A research officer at one of Australia’s biggest wind energy producers says “wind turbine syndrome” is a normal human reaction.
Ketan Joshi, a research and communications officer at Infigen, believes it’s not fair to label people who experience technology-related health issues deluded or irrational.
In fact, the opposite is true, he says, because human brains are geared to respond that way to technological change. Mr Joshi compared wind syndrome with illnesses related to wi-fi and electricity smart-meters – which have almost identical symptoms but not the same level of financially-motivated opposition.
It’s all about perceived risk, which doesn’t always reflect the actual danger, he says.
Mr Joshi uses the example of cars, which are perceived as less dangerous than plane travel, despite many more deaths occurring on the roads.
However, that perceived risk could increase when driverless cars are introduced and people start letting computers control their vehicles.
That’s led him to what he believes is a solution when it comes to wind turbines.
Community engagement and ownership schemes were key to reducing fear of wind-related health issues.
“People react badly when they’re left out of changes to their environment,” he said.