Living Beside a Wind Generator (22.7)


Windmill & solar panels at Ensay
Windmill & solar panels at Ensay

Initially my house up the bush was powered by wind and wind remained its major source of power for many years.  The reconditioned 300w wind-light generator resurrected from a farm by Tony Stephenson of Going Solar was installed in 1982.  To minimise power loss the generator tower was built as close to the house as possible – uphill and about 15 metres away. Aside from manually turning the blade off and on – the former when there was too much wind and the batteries were fully charged – there was minimal work involved.

Two small solar panels were added to the system in 1986. Due to major maintenance requirements after 18 years operation wind was replaced by 500w of solar panels. Since decommissioning (about 2000) the windmill blade has been turned off.Now aged 70 my knees have gone – probably from either from living too close to the turbine or from having to climb the 30 foot tower once a year for the generator’s annual inspection. With all this experience of living right next to a wind powered system and such obvious health affects I wonder why I wasn’t called before the Senate Wind Inquiry?

Unfortunately the spinning and invisible blade at high speeds also killed the occasional magpie. The mortality rate of the magpies – about 1 every 2 years was about the same as those for birds flying into the windows of the house. This affected a range of species including some smaller varieties. Perhaps windows should be banned too?

Overall though I remain a wind fan at heart. These wind-generators – of which our PM and Treasurer are so enamoured – are the real threat to local coal fired polluters.