Tonight I speak about corruption and fraud in the power generation industry.
The Senate Wind Turbine Inquiry’s final report made 15 important recommendations. Today, I rise to speak in support the Labor senators’ Dissenting report’s fifth recommendation:
that state and territory government consider reforming the current system whereby windfarm developers directly retain acoustic consultants to provide advice on post-construction compliance.
Avoiding noise from wind turbines is an expensive bother that does not hold any appeal to windfarm operators. Slowing down turbines increases costs and slows down profits.
So I was not surprised to learn that in the seven years of its controversial operation, the adjustments necessary to ensure Cape Bridgewater Windfarm operated in compliance with its planning permit have never been applied.
Mr President, wind farm operators have found a far less expensive and simple process to game the system. They employ compliant “experts.”
In 2006, Marshall Day Acoustics with consultant Christophe Delaire prepared a pre-construction Noise Impact Assessment for the Cape Bridgewater Windfarm.
The report predicted that compliance could not be achieved at Cape Bridgewater windfarm without operating 13 of 29 wind turbines in reduced operational noise modes.
Before it was even built, developers knew this windfarm would operate in breach of permit unless adjustments were made.
But Delaire told the committee of inquiry:
following measurements on site, it was found that noise optimisation was not required.
How did Delaire’s “expert” pre-construction and post construction reports come to draw such contrasting conclusions?
The answer is simple. Pacific Hydro didn’t noise optimise turbines at Cape Bridgewater because they knew they wouldn’t have to! They only had to commission a post-construction noise report to say the windfarm was compliant.