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Australia — Wind farm lobbyists deny more rules are needed

Nick Perry — The Australian — November 14, 2012

WIND farms don’t need further rules about noise levels because the existing regulations are among the toughest in the world, a Senate hearing has been told.

An inquiry on Wednesday examined a Senate bill seeking to refuse certification to wind farms that exceed normal background noise by more than 10 decibels.

Advocates for the legislation told the hearing that low-frequency noise generated by turbines could have negative health consequences on people living near wind farms.

But representatives from the wind farm industry say the bill, introduced by independent senator Nick Xenophon and Democratic Labor Party senator John Madigan, is unnecessary and would just add extra costs and push up power prices.

“The jurisdictions around Australia … have some of the most stringent noise requirements for wind farms anywhere in the world,” Vestas Wind Systems director Ken McAlpine said.

“We are happy to comply with those, and we do every day.”

He objected to the term “excessive noise” used in the bill, saying it implied the state rules currently in place weren’t satisfactory.

The senators pushing for change had not made a case for why strengthening the commonwealth regulator as proposed by the bill would do a better job.

The bill would give the Clean Energy Regulator power to ensure accredited wind farms don’t create excessive noise within 30 metres of people’s homes, workplaces or meeting spots.

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