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Environment and Communications Legislation Committee
Madigan, Sen John
Xenophon, Sen Nick
Back, Sen Chris
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Environment and Communications Legislation Committee
(Senate-Wednesday, 14 November 2012)
CHAIR (Senator Cameron)
- Prof. Salt
Content WindowEnvironment and Communications Legislation Committee - 14/11/2012
FRANCIS, Ms Lisa, Senior Manager, Institutional Relations and Media, Acciona
MARSH, Mr Russell, Director of Policy, Clean Energy Council
McGILP, Mr Jamie, Manager, Environment and Planning Team, Acciona
UPSON, Mr Jonathan, Senior Development and Government Affairs Manager, Infigen Energy
Evidence from Ms Francis, Mr McGilp and Mr Upson was taken via teleconference—
CHAIR: I now welcome representatives from the Clean Energy Council, Acconia and Infigen Energy. The Clean Energy Council has lodged submission No. 165 with the committee and Infigen has lodged submission No. 209. Do any of you wish to make a short statement?
Mr Marsh : Yes, I am happy to.
CHAIR: Can I indicate that they must be short statements.
Mr Marsh : The Clean Energy Council as the peak body for the renewable energy and energy efficiency industry has some 550 members across the industry and we do not support the adoption of the excessive noise bill being discussed today. The bill seeks to apply an arbitrary and unscientific noise limit to wind farms, when existing guidelines are adequate for ensuring the amenity of the community, noting that Australia currently has some of the most stringent noise standards for wind farms in the world. Noise guidelines form part of an overall planning scheme, which should be determined by individual state governments to be considered and defined alongside other aspects of infrastructure planning. Seeing a national rule sitting above existing state-based planning regimes will create inconsistency and confusion for planners, industry and the community. We would also note that the body that has been asked to regulate this part of the guidelines is the Clean Energy Regulator and we do not think that it has either the expertise or the knowledge to deal with this quite technical issue. Thank you.
Mr McGilp : Acciona has built more than 200 wind farms in 15 countries around the world and has over 8,000 megawatts of installed capacity worldwide. We have three operational wind farms in Australia—one in Victoria, one in New South Wales and one in South Australia, which is a joint venture. Acciona Energy does not support the adoption of the excessive noise bill. The primary reason that Acciona has issues with the excessive noise bill is the inclusion of the 10 dB above background noise level imposition. The bill appears to apply excessive noise limits to wind farms without adequate consideration, research or rationale. The noise limits are inconsistent with the established noise standards that are adopted by state governments in Australia as part of their planning processes which, as we have discussed, are some of the most stringent and toughest in the world. Existing noise guidelines set a baseline of permissible noise levels of 35 or 40 dB, depending on which state and situation you are in, whereby a wind farm may emit up to five dBs above the background beyond that. The baseline of permissible noise limits is guided by an internal noise criterion of 30 decibels, set by the World Health Organization, which has been set after significant research into noise impacts and disturbance. It is my understanding that experience has shown that 40 dB outside a dwelling will result in compliance with this internal limit of 30 dB within a premise. Therefore we strongly disagree with the concept of removing a baseline permissible noise level.
The excessive noise level does not describe the methodology, and other companies have discussed that previously—that there is no clear guidance on the methodology that would be implemented. Acciona Energy is concerned that the excessive noise bill would be retrospectively applicable. Existing wind farms, accounting for billions of dollars of investment in regional Australia, have been designed and constructed to adhere to noise guidelines in effect at the time of planning permission being granted. Applying more restrictive noise standards to existing wind farms would have serious financial implications in relation to existing commercial and financial arrangements which underpin these large infrastructure projects.
The excessive noise bill would also have a serious impact on future development of wind farms and is likely to force wind farms into more remote areas, which are less financially viable. Therefore, renewable energy specific prices are likely to be forced up, to make the wind farm developments less viable. In order to make them more viable the RECs prices will have to go up in order to meet the Commonwealth's renewable energy target. The flow-on impact of that is likely to be a significant increase in electricity prices to consumers. Just to reiterate, Acciona Energy does not support the adoption of this excessive noise bill.
