should we multiply wind turbines in the sea?

The government wants to increase the construction of offshore wind farms, but residents deplore the visual pollution and opponents worry about the impact on fauna and flora. To ease tensions, the executive has promised discounts on residents’ bills and compensation to municipalities.

Emmanuel Macron is expected in Saint-Nazaire this Thursday, where he is to “welcome the construction of the first offshore wind farm in France”. A park consisting of 80 offshore wind turbines, which are supposed to produce 20% of the electricity of the Loire-Atlantique department.

But these 80 windmills, visible from the shore, are a stain on postcards. “It’s unbearable. We no longer have the feeling that we have the sea. We were told that we would not see them, but we see them perfectly, we see how the blades rotate,” says Margarita, who lives opposite the ocean in Batz-sur-Mer.

But we may have to get used to these wind turbines and the location of their earthly counterparts. A circular was sent to all prefects of France asking them to “take all measures necessary to expedite the processing of renewable energy projects”.

“Dictatorial”

“This is furious madness,” lamented Jean-Louis Boutre, president of the Federation for Sustainable Environment, which opposes wind turbines. “I think this is a dictatorial regime. We will fight against this circular,” he told RMC. “Park Saint-Nazaire has a capacity of 450 megawatts and it will run at 40% or 180 megawatts at best. When we closed Fessenheim, the plant was producing 1,800 megawatts. It would take ten St. Nazaire parks to wait for what we closed in Fessenheim. “explains Jean-Louis Butre.

“It’s indescribably ugly. The construction, operation and dismantling of this wind farm makes marine mammals extremely vulnerable,” adds Barbara Lefebvre at the Grandes Gueules plateau at RMC.

“All wind turbines, to my knowledge, are made in the United States,” says Quentin, a Grandes Gueules listener and merchant marine technician who worked at the Atlantic Shipyards St. Nazaire wind farm. “All cables are laid in America and all decks are made in Asia,” he adds.

In fact, only wind turbine blades are produced in France, but a processing subsidiary is being set up in the country.

“The impact on biodiversity is fully controlled”

To Batz-sur-MerMonique still got used to it after reluctance: “It does not prevent us from living, and we are very happy, we need electricity, we cannot complain about windmills.”

According to Fabrice Cassin, a member of the French Wind Energy Association, an increase in the number of wind farms of this type is necessary to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050 and ensure France’s energy independence, while Europe is facing an energy crisis of magnitude. “We have a climate and strategic imperative. The drought, the war in Ukraine and the deterioration of the nuclear fleet have led us to a historic decline in our production capacity,” he laments.

“The impact on biodiversity is completely under control,” says Fabrice Cassin. “During periods of migration, machines stop to avoid the death of certain species,” he adds, believing that the death of certain animals “is a level of risk” that should be taken into account.

Financial compensation to residents and municipalities?

On the side of the first concerned, the inhabitants of the Breton coast, whether for or against, the expression always pops up: “We have no choice.” To take the pill, the government is considering discounts on electricity bills for affected residents like Louisette. “It would be nice. Ugly, but if we are compensated, then there is something positive,” she philosophizes.

The municipality will receive compensation in the amount of 280,000 euros per year. “This allows for additional investment opportunities, such as bringing our buildings up to energy standards. With the influence of energy, these files are becoming more and more relevant,” explains Bruno Schmitt, First Deputy Mayor of Batz, to RMC. -sur-Mer. The municipality even hopes to revise its compensation upwards, highlighting visual pollution, which is more important than anywhere else.

Martin Cadoret with Guillaume Dussure

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