Amid opposition from the western Alpes Maritimes community of Saint Auban, just north of Grasse, the EDF has retracted its plans to build a wind farm. The decision comes despite research which shows the area would be an efficient site for energy production due to the strong winds it is exposed to.
As reported by Nice Matin, Saint Auban is one of three towns in the area in which EDF planned to build wind turbines as part of the wind farm, with 10 in Saint Auban and Valderoure each, and three in Le Mas, announced at the end of 2012.
However in January 2013, EDF cancelled the building of the turbines in Valderoure as a result of insufficient and inconstant levels of wind, to the relief of the local population. The site had undergone tests to see whether it was suitable but the project was abandoned after the results – published in November 2013 – showed that the average wind speed (collected over the course of one year) did not surpass five metres per second, with the speed necessary to make a turbine viable being 5.5m/s.
Saint Auban’s opposition to the project was arguably the final blow for EDF. According to regional representative Céline Spitzhorn, EDF listened to the protests. “As promised, we respected the wishes of the communities, even though [the site] has potential,” she said.
Conversely, Le Mas has presented no opposition to the projected plans for three wind turbines to be built nearby, however construction will not go ahead as such a small number of turbines alone would not ensure that the farm is a profitable investment. Mayor of Le Mas, Fabrice Lachenmaier, condemned the abandonment of the project and is convinced that the project will be feasible “within a few years, perhaps in other forms and with fewer technical constraints”. He added that such opportunities can not be objected “at the time of the transition of energy [to renewable sources] and the depletion of fossil fuels”, while there is such a growing demand for power.
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