Mr Upson : Infigen Energy is the largest owner of wind farms in Australia and is an active developer of large-scale solar PV energy facilities as well. The company is headquartered in Sydney and its Australian operations generate enough pollution-free renewable energy to power more than 250,000 typical Australian homes.
I would like to make two key points. First, in Australia planning regulations, including noise limits and compliance with these noise limits, are completely within the realm of state governments. Steven Cooper's statement this morning that the Commonwealth should step in because state governments have no definition of excessive noise is absurd. State governments have precise and detailed wind farm noise limits which comprise the definition of excessive noise. In fact, as figure 1 in our submission clearly demonstrates, New South Wales has the most stringent wind farm noise limit in the world, and the other states are not far behind. Every state government requires an extensive and thorough demonstration of compliance with these strict noise limits soon after completion of the wind farm. The New South Wales government has even taken the step of undertaking its own independent audit of wind farms in its state to test the wind farms that it has already found to be compliant. There is no rationale for the Commonwealth to usurp the state governments' planning power.
Second, I have been very surprised, listening to the proceedings this morning, how little of the discussion had anything to do with the amendment actually under consideration today. In addition, what little discussion that did occur this morning did not support the primary thrust of the amendment. For example, Professor Salt quite correctly stated that the background plus 10 decibels on the A-scale limit proposed would have no impact on infrasound as infrasound is not measured on the dBA scale. It is actually measured on the decibel G scale. Dr Hanning stated he preferred a fixed decibel noise limit such as 35 decibels, which is the exact opposite to what is being proposed in the amendment. Professor Hansen stated that a background plus-five decibel limit would be more appropriate. So even the supporters of more stringent noise regulations could not even agree on how excessive noise should be defined. This argues very well for leaving such regulations to the state governments.
One last point that has not been raised about the amendment is its peculiar requirement that the regulator must deprive a wind farm of its accreditation if it contravenes any unwritten laws. This provision by itself would stop all wind energy development. How could one proceed with a project just to lose half its revenue because it supposedly contravenes some unknown and unwritten law? I would be pleased to respond to your questions.
Senator MADIGAN: On page 20 of the attachment to the Clean Energy Council's submission, which is the Sonus 'Wind Farm Technical Paper Environmental Noise', the following assertion is made:
Only a few field studies on noise annoyance among people living close to wind turbines have been conducted and further investigations have been recommended by these studies.
Do you all endorse that assertion?
CHAIR: Does anyone want to answer that?
Mr Upson : I will. There has only been one scientific paper published in a peer-review technical journal, and it was published in Acoustics Australia earlier in the year. It was written by Sonus, which, as was pointed out earlier this morning, has been doing wind farm testing for 10 years. This study was published in a peer-reviewed journal—it is the only study in Australia that had that done that has actually done measurements—and it found that the infrasound levels were orders of magnitude less even a couple of hundred metres from a turbine. The infrasound levels were hundreds of times less than can be perceived by human beings. I would be happy to send that study to the committee.
CHAIR: Thank you. Senator Madigan.
Senator MADIGAN: Through the Chair, and for the information of the committee, I would like to table a report called the NASA Technical Memorandum 100528: Wind Turbine Acoustic Research—Bibliography with Selected Annotation by Harvey H Hubbard and Kevin P Shepherd. The date of this report is 1988. This NASA report, with some 238—
CHAIR: Again, we have to have a look and see what the relevance of it is.
Senator MADIGAN: I showed it to Senator Back.
CHAIR: Yes, but I am still not sure of the relevance. If you could refer to it before you seek to table it, we may table it after we understand the relevance.
