Dr-Daniel-ShepherdDr. Daniel Shepherd received his PhD in psychoacoustics and is a Senior Lecturer at the Auckland University of Technology. He performed a study on the Makara Valley wind farm in New Zealand. It had a very small sample size of 39 participants, and a non-equivalent control group that found no self-reported variance in health or illness. Nonetheless, Shepherd asserted that setbacks of wind farms greater than two kilometers (1.2 miles) were required in hilly terrain. As with others on this list, he is a member of the Society for Wind Vigilance.

Shepherd has been granted expert witness status at several hearings in Canada and New Zealand. However, his testimony did not convince the review bodies that wind farms caused health problems, that setbacks should be changed, or that acoustics standards were inadequate. 

And in 2011, he testified at a New Zealand Environment Court hearing for the Hurunui wind farm in Canterbury. Judge Melanie Harland, and Commissioners Marlene Oliver and Bruce Gollop wrote:

Dr. Shepherd referred to papers by Pierpont and Harry to support his theory that health effects can arise from turbine noise, but… Dr. Pierpont’s work in this area has been criticized and should not be considered reliable.

Shepherd tried again at an Ontario ERT pertaining to the Suncor’s Chatham Kent wind farm in 2013. According to the Tribunal, Dr. Kenneth Mundt, based on his 5 years of application of epidemiological concepts to potential environmental harm, said:

Dr. Mundt asserted that Dr. Shepherd does not provide scientific evidence to support his claims regarding stress related health effects caused by noise induced sleep deficits and annoyance. He stated that many of the references that Dr. Shepherd includes in his report are not peer reviewed published scientific research. Further, the interpretation of the results cited by Dr. Shepherd is severely limited due to the methodological issues in the designs and methods used in conducting these studies… Dr. Mundt stated that Dr. Shepherd did not explain how he identified and assessed the literature for quality and comparability, and therefore, it cannot be determined whether his conclusions are based on a thorough review of the literature or only a few selected studies… Dr. Mundt questioned the data presented in Dr. Shepherd’s evidence, as he included no description of methodology for collecting or analyzing his data. Dr. Mundt stated that Dr. Shepherd fails to define “degradation of amenity” in his report and provides no scientific evidence to support his opinion that degradation of amenity at the Kent Breeze Wind Farms will cause serious adverse health effects.

Shepherd’s testimony did not convince the judge in the Tribunal that wind turbines cause health problems. 

Posted by Energy and Policy Institute