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CSE study calls for strict rules for wind power sector

A recent study conducted by the Center for Science and Environment (CSE) has indicated the need for proper management of environmental regulations for the growing wind power sector in the country. The study also highlighted that in the last 27 years, 3,454 hectares of forestland has been provided for wind power projects in the country while only 478 hectares were diverted during 1980-2006.

Chandra Bhushan, CSE’s deputy director general, said if the wind power projects are set up close to human settlements they might have an adverse effect on human health. “The study also revealed that projects sited on forestland, and hilly areas exert higher impact on the ecology and water resources as compared to projects located in the plains,” he said.

The growth of the wind power industry has been rapid in the country in the last 10 years, with Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pardesh and western Maharashtra taking the lion’s share of the growth. The total wind generation in 2011-12 was around 23.4 billion units, which the study stated would be sufficient to provide power to 4 crore people.

“Our study showed that the demand for forestland by the wind industry has been on the rise in the last seven years. We noticed that forestland has been diverted without any Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and all the wind projects were given in principle clearance within days. No proper EIA can be done in that time frame,” he claimed.

When it comes to wind power, CSE’s study showed that there is little or no green norms for the industry. “Majority of the state pollution control boards do not even ask the wind power projects to apply for consent to operate and do not regulate pollution in these establishments,” he said. He added that the effect of wind power on the local environment has to be studied properly.