Senator MADIGAN: This NASA publication lists some 238 separate reports on wind turbine acoustic research. This includes 48 separate studies on the noise impacts on wind turbines on humans, conducted by 1988. Twenty-four years ago this one bibliography listed 48 separate studies. How can you seriously suggest that there are only a few field studies on noise annoyance in existence today and that almost no research has been done on this matter in the long period in between?
Mr Upson : I have not read that study, but in 1988 they would have been measuring noise of downwind turbines that were about 40 metres long—so it is obviously not terribly relevant. What we are looking at is recent acoustic studies. And there have been other peer-reviewed acoustic studies done measuring wind turbine infrasound and low-frequency noise overseas as well. There was one completed last year in America that measured noise at two wind farms, and I would be happy to send that study to the committee. It was published in the Noise Control Engineering Journal, which is essentially the journal of the American Acoustic Engineering Society.
Senator MADIGAN: I think the point I am trying to make here, as you made out, in 1988 there were smaller turbines; and you mean to suggest that bigger turbines would have fewer health effects than smaller turbines.
Mr Upson : That is actually true, Senator, because downwind turbines—that is, turbines with the rotor downwind of the tower—were known for producing higher levels of infrasound. Those types of turbines have not been made in probably 15 or 20 years, so it is possible for that turbine design to have higher low-frequency and infrasound levels than the large turbines of today.
As I said, in the Sonus study that was published in Acoustics Australia, to put it in a simplistic way, what they basically found was that you could perceive infrasound at your house if you had 200 turbines within 300 metres of your house. Then you would have enough infrasound energy such that you could actually perceive it. That is how far below the perception of infrasound modern turbines are: you need 200-250 of them, 300 metres from your house, to actually perceive the infrasound level.
CHAIR: Is there any objection to the document being tabled? There being no objection, it is so ordered.
Senator MADIGAN: The SONUS report continues, on page 20, to assert:
European studies (Peterson, 2005) indicate correlation between the noise level and annoyance but stronger correlation factors such as overall sensitivity to noise, attitude towards the noise source, attitude towards the area as a pristine place or a place for economic development, influence over the proposal, daily hassles, visual intrusion and the age of the turbine site.
Do you endorse the SONUS assertion that people are not annoyed by the noise as much as they are by other factors?
Mr Marsh : All we would say on that I think is that it is clear there are a number of factors that go into why people feel annoyed about wind farms. I certainly cannot comment on Sonus's behalf as to that conclusion in their report; you would have to ask them exactly why they drew that conclusion.
Senator MADIGAN: Thank you, Chair.
Senator XENOPHON: Mr Upson and other members of the panel: is it your assertion that there is no peer-reviewed literature that raises concerns about wind turbine noise and the impact on health?
Mr Upson : I am not aware of any truly peer reviewed study in a reputable academic journal that proves a causal relationship between wind turbine noise and detrimental health impacts. It is a mixed up thing. Steven Cooper was asked whether he had written any peer reviewed studies and he started talking about a peer review that he wrote and put on a website. That is not peer review; that is him writing a study. It is a term that gets confused, either on purpose or by accident, by people all the time. There are 200,000 wind turbines operating in the world today. If there was a direct causal health relationship it would have been discovered years ago in Spain, Germany or—
Senator XENOPHON: Mr Upson, that is not the question. You have asserted that there are no peer review journals but you have qualified it now to say that there are no peer reviewed articles in any reputable journals or any reputable reviews. Are you are saying that studies that may have been peer reviewed are not reputable?
Mr Upson : First, I am saying that I am not aware of any. Obviously I cannot say—
Senator XENOPHON: So Nissenbaum and others in Noise and Health, September-October 2012—are you familiar with that study?
Mr Upson : I am sorry, Senator, I missed that.
Senator XENOPHON: Are you familiar with the study in the publication Noise and Health, by Nissenbaum and a number of other authors?
Mr Upson : I have not read that study.
