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With eye on far right, French conservatives take aim at wind power  

Credit:  Reporting by Richard Lough; Editing by Dan Grebler | Reuters | November 8, 2021 | www.reuters.com ~~

Two front-runners in the race for the centre-right ticket in France’s 2022 presidential vote took aim at wind farms on Monday, as the conservatives seek to win back the support of rural voters drawn towards the far-right.

Xavier Bertrand, a one-time insurance salesman from the provinces, said profit-hungry wind farm developers were destroying the French countryside and that France’s energy security lay with nuclear power.

Michel Barnier, the European Union’s former chief Brexit negotiator, said local backing would be needed for new wind power developments were he to be elected president.

“I will fight against the anarchic development of wind turbines,” Bertrand said during a debate between the five challengers for the Les Republicains party’s nomination.

Citing the need to scale up the infrastructure rapidly for electric vehicles, Bertrand continued: “You think we’re going to do it with those damn wind turbines?”

Opposition to wind farms has coursed through the hills and fields of France for some two decades and the issue has become increasingly politicised as the government strives to hit climate policy targets.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right Rassemblement National party, last month said she would end all subsidies for renewable energy and take down the country’s wind turbines if she is elected next April.

Bertrand said he would commission 10 new EPR nuclear reactors on his first day as president if he were elected. Valerie Pecresse, another challenger for the centre-right ticket, said she would commission six new reactors but added that renewable energy sources must be developed.

Early in his presidency, President Emmanuel Macron pledged to reduce nuclear’s contribution to France’s energy mix to 50% from 75% by 2035. But the energy crisis is changing the mood in Paris. Macron is expected to announce several new EPRreactors in the coming weeks.

Source:  Reporting by Richard Lough; Editing by Dan Grebler | Reuters | November 8, 2021 | www.reuters.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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