September 25, 2021

Contested, wind turbines are nevertheless essential to a low-carbon economy

“Why so much hatred? “, wonders The Wind log. In the aftermath of the regional elections, the question deserves to be asked, the future of wind power having emerged as one of the most divisive themes of the campaign. For weeks, many candidates did not hold back their attacks against some 8,000 masts located in France.

Figure of this protest movement, Xavier Bertrand (formerly Les Républicains, LR), re-elected president of Hauts-de-France, believes that wind turbines are a “French scandal”. For Marine Le Pen, the president of the National Rally (RN), they are a “Visual, ecological, economic disaster” and simply have “More their place in our country”, whether on land or at sea. Other LR elected officials have called for a “Absolute and immediate moratorium”.

Too expensive, destructive of heritage, intermittent, manufactured abroad, dangerous for health, not recyclable… All the arguments, more or less founded, have been used. Sign of the echo of these positions, a film at the expense of the association Documentaire and Truth, Wind turbines: from dreams to realities, has been viewed online over 200,000 times.

Faced with these criticisms, the Ministry of Ecological Transition tried to cope. Barbara Pompili has stepped up to the plate to reaffirm her support for the industry and denounce disinformation campaigns. “We can be in the countryside, we can want to win, but we cannot say everything and anything to citizens in the face of such issues”, she regretted. The country’s energy roadmap, which it is responsible for implementing, provides that France will have 15,000 onshore wind turbines by 2028.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also “We are asking for an absolute and immediate moratorium on any new onshore wind project in our regions”

Above all, according to the minister, the political controversies do not reflect a general rejection of this source of energy. On the contrary, “The adhesion to this technology is massive and national”, she says, citing the barometer on risk perception of the Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety. According to this study, 82% of French people have a positive image of wind power, but only 41% would agree to live next to a park. Other surveys – commissioned by the industry – show that three quarters of citizens are in favor of wind turbines, even when they live less than 5 kilometers from a park.

Sense of saturation

The opposition to wind power is therefore the fact of an active minority or the expression of the syndrome “Not in my back yard” (“not beside me”)? These debates have the virtue of pointing out the importance of real discontent, with many and varied reasons. In some areas, too high a concentration of masts creates a feeling of saturation.

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