Senator XENOPHON: I think the committee will advise you of that, because I just want to ask you to consider whether your view is the same after reading that. Also, there is the article in the Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society by Salt and Kaltenbach in 201l and the New Zealand study by Daniel Shepherd et al on Evaluating the impact of wind turbine noise and health-related quality of life. I will not hold you up on this, because of time constraints, but, Mr Upson, could you consider those articles, which I understand have been peer reviewed and tell us whether you still make the same assertion that there are no peer reviewed articles.
Mr Upson : Okay.
Senator XENOPHON: So, take that on notice. I will go back to the issue of compliance. Before you can get approval for a wind turbine you need to provide the noise criteria for the approval process; is that right?
Mr McGilp : Yes, that is correct.
Senator XENOPHON: Thank you, Mr McGilp. Does that rely, in general terms, on the regression curve before that approval is given? In other words, do you need to provide a regression curve in terms of the likely noise impact of such a development?
Mr McGilp : Yes; in some situations it can rely on the regression curve; in other situations it relies on the base-line permissible level. It also depends on which state you are in within Australia.
Senator XENOPHON: But it is fair to say that the regression curve is relevant in some jurisdictions—correct?
Mr McGilp : On occasions, yes.
Senator XENOPHON: And is the regression curve determined by dBA versus the wind at the hub height?
Mr McGilp : I am not an acoustician but I understand that you require information of wind speeds at hub height.
Senator XENOPHON: Again, these are not trick questions, and I am happy for you to provide further information after this hearing in relation to the questions I have put. One of the aspects of this bill—the second aspect of this bill—is to require certain information to be provided by wind turbine proponents so that compliance can be determined. One of the issues to be published is details of wind speed and the output of a particular turbine at a particular time. Would you say that they are relevant factors, that would have been relevant in terms of compliance being granted for such a development?
Mr McGilp : I can only speak from personal experience at our operational wind farms where we have permit conditions which require us to have independent compliance testing undertaken to determine whether compliance is achieved. All of that information, including wind speed, noise levels, weather conditions et cetera, is provided to the regulator such as DPCD in Victoria.
Senator XENOPHON: Sure. But do you have an issue with that information as provided to the regulator being provided publicly as well? I would ask other members of the panel that as well, including you, Mr Marsh.
Mr Marsh : So I am asked the question of what is the purpose of having that information?
Senator XENOPHON: No. I am not asking you what the purpose is. This information is already provided to regulators as part of the approval process—is that right?
Mr Marsh : As far as I am aware, yes.
Mr McGilp : We have no problems providing that information to regulators in a controlled manner, so we would continue to do that and we have always done that.
Senator XENOPHON: Why in a controlled manner, Mr McGilp?
Mr McGilp : It is a very complex topic, as you probably appreciate, of analysing acoustic information. It is not something that you or I is likely to be able to do and you need acousticians looking at it and reporting on it.
Senator XENOPHON: Sure but, Mr McGilp, we have heard from Professor Colin Hansen, who has received an Australian Research Council grant to look at wind turbine noise and I think you are aware of the strict criteria by which the Australian Research Council gives out grants and of the ethical guidelines as well, and Professor Hansen told this committee today that he could not get this basic information from wind turbine proponents. Mr Steven Cooper, in his evidence today, said that he could not get that information. One key part of this bill is for the release of the information that you already supply to regulators. Why can't that be public?
Mr Marsh : I think there are two separate issues. There is the issue about whether wind farm companies are prepared to allow their data to be made available to individuals. It is a separate question as to whether that information should be allowed into the public domain more broadly.
Senator XENOPHON: Well, why shouldn't it be?
Mr Marsh : To what end?
Senator XENOPHON: One of the great advocates of wind energy in this country is Professor Simon Chapman and, to his credit, today he said—and I do not want to misquote him—something along the lines that the release of information in a democracy, so that transparency, is very important. I commend him for saying that. What is wrong with adopting that approach by Professor Chapman, one of the great advocates of wind energy, in the context of this information being made publicly available so that Mr Cooper, Professor Hansen and other researchers are able to analyse that information?
