Denmark is the world’s largest exporter of wind turbines

Wind mills for agricultural purposes have been popular in Denmark for centuries. But in the wake of the alleged “oil crisis” in 1973 a small firm in North West Jutland commenced the development of wind turbines for the production of electricity. For several years they produced 1 – 10 kW of electricity which was used primarily on local farms, often without any grid connection. This turned out to be a success. The first 1 MW and 2MW wind turbines were not erected until 1996/97 and these have become more popular in the years since 1998, with 80 erected so far in 2014 alone. Today there are about 119 2MW active onshore wind turbines, still in operation. The first onshore 3 MW turbines were erected in 2002. Now there are about 119 of them, of which 5 were built in 2014. A 4MW turbine was also erected in 2014 and a 6MW turbine was erected in 2012, only to be decommissioned in 2013. In Denmark, wind “parks” or “farms” are typically small groups of three to four turbines. The biggest onshore wind farm, currently in planning, will have 22 wind turbines of 2.3MW capacity. Overall there are about 5 230 active on- and offshore wind turbines in Denmark. Of these about 4.730 are onshore and about 500 are offshore (Figure 1). The same register notes about 2 660 decommissioned turbines since 1977. However in 2013 about 10 wind tubines (> 1 MW) erected since about 2011 have already been decommissioned.

As can be seen from Figure 4, most of the wind turbines manufactured in Denmark are actually exported.  Vestas alone has installed 318 GW (roughly 100 000 – 150 000 wind turbines) world wide.  Wind turbines exported from Denmark do not undergo rigorous testing procedures.

The following figures are from a report from the Danish Energy Agency.

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Hav = off-shore, Land = on-shore

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Note; 45 billion DKK is about 8 billion US dollars or 6 billion Euros.

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As can be seen Vestas and Siemens (DK) are dominant players in the production of wind turbines both at national and international levels and they have been able to influence politics and lawmaking, not only in Denmark but also worldwide. The leading wind turbine producers have had close and well-coordinated cooperation with Governments internationally strongly influenced by their positive experiences in Denmark in this regard. Furthermore there has been massive public financial support to university research and development of wind turbine technology and the public pay very favorable economic support (subsidies) to wind energy developers in Denmark. All of this has been copied by other countries as have the inadequate “safety” rules, which in other countries have been further diluted by poor regulation and the help of well-heeled lobbyists and ambitious developers. The involvement of local communities and information about health and safety risks has in many cases been modest or non-existent. These failings in Denmark have been detrimental to local communities living in the vicinity of wind turbines, passers-by, service personnel and nature.

The Danish wind industry and their assertions about wind turbine generated energy/electricity

The Danish experience of wind energy prompted the wind industry to speak of wind turbines as “green” and producing “renewable” energy at favorable prices during the early nineties. They promised to save planet Earth from alleged overheating, by reducing the human production of greenhouse gasses (CO2) and keep the air free of i.a. dust and NOx. The industry asserted that turbines were not harmful to nature or human health and safety and the noise they emitted was compared to that of a refrigerator. It was not even comparable to industrial or traffic noise according to the industry. New workplaces were promised. Plans were made, especially in Denmark, for substantial investment in the manufacture of wind turbines. Plans are afoot in Denmark for a fossil-free energy sector by 2050. Similar ideas germinated all over the world.

However, the promised reduction of CO2 by wind energy has proven to be a myth – although this has never been documented by wind turbine producers, wind energy developers nor governments. In Denmark the proportion of wind derived electricity is high and still growing. However, the amount of manmade CO2 – produced in this country increased by 7 % from 2010 to 2013. In this regard, Denmark is the EU’s leading nation when it comes to increasing amounts of CO2 emissions.  This is a consequence of the intermittent and capricious nature of wind which is incapable of satisfying society’s requirements for a constant and reliable electricity supply. Figures from Germany (nothing is available from DK) show that the production of wind derived electricity fluctuates between 0.02 and 40 % even during short periods of time. A doubling of the wind speed triples the amount electricity produced to the grid. This forces traditional electricity power plants to regulate their electricity production to match the amounts produced or not produced by wind turbines. This causes very high CO2-emissions and wear of machinery. Increasing the amount of wind-derived electricity on the grid substantially increases the risk of black-outs.

