I often wonder how many people who oppose wind turbines own a cat.
Yes, wind turbines do kill birds but do so in far less numbers than cats.
An article in The Conversation, June 16, 2017, written by Simon Chapman, Emeritus Professor in Public Health, University of Sydney, suggests that there are many other causes of bird deaths and that wind turbines are but one small contributor to bird mortality.
He reports that in one Spanish study, 595 dead birds were found round 252 wind turbines over a three-year period, with birds of prey the highest causalities.
He also reported from the Canadian – Journal Avian Conservation and Ecology, which look at human-related bird deaths and concluded from the data that domestic cats killed 54,880,000 birds each year or one in 3.4 of total bird deaths and feral cats one in 2.3, power line collisions caused one in 11.1 deaths, whereas turbines are one in 1.33.
So, I think that shearwaters have more to worry about than one little turbine.
It would be interesting to see any bird death data for the local wind farms installed about the region.
So, I would suggest that the bird argument not to build the domestic wind turbine on Phillip Island is weak and emotive.
But the planning argument is more interesting. The proponent installing the wind turbine to produce domestic power is reported to operate a business selling and installing alternative power systems including wind and solar systems.
If any image of his own domestic turbine was to appear in future marketing literature issued by his business, and if the supply and installation costs were written off as a business expense, then is the domestic wind turbine still for domestic use only or is it a promotional aid the business and therefore a commercial installation? I don’t know, but it is a thought.
Another thought is whether the actual wind turbine structure is part of the general definition of an auxiliary structure to a domestic dwelling.
If so, then did the Bass Coast Shire building department look at this structure in terms of meeting the building codes, or look at it at all?
I would certainly want to see validation of the engineering design and the computations.
Unfortunately, domestic wind turbines are not covered by Work Safe Victoria nor are they reportable plant under the Health and Safety Act – which is a joke.
A 6kw to 12kw horizontal wind turbine has a lot of rotational inertia and needs to be treated with respect and not some assurance from the proponent that the design is great and meets all criteria, whatever they may be.
While the state government has no planning guidelines for domestic wind turbines, they do have guidelines for small wind farms using small turbines to generate commercial electricity.
Several Victorian councils and shires have planning requirements for domestic wind turbines and treat them as a wind farm of one unit.
Actually, I hope the unit is built. It would be interesting to see how it performs and what actual impediment it would be to birds. But the issue does show that the Bass Coast Shire is again not ahead of the game.
Rod Gallagher, Inverloch.