Mr Marsh : I think you would say there are two different questions there. To what end is this information going into the public domain?
Senator XENOPHON: To ensure compliance.
Mr Marsh : Yes, but who is ensuring that they are complying?
Senator XENOPHON: Let me put it to you simply, Mr Marsh. If residents are complaining about the noise from a wind turbine or are seeking to lodge an objection to a proposed wind turbine application because they are concerned about potential noise impacts, surely the information that has already been provided to regulators would be a relevant factor in determining issues of either compliance prospectively or of whether there have been any breaches of the regulations in the context of a particular development's operations.
Mr Marsh : Given that the regulator gets the information as part of the compliance program, I am not quite sure why the information needs to be put out more broadly.
Senator XENOPHON: So you are saying as long as the regulator gets it you do not need to give it to anyone else?
Mr Marsh : We would say this information goes to the regulator as part of the compliance program.
Senator XENOPHON: So if a resident is complaining about a particular development, you are saying that that resident or the acoustician representing that resident or the scientist giving advice to that resident by providing an expert report should not have access to that—because that is what has happened to Professor Hansen. He is trying to get that, not for residents as such but for an Australian Research Council grant funded project. He has been told point blank he cannot get it—and he will provide us with the email thread in relation to that, as I understand it.
Mr Marsh : I think they are two separate questions about whether individuals can get them and whether they can get them from the regulator's website.
Senator XENOPHON: So you do not think they should? Can I ask all of you this: do you think that individuals should not get this information that relates directly to issues of compliance?
Mr Upson : Senator, I would like to have a go at this.
Senator XENOPHON: Please do.
Mr Upson : This morning Steven Cooper stated very clearly that there is no way that you could determine whether a wind farm is compliant with its conditions without having the hub-high windspeed data. Is that true?
Senator XENOPHON: Mr Cooper is in the room and he has nodded his head. I think that is the case, yes.
Mr Upson : That is kind of interesting because—from his report entitled Peer Review of Acoustic Assessment: Flyers Creek Wind Farm—he actually did some noise monitoring at our Capital Wind Farm. On page 34 of the report he makes a statement that the result of testing at house G13 'found the Capital Wind Farm is generating noise above that permitted on the consent'. Obviously, we do not agree with that statement. But here he is stating in his report that he can judge that the Capital Wind Farm was over its noise limit and yet he did not have access to the data. So either his statement this morning was incorrect—
Senator XENOPHON: I do not know whether this will help you, but I had a short conversation with Mr Cooper only a few minutes ago and if I misquote him I am sure I will get a signal otherwise. My understanding in relation to the Capital Wind Farm is that he actually had to go through a freedom of information request, a laborious and torturous process, to get that information. He is nodding his head so that is the case.
Mr Upson : He did not have—
Senator XENOPHON: They had to fight tooth and nail to get that information.
Mr Upson : The point is that he has determined that the Capital Wind Farm is over its noise level without having that information.
Senator XENOPHON: No, no. He got the information—sorry, you may not have heard me, but my understanding is that that information was only obtained after a laborious and lengthy freedom of information process.
Mr Upson : I will take that on notice. But I do not believe he got the information by the time the report—
Senator XENOPHON: Can I quickly put some questions on notice. The Pyrenees council cannot get hold of the compliance reports. Could any of you comment on that in terms of the evidence they gave about a basic principle. Finally, can I ask any of you—and, Mr Upson, I would welcome your input as well—what do you consider is excessive noise?
Mr McGilp : I will answer the first one because it relates to the compliance testing report for one of our wind farms, the Waubra Wind Farm, the regulator of which is the DPCD. We have been dealing with the DPCD. If the Pyrenees shire needs to contact DPCD about this, then that would be the appropriate channel for them to go through.
Ms Francis : DPCD is the Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development, which has responsibility for planning laws in Victoria.
