I love watching the large vanes of wind turbines spinning and creating usable electricity. I prefer that sight to the steam coming out of cooling towers in a nuclear facility any day. In the wake of Fukushima and other like disasters, why wouldn’t we all embrace the clean green energy of the tall white spinning turbines benignly doing what they do off in a field? After a recent town meeting in my neck of the woods, I heard a few different answers to that same question.
When I first heard about the commune of Camarade protesting a local wind turbine project I thought it was a case of the loaded, well-known acronym NIMBY (Not In My Backyard). I attended the meeting with an open mind, willing to hear another side to the ongoing complex ‘green’ energy story.
Amongst the things I learned was the fact that the wind turbine industry is second only to the automobile industry in metal consumption.
Some public companies such as EDF in France use the “Green” projects of building small or large wind turbine projects with taxpayers money to collect carbon points so it can actually pollute more and put their profits into producing nuclear energy facilities.
Wild life such as birds and nocturnal mammals like bats suffer as the long vanes of the turbines spin through their living environment.
I personally prefer green alternatives when it comes to energy consumption but intellectually I know that we do some damage to our planet and its ecosystems in our constant search for more energy no matter what source is used.
As this small village tries to find its way to a smaller-scale alternative that fits more into the natural beauty of its surroundings, it feels to them like their choice has been stolen, and time is running short.
Here Stephan explains in English how the potential wind turbine project in Camarade in the foothills of the Pyrenees sneaked in through the backdoor. Feeling lied to and cheated, this small community came together – the farmers, the hunters and the hippies – finding common ground to stop a large industry from destroying their countryside with a project which may not be as “Green” as it may look.
For those of you who can understand French, here is a link to an interview I filmed with my friend Patrick asking the questions.