The regional wind energy committee is denouncing the fact that wind energy developers are not taking the trouble to consult the public about the project being prepared in Bas-Saint-Laurent.
The committee estimates that about forty projects must be submitted by September 18 for call for proposals from Hydro-Québec to buy 2000 megawatts of wind energy. Up to now, only three developers, cooperatives, have met with the public to explain their project. The committee, which was formed last June, is demanding a moratorium on wind energy development before it is too late.
Spokesman Martin Gagnon complains that the vast majority of private developers, and even those associated with municipalities and counties, do not seem to care about citizens’ concerns. He notes that the prefect of the Rimouski-Neigette MRC has promised to consult the public.
However, he recalls that had to be done before the submission of offers in September. “It is not in the submitted proposal that they might make a public consultation and see if the public is comfortable with it. If they want to answer fears, then they need to consult the public where they are going to install the wind turbines”, he charges.
M. Gagnon claims that wind energy development raises more questions than answers. He recalls that there is no study of the impact on human health or on electric interference. “The UQAR [University of Québec at Rimouski] had a grant for Hydro-Québec to study the social acceptance of projects, which was going to be submitted in 2008-2009. They had a study which called for a regional conference of elected officials of Bas-Saint-Laurent on the impact on the countryside. They tell us that the results will be ready in winter 2008, he explains.
Thus, if there is not a moratorium on wind energy development from now until then, a majority of wind farms will be already constructed when the results of the studies become known.
2 August 2007
[translated from the French]
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