Senator XENOPHON: What is excessive noise? Can anyone help me here? What do you define as 'excessive noise' and where in any of the regulations around the country is excessive noise defined? I am very happy for that to be taken on notice, because I am conscious the chair has given me a fair go. I am just concerned about time constraints.
CHAIR: If you could take that on notice, unless you can answer it very quickly.
Mr Upson : Excessive noise, by definition, is a noise above what the state noise limits are. If you are over that limit, then it is excessive. It is simple enough.
By the way, I just received an email from someone else in my company stating that Mr Cooper did not receive the hub height wind data before he wrote this report. So he made a determination that our wind farm was over its noise limit without having this data.
CHAIR: One way or another, that will be a matter of public record. If you could perhaps provide more details on that, because it is now a matter before the committee as to why you say that, that would be helpful.
Senator BACK: I listened very carefully in previous Senate inquiries which I have either chaired or been involved in recently. We have addressed ourselves to aircraft noise in the vicinity of airports around Australia and this information is readily available. In fact, it is available online and I think in most instances in near to real time, not always with the overwhelming support of some of those who have an area of responsibility. But my observation has been that, when that information has been available to the wider community, it has added immeasurably to the level of confidence in the wider community in the areas that Airservices Australia and others deal with. Mr McGilp, you might be kind enough to lead off or Mr Marsh, but I am just intrigued as to why there is this level of secrecy for members of the public in general but particularly as to why somebody, who is engaged in what would be peer reviewed research, funded by the Australian taxpayer, cannot get information of the nature that they would need to actually end up with results that should be helpful to everybody. Could you explain to me where I am failing to understand that circumstance?
Mr McGilp : I will have a go at answering that. As part of our planning permission conditions, a requirement is to get an independent and appropriate acoustic technician to undertake the compliance testing. Therefore, I would assume that that person should be able to provide an adequate assessment of whether compliance is being achieved.
Mr Marsh : I am not aware of the request Colin Hansen has made of the companies and what response he got, so I am unable to comment.
Senator BACK: But, even with regard to the information sought by legitimate researchers funded by the Australian government, wouldn't it be in the interests of your industry to bend over backwards to assist those sorts of people to provide what you would regard as relevant and defensible information so that it can find its way into peer reviewed research and its results and outcomes?
Mr McGilp : I think it is a balance between bending over backwards for everyone's requirements and providing information to legitimate organisations. For legitimate organisations trying to understand it, I think it seems like an appropriate thing.
Senator BACK: Even in the evidence you have presented to this panel this afternoon, you have spoken about whether you do or do not have faith in international research. Here we have a circumstance in Australia where somebody is actually in a position funded to do this work. I ask you again: is it not in everybody's interests for assistance to be given at the highest level and in fact your own technical people to actually provide that data? Is that not something that would be seen as valuable?
CHAIR: Senator Back, I understand what has been put, that if it is a legitimate organisation seeking access to the information that would be fair enough. I do not know of any other industry in the country who would be subject to what you are putting forward.
Senator BACK: I have just mentioned aircraft and aircraft noise around major airports, Chairman, as a prime example.
CHAIR: Who are required to provide that to any individual?
Senator BACK: Absolutely—it is there in real time or near real time on the net for everyone to see.
CHAIR: I think it might be easier to measure that. I am not sure it is easy to measure that noise on a wind farm, given the technical arguments we have heard today, so that is another issue. But can I just say that I am equally of the view that there should be as much information available as possible. I think if it does not go out there will be another web campaign saying that there is a secret position being adopted by the wind industry. This is an industry that is very important for getting to our renewable energy target. It is an important industry for the future. I just do not agree with putting issues up that are unnecessary obligations or obligations that do not apply to other organisations in the country. If the argument is that legitimate organisations will get access then I think we can monitor that and see how that works out.
Senator BACK: Thanks, Chairman. Mr Upson, you were talking a few moments ago about excessive noise as being that defined above limits. Can you provide the committee now or on notice what you understand those limits to be above which noise would be regarded as excessive?
