Wind Turbine Fight Splits French Environmentalists

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montstmichelA 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]

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  • Roger

    wind turbines will not replace coal and oil energy generation because the intermittent nature of wind . In fact the programme for wind power in France will increase CO2 emissions, as they have to be coupled with oil/gas or coal fired power stations, which are capable of quickly producing electricity when the wind drops. There are at present many projects for wind turbines in areas of France with no real wind resource.The fact that there is no wind does not seem to be an impediment to the promoters.In many areas there are so-called “citizens projects” – in fact the citizens are not aware of these projects until it is too late to stop them. Impact studies are supposed to take account of noise and wildlife however these studies are simply formalities.It would be much better for the environment if the money used to subsidise intermittent wind power were used to insulate houses to economise energy. This would be more beneficial to the environment and to people, preserving our countryside.

  • http://www.windturbinestar.com/ wind turbine

    For france, I think they should encourage the wind and solar energy use as the nuclear power is about 80% of the state. It is very dangerous to depend only one energy.

    Build the wind farm far away the people living will solve the noisy problem or build the middle wind turbines.

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