Anti–wind turbine feeling is so strong and widespread in France that almost two thirds of installation plans are currently being disputed in the courts.
France Wind Energy, the operators’ union, estimates that 65% of turbine authorisations are contested.
The expansion of wind turbine projects in France is a key government strategic objective for energy transition, with around 6,000 masts set to be erected by 2028. In theory, the power capacity should increase from 17 to 24 gigawatts within two years.
The projects – which can benefit communes thanks to tax breaks – are especially common in the north of France, where there is plenty of wind and space.
Christophe Grizard, a Somme farmer and head of the Federation for Sustainable Environment (FED) which opposes turbines, says inhabitants are the forgotten ones of this energy transition. “They set up dialogue, saying to us ‘Do not worry, we are going to ask you for your opinion’, and then they take no notice of us,” he told Franceinfo. So there is also a problem of denial of democracy.”
More parts of France need to be opened up for wind power, says France Wind Energy head, Michel Gioria: “The 47% of the territory that is currently closed to wind power must be gradually opened up, for a more harmonious development of the whole territory. It is necessary to bring back some of the development from the north and the Grand Est regions, to the south and west: Brittany, the Pays de la Loire, Nouvelle Aquitaine.”
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