Despite this, billions and billions of public money have been poured into the speculators’ boundless pockets.

Wind energy is NOT “green” or “renewable”. This is, as mentioned previously, due to the unpredictable nature of wind. In a matter of hours and in some cases, minutes, wind intensity and speed can fluctuate wildly.  Calm, windless conditions can prevail for more than 24 hours at a time. In this situation, which the wind industry NEVER mentions, fossil electricity production must immediately be at hand to hinder disastrous and costly black outs in large areas. See: http://www.atinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Hidden-Cost.pdf  (“The Hidden Costs of Wind Electricity; Why the full cost of wind generation is unlikely to match the cost of natural gas, coal or nuclear generation”, 2012, by George Taylor). Governments considering investing in wind should remember the widespread blackouts in India in 2012, affecting some 600 million people over two days.

The link below provides an updated calculation of the amount of CO2  produced during wind turbine manufacture, but this does not include the considerable amount of CO2 produced during manufacture of cables and other  necessities all paid for by taxpayers:

See:  http://stopthesethings.com/2014/08/16/how-much-co2-gets-emitted-to-build-a-wind-turbine/

Adverse health effect on humans are documented

As far back as the 1980’s, the US Department of Energy and NASA documented the adverse health effects that wind turbines cause to those living nearby (Kelley et al.). This research was carried out with experimental wind turbines, vastly larger than any commercially produced wind turbines at that time. See: http://waubrafoundation.org.au/resources/kelley-et-al-1985-acoustic-noise-associated-with-mod-1-wind-turbine/ and https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2013/11/25/judge-rules-wind-turbines-cause-irreparable-harm-to-human-health/ All the reports from the US have been publicly available since the 1980’s, but have been conveniently “forgotten” by the wind industry and Governments worldwide. See several other more recent references in:http://waubrafoundation.org.au/about/explicit-cautionary-notice/ .

Accidents and injuries

An often overlooked health and safety issue with regard to wind turbines are the numerous, sometimes fatal, accidents and injuries in the service and maintenance of the turbines.  See this link to statistics, which only represents the tip of the iceberg where turbine accidents are concerned: http://www.caithnesswindfarms.co.uk/fullaccidents.pdf

This link describes about 1 500 accidents/injuries, several lethal.  Research shows that the wind industry is one of the most dangerous and risky sectors in industry today, with considerable weaknesses in security measures apparent. In Denmark, records of these frequent turbine accidents are not kept, either by the authorities or by anyone else.  Both Sweden and Ireland have raised questions in the European Parliament and in the EU Commission as to why the EU member countries do not follow the EU Machinery Directive in their national rules.  Irish questions on this issue are expected to be presented in the European Parliament in September 2014. Wind turbines are explicitly defined as machines in the EU Machinery Directive and MUST follow the MD requirements (see Articles 4, 11, both of which include people living in the vicinity of turbines, and Article 16 which deals with the CE-mark). These and other rules require wind turbines to be surveillance objects by national authorities and require complaints to be registered and followed up. This does not happen in practice.

The EU Machinery Directive

In 1989 the EU adopted the first Machinery Directive (MD) (see: http://www.neenar.com/europaenhancer/Enhancer.pl?ojref=CELEX:31989L0392:EN:HTML&ojpdf=OJ:L:1989:183:0009:0032:EN:PDF&format where wind turbines are defined as “machines” (Article 1) and where the last version, in 2006, guarantees the health and safety of “persons” in Articles 4 and 11.  This definition of “persons” includes wind turbine neighbours and passers-by. Machines, including wind turbines, may not be erected or exported without a CE marking (Article 16) and a producer-documented declaration that the machine is safe and does not pose a threat to human beings, livestock or to property. This must be controlled and monitored by the competent authorities. Complaints from neighbours must be followed up with surveillance programs and there is an obligation on authorities to report all health and safety issues to the Commission.  This has not been done in Denmark and other Nordic countries since 1989 and I am not aware of any country where it has been done.

