Vestas leads campaign to fight anti-wind groups

AUSTRALIA: Vestas is joining forces with environmental groups in a campaign to counter misinformation spread by anti-wind power activists.

The Act on Facts site forms a central part of the campaign
The Act on Facts site forms a central part of the campaign

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The campaign will be launched in Melbourne, Australia, on 18 June and will expand into other countries, including the UK and Canada, later in the year.

Australia was chosen for the launch because the anti-wind groups there have proved particularly successful in whipping up opposition to wind power development.

Speaking about the campaign to Windpower Monthly, Vestas senior vice president Morten Albaek said a lack of action from the wind industry had led Vestas to take a lead on the campaign.

He said: "On a global level the wind industry has been way too conservative and defensive, and lacking  innovation in communications to drive back against the anti-wind movement."

Currently Vestas has a website 'Act on Facts' and will follow up with further initiatives in the coming weeks. Albaek said the company was unable to confirm plans for although it will revolve around social networking and digital comms. He said the campaign had cost EUR 120,000 to set up.

He added: "By our own analysis, 1.7GW of projects in Australia have been delayed by the anti-wind movement. So we are doing this campaign with our customers to protect both their business and ours."

Simon Chapman, professor of public health at the University of Sydney, has been compiling a list of the human and animal health problems that wind farm opponents claim are caused by exposure to turbines. They range from asthma and herpes to bowel cancer and brain tumours. At the last count, there were 216 ailments on the list.

"Old Testament accounts of pestilences and plagues seem mild compared to the effects of wind turbines," notes Chapman drily. He points out that the incidences of sickness are far more numerous in communities where anti-wind power lobbyists have been active.

Greenpeace and Environment Victoria are among the environmental groups joining forces with Vestas. Other wind turbine makers are also believed to be involved.

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