Mr Upson : It is actually quite straightforward. In New South Wales it is the greater of 35 decibels or five decibels above the background. In terms of the states, there are a few technicalities but basically in South Australia and Victoria it is the same, at 40 decibels or background plus five decibels. The definition is 'excessive noise': if you are over the planning requirement, then it is excessive
Senator BACK: This question picks up on the chairman's comments and the observation I made about aircraft noise. You asked why members of the public should be entitled to this information. Can I put to you the view that the funding of many of these projects does attract a high degree of taxpayer grant funding through renewable energy certificates. Would you not agree that, based on that level of financial grant support from the taxpaying community, those people should be entitled to receive this information in much the same way as it is for airports and aircraft noise?
Mr Marsh : It is fair to say that there is a level of support from electricity consumers that goes into renewable energy. But I would note that it is not actually money that goes straight from the government's coffers into the wind energy industry. It comes out of a charge on the electricity bills.
Senator BACK: But renewable energy certificates are grants, not out of the government's coffers. They are taxpayers' moneys.
Mr Marsh : Sure. It is not a grant. The renewable energy certificates are not grants. I would be interested to know whether that happens in any other industry that gets the kind of support that the renewable energy industry receives and whether they are then required to disclose information publicly as a result of getting that support.
CHAIR: I am looking at the real-time decibels from the airline industry, which look pretty good. Would there be huge technical problems in being able to supply the decibel output? I am aware that some people have argued here today that it is not the decibel output that is the issue; that it is the infrasound that is the problem. So is there any point in putting the decibels up?
Mr Marsh : I cannot answer that question but I am happy to take it on notice and have a discussion with our members around that issue.
Mr McGilp : It is very technical and difficult to separate background noise from wind farm noise. You cannot just measure the noise in the environment and assume that it is all from the wind farm. It is a very difficult thing to do.
CHAIR: Is it correct that your companies all operate internationally?
Mr Marsh : That is correct.
CHAIR: In Europe do you have a similar problem to this where there are arguments about the health issues?
Mr Marsh : I do not have a huge amount of experience in working overseas, but my understanding is that we do not have anywhere near the problem that we have here.
Ms Francis : I can speak from our international perspective. We tend to find that this issue seems to be contained to Anglo countries. In Canada, the US, the UK and continental Europe we do not see these issues. I guess Acciona can speak from the experience of operating both in continental Europe as well as in English speaking Anglo countries.
CHAIR: Have you done any studies into why this is the case?
Ms Francis : I believe Simon Chapman might have spoken about that earlier today during his session. Is that right? He is read quite extensively on this and I would be happy to submit material to the committee around this.
CHAIR: It would be good if you could take that on notice, because it is quite important. Do the operating companies believe that, if there is even a psychological effect, there should be some way of trying to deal with it?
Mr McGilp : We operate at the wind farm sites for 25 years and we are part of the community there. Where there is psychological or whatever we think it needs to be addressed and find where the problem is coming from, I guess.
CHAIR: I suppose if this is not addressed—and I am sort of posing the question—you are going to continue to have campaigns against your corporations and you are going to continue to have problems. My question to you is: what steps do you intend to take to try to deal with some of the issues that have been raised here, other than legislative issues?
Mr McGilp : Our community consultation process is becoming more in depth at each of the new projects that we go to to educate the local community. That is the initial step that we are taking at this stage. It is very hard to solve the problem across the entire country but, on a project-by-project basis, we are attempting to consult with community in a greater and better fashion.
Mr Marsh : We are working with our members to try to ensure that we have a baseline level regarding community engagement to ensure that the developers are doing the right thing in terms of talking to the communities where wind farms are going to be located and making sure that they are doing as much as they can to address some of the issues that those local people will have around the development of wind farms.
CHAIR: As we have run out of time, that concludes the evidence from this group. I would like to thank you for coming along. I would also like to thank all the witnesses who have given evidence. I thank Hansard, Broadcasting and the secretariat.
Committee adjourned at 15:59