A hundred giant wind turbines set to be built at sea off the coast of Arromanches-les-Bains will blight the area where the Allies came ashore on D-Day 1944, opponents of the scheme say.
The vice-president of the Sustainable Environment Federation, Hervé Texier, said the scheme, part of government plans for 600 turbines along the Breton and Norman coasts by 2015, is “unthinkable”.
Mr Texier, from Calvados, said the project was referred to by the government as being at Courseulles-sur-Mer. “It knows Courseulles is not well-known, compared to Arromanches, which is very well-known because of the Winston Churchill Port.”
Port Winston, of which vestiges remain, was a temporary harbour built in Britain then towed to Normandy and used to disembark 2.5 million men.
Mr Texier said: “An enormous number of Allied soldiers disembarked there and it is not acceptable they should put these machines in the sea now. They will be 10km offshore but that’s nothing. You will see them as if they were up close.”
Mr Texier added that installing the turbines was expensive for the amount of electricity produced; moreover they would be made abroad and installed by foreign engineers, so creating no French jobs.
“Big firms are pushing the government to put these turbines up but it’s not about ecology. They only work when there is wind, about a quarter of the time, and they are putting in place new fossil-fuel power stations to take up the slack.”
Offshore turbines are also planned at Dieppe/Le Tréport and Fécamp in Haute-Normandie, at Saint-Brieuc, Brittany and at Saint-Nazaire near the border of Brittany and Loire-Atlantique. The government plans to pay €10 billion and says the
turbines will produce 3000MW, equivalent of two nuclear power stations.
Opposition is rising in Dieppe and Le Tréport, where the government claims 142 turbines, 14km offshore, would provide 900,000 people with electricity.
One resident, retired electrical power engineer Pat Ward-Lee, said: “The Le Tréport site would supply less than one kilowatt per person. If everyone switched on their supply at the same time in the early evening, this would generate only enough for lighting and maybe a little cooking. The promise of electricity for 900,000 is spin.”
The director of the fishermen’s cooperative in Le Tréport, Olivier Bécquet, said: “The politicians want to ruin our livelihood. They forget our 50 boats represent families. The turbines will be where we cast our nets and lines and would hamper our work and disturb the fish.”
He believes the government may have chosen Le Tréport to avoid upsetting wealthier coastal resorts or inland areas: “They want to impose this here, where the less well off have to feed their families from the money they earn from the sea.”
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