A battle over whether to place wind turbines within sight of France’s famous abbey, Mont-Saint-Michel, has touched off a dispute within the country’s environmental community over the visual impact of the alternative energy source.
A coalition of local and national conservationists has opposed locating the wind turbines within view of the abbey on the Normandy coast, even though the windmills would be roughly 10 miles from Mont-Saint-Michel.
The groups say that the three, 300-foot windmills would be the beginning of an arc of 80 wind turbines rising along a ridgeline in the surrounding countryside, some of which could be seen from the abbey.
The Washington Post reports that one Paris-based group, the Durable Environmental Federation, is opposing on aesthetic grounds a proposal by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to expand the number of wind turbines in the country from 2,500 to 8,500 by 2020.
Some local environmentalists and many local farmers, on whose property the wind turbines would be located, back the construction of wind turbines.
More than 90 percent of France’s electricity comes from nuclear and hydroelectric power, and Sarkozy wants wind and solar to replace coal and oil as the source of the remaining 10 percent.
Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.
[photo credit: Flickr]