The Danish wind turbine noise statutory orders since 1991

The wind turbine industry alleged that the noise from wind turbines was innocuous like refrigerator-noise or a distant lorry. Since 1991, the wind industry and the environmental authorities in Denmark have maintained that the increasing body of research concerning the adverse health effects of noise, (i.a. produced by WHO), was not applicable to wind turbines.  Therefore, wind turbine noise in this country was not subject to the general orders for industrial and traffic noise. A separate statutory order was established that allowed wind turbine noise during evenings and nights without noise reduction compared with day time limits. So instead of implementing the EU Machinery Directive in 1989, Denmark rapidly produced a separate statutory order in 1991 for wind turbines, incompletely implementing the EU treaty, directives etc. The Order has since been reviewed on a number of occasions to adapt to the ever increasing height and emissions (including ILFN) of commercial wind turbines.  The last version of the Order is now in force since January 1st, 2012.

The Danish “safety” noise rules and distance requirements, only based on engineer measuring and calculations, are far from safe, as documented by the Acoustic Department at Aalborg University, Denmark and several others – see the references mentioned in section B. The internationally renowned acoustician, Professor Henrik Møller, was fired from his job in 2014 because he told the truth about wind turbine noise (see:

http://waubrafoundation.org.au/2014/was-professor-moller-fired-because-he-told-truth-about-wind-turbine-low-frequency-noise/ .

The then Vestas CEO, Ditlev Engel, in a letter of June 29th 2014, categorically demanded the then Minister of the Environment, Karen Ellemann, not to change the rules, because this could threaten the Danish wind turbine export industry. See:http://waubrafoundation.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Engel-Ditlev-Vestas-Letter-to-Danish-Environment-Minister-in-English.pdf  Note, in particular, the final sentence in this letter.

Not a single medically trained person or specialist has ever been involved in the definition of safety noise levels and setback distance rules – unheard of in relation to limits in other areas where health damage is possible in the long or short term.  Furthermore risk groups in the population have not been identified.

The Danish order demands that measurements are done with noise meters with an A-filter that effectively filters out noise energy from ca. 500 Hz downwards and therefore low-frequency noise is never measured (say less than 20 Hz down to 0.1 Hz)  in spite of the US research referred to earlier. Measurement of noise inside dwellings is illegal in Denmark (deemed null and void in court) and only obscure calculations with PCs, where neighbours have no access to the programs, are accepted as evidence. Only wind speeds at 6 or 8 m/s may be measured even though it is well known that higher wind speeds make more noise. But affected neighbours have described their noise experiences during the night like a jet-engine that constantly hovers over them. Privately conducted measurements by experienced technicians in several cases showed that the indoor noise in the low frequency threshold value of 20 dB in several instances was greatly exceeded.

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Conclusion

This article documents just some examples from Denmark which show how explicit rules and laws, national as well as EU and international laws, are not complied with. The relevant authorities are negligent, centrally as well as in local communities, and complaints from neighbours are dismissed. It is possible that the Danish way of developing wind turbines, their safety precautions, the way of organizing the compensation systems, marketing and lobbyism have been replicated in several other countries worldwide through close cooperation between the leading wind turbine producers and Governments. This has probably never been delved into by the relevant competition authorities in single nations, EU or elsewhere. The close cooperation between state authorities and wind turbine producers and developers is in dire need of scrutiny.

The consequence of all this worldwide is that thousands of wind turbine neighbours have become ill and have been forced to leave their homes, which then become impossible to sell, leaving families in deep economic misery. It is not only humans who suffer.  Losses have also been documented in livestock, wild animals and the surrounding environment, not to mention the cultural and recreational losses precipitated by massive wind turbines being erected far too close to human housing. Only a handful of people earn fortunes from wind developments while the majority suffer adverse health effects and reduced quality of life. Meanwhile, all electricity users pay exorbitant prices for wind-derived electricity.  The biggest scam in centuries.

Mauri Johansson

Denmark

The figures (except the last) from: Danish Energy Agency, Report May 24th, 2011 (“Vindmølleindustrien som historisk flagskib”  – “The Wind Turbine Industry as a historical Flagship”).