of low frequency sound bouncing irregularly off the internal walls of the cranium mostly between the ears. It is this sensation that often makes it difficult to get to sleep and to sleep soundly. Upon waking in the morning , one feels a sense of turmoil inside the head which usually quickly reverts to the apparent wind farm produced amplitude modulated low frequency
  8. This is a sensation of ones heart racing at many times its normal rate. It also feels as though every nerve in our body, most particularly in our torso is “jangling”. This sensation has diminished since commencing our regular absences from wind farm low frequency noise but still occurs on occasion.
  9. This is experienced by both of us when the pulsing sensations are at their strongest and most prolonged. The feeling is like that of sea sickness and like sea sickness, we do not look sick. You would believe us if we were on a rocking ship and we said we were sea sick, so is it so hard to believe that a similar mechanism is making us feel sick?

How do we know that it is low frequency noise from the turbines causing our problems? For a start, we have had acoustic testing carried out on our house which shows the presence of low frequency and infra sound attributable to wind turbines. Who paid for this testing? We did. Government bodies such as the SA EPA and the PAC were informed of our problems with wind turbine noise as was Infigen (wind farm operator) but no one made any effort to confirm or deny our claims. Acoustic monitoring and analysis over a year to fully assess our exposure would cost many thousands of dollars, a luxury we do not have.

When the wind blows from the south east directly from the turbines towards our home, the audible noise from the turbine blades is both very strong and very clearly from that source. In addition, the audible noise also contains the same “shape” of sound in the low frequency range and which we feel in our bodies.

Inside our house (and outbuildings), we are generally unable to hear the audible turbine noise, but the same “shape” of the low frequency noise is present and often quite strong.

As far as we can tell, the low frequency wind farm noise is present in our home constantly but is most pronounced when the wind blows from the south east (directly from the turbines to our home) and from the north west (diametrically opposite). Even when the wind is calm and the turbines are not or only barely turning, they still continue to radiate high levels of low frequency noise.

As long as industrial scale wind turbines have blades, they will continue to radiate low frequency sounds. The blades are hollow fibreglass drums and very effectively act as resonant cavities or sounding boards. When the blades are not turning, there is generally power still connected to the turbines causing the entire structure to vibrate at 50Hz and in any case, wind blowing over the surface of the blades cause them to resonate at one or more of the many resonant modes of the structure.

I am going to predict here that the instrumentation that can detect all the low frequency and infra sounds that the human body can has not yet been developed.

It is bad enough that we are forced to endure the incessant assault on our physical senses by the wind farm low frequency and infra sound but effectively have to become wind farm refugees in order to maintain a modicum of sanity and health. We built our home to live in, not just to visit on occasion to mow the lawn. The expense of constant absence is a severe financial drain.

To add insult to injury, wind farms do not provide any meaningful power to the grid nor do they in any way mitigate so called anthropogenic carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Wind power (as is also the case with PV Solar) needs to be constantly backed up with despatchable base load power. We in Australia, have very little hydro electric power so the responsibility for maintaining a stable and competent grid falls regrettably to fossil fuelled energy and will be for decades to come unless some brilliant scientist can make the wind blow on demand and the sun shine 24/7. All that proliferation of wind power is achieving is destabilisation of the grid which will lead to frequent and lengthy power blackouts.

I have operated multi megawatt, multi generator electricity networks during my RAN Naval career and know the difficulty in just maintaining a normal “demand” driven system. A large scale “supply” driven system such as is the case with wind power, would be virtually impossible to operate. The wind can be predicted to a reasonable degree of accuracy but if it doesn’t want to blow, and doesn’t blow for days on end, what provides our electric power? Bad old dirty fossil fuel and no amount of prediction will make the wind blow.

David and Alida Mortimer

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