Danes, Wind Turbines, and “Infralydens Fjender” (“Enemies of Infrasound”)

Apr 30, 2012

The following commentary was written in response to “Wind Power Horror Serenade” (Denmark)the Editor.
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—Simon

Having lived in Denmark for several years as an expatriate, I know that it takes a lot before Danes protest against something that is generally viewed as “good” for their country.  Danish society is consensus-driven and trust-based.  Danes see themselves as a “tribe” rather than as a multi-faceted society where different opinions and views co-exist and conflicts are therefore inevitable.

If some Danes take to drastic (and creative) measures like putting on a show about the horrors of wind power, you can be sure they have been pushed to the limit.

When Danes say “enough is enough,” they mean it.

Danes are tough people and they are not easily fooled.  They know a scam when they see one.  When Danes are taking to the streets to protest against a stupid idea, you had better pay attention, as they are usually right.

Faux (false) EURO currency?  Nope, the Danes were smart and stuck with their Kroners.  Investment Bubble?  The Danes have resisted the temptation of quick profits and now have a low 5% unemployment rate.  Compare this with 25% in Spain, where low interest rates and tax breaks resulted in impressive growth figures for a few years, but not much else.

Speaking of Spain, the EU paid for some wind “parks” there to “develop” the country.  When funding petered out, local governments couldn’t afford the maintenance and the turbines are now starting to fall apart.  So much for that “cheap” energy source myth.

Why, then, did those savvy Danes allow so many wind parks to be built in the first place?

There are several reasons, all connected to the way Danish society works.  Danes do (did) trust their government; they truly believe that decisions made by the administration in Copenhagen are in their best interest and, usually, they are (were) right.  This fits with the Corruption Perception Index, according to which Denmark and New Zealand are the countries wherein corruption is least likely to happen.

At the same time, Danes are staunchly loyal to Danish brands and companies, again leading international rankings.  (There used to be an agency in NYC that published those figures annually.)  This behaviour is based on the traditional belief that “Danes don’t betray Danes”—a cornerstone of Danish society.

Now there is Vestas Wind Systems, based in Randers, Denmark—the world’s biggest manufacturer of IWTs (Industrial Wind Turbines).  Surely Vestas wouldn’t build something that’s bad for people!  Especially, as DELTA Dansk Elektronik confirmed in their study, EFP-06, that IWTs don’t emit any low frequency noise worth mentioning.  (Strange, though, that they withheld acoustic data recorded in homes near wind parks, from independent noise engineers.)

Can you see the conflict?  Opposing Vestas and the government in their plans to install IWTs has been “un-Danish” in the past.  Even if you had reservations, you didn’t speak up.  ”If it comes from Denmark, it is good for us Danes,” was the common belief.

That’s why wind developers met almost no resistance in the past.

Obviously, this is now changing.  Denmark is already suffering from widespread low frequency “noise pollution” because of a de-centralized system of “micro-power stations.”  It is so bad in some areas that Denmark was the first country to form a society against ILFN (Infrasound and Low Frequency Noise) pollution, called “Infralydens Fjender” (Enemies of the Infrasound).

Hence, when Danes realized that IWTs also emit infrasound at high levels, by golly they took action—at least the ones who were fed up with being brain-washed by Vestas and the government.

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Editor’s note:  See the following letter from the Infralydens Fjender group to the Danish Prime Minister.  (Click here for a lousy English translation.  Lousy, yes, nevertheless it gives you a good idea of what’s going on.)

 

  1. Comment by Dr Sarah Laurie on 04/30/2012 at 6:32 pm

    Dear Simon,

    Thank you for your informative piece, letter dated 2002, and the background information, dating back to the 1990′s. So much for there being “no problems in Europe,” as claimed by the wind industry in Australia repeatedly (see the following piece to view a panel of them on TV in Australia giving testimony at the Australian Federal Senate Inquiry into the effect of wind turbines: http://www.melbournepressclub.com/quills/2011/best-regional-or-rural-affairs-report-any-medium/cheryl-hall_730-report-abc)

    The betrayal of this trust which VESTAS Corporate leaders have shown by their behaviour, towards trusting Danish citizens, and indeed citizens of the world by the export of this technology to be sited in areas where it was inevitable that human health would be harmed, is truly shameful—or worse. The complicity of governments, in particular the EPA and health authorities, who have clearly been advised repeatedly that people’s health is being harmed and have both ignored those pleas for help AND not investigated further, is truly appalling, and is on a global scale and continues.

    Comments made in the letter by Vesta’s CEO Ditlev Engel to the then Danish Minister for the Environment, in July last year, which resulted in the lowering of new protective standards for low frequency noise emissions from wind turbines in Denmark, would lead a reasonable person to suspect that VESTAS know only too well that low frequency noise is harmful for some people, and that VESTAS profits (couched in that letter as concern for Danish jobs) come before citizen’s health. (see http://www.epaw.org/media.php?lang=en&article=pr6 for more information, and the link to the English translation of the letter). The date of 2002 in the letter mentioned above, and the dates of the press articles mentioned would suggest that this problem of low frequency noise has been known about for a very long time, in the public arena, in Denmark.

    Yet employees of VESTAS elsewhere in the world have recommended to government planning inquiries, that low frequency noise should not even be measured… (see the article on “gutsy doc” recently on this website).

    The eyes of many interested parties in Australia will be on what happens at AGL’s Macarthur wind development in south western Victoria, where large 3MW VESTAS turbines are currently being installed, yet again in close proximity to homes and farms. Prince Frederick of Denmark himself visited, and told the assembled Australian press that he didn’t know what the fuss was about with wind turbines in Australia. Clearly his briefing from VESTAS omitted certain crucial details about the impact of their turbines elsewhere in the world, which VESTAS is well aware of, and indeed elsewhere in Australia, just over the border in South Australia, at a small rural town called Waterloo.

    We are now aware of the disaster unfolding for the residents living near the Waterloo Wind Development, formerly owned by Roaring 40′s, now owned by TRU energy, and yet again, VESTAS 3MW wind turbines feature. A once pristine and cohesive farming and rural community, now incredibly damaged, as described in the following article: http://www.wind-watch.org/news/2012/04/20/where-eagles-dare-not-fly-waterloo-looms-as-wind-farms-power-town-revolt/. An article relating to the summary of an Adelaide university’s masters student’s findings from his study of the impact of the wind turbine noise at Waterloo can be found at the following weblink: http://www.wind-watch.org/documents/evaluation-of-wind-farm-noise-policies-in-south-australia/. Unfortunately, no one is now able to get hold of the briefing summary itself, or the masters dissertation, including those residents who participated in the study. The student was awarded his master’s degree….

  2. Comment by Marie Burton on 05/06/2012 at 10:55 pm

    I agree with the Danes that wind turbines are not what they are purported to be and are industrial, not “windmills,” as a lot of people seem to think. They need backup from some other source (e.g. coal/gas). They cause CO2 emissions with their construction of steel, copper, fibreglass, rare earth minerals, etc. The backup must be available 24/7 due to intermittent wind. They also leave tonnes and tonnes of concrete in the ground when they are no longer required and destroy the environment. Acousticians can prove that they emit infrasound and this is one of the biggest problems of industrial turbines. They are expensive and do very little in the supply of electricity as the total of the supply to the world is 0.06%. Most companies employ expensive lawyers and salesmen to promote wind energy at the expense of human health, fauna and marine life. Most exist because of governments giving them subsidies in any form with the taxpayer paying higher electricity prices and the subsidies. Human health should be the upmost consideration of governments.