Italian Village at the Center of Wind Debate

From Reuters, an article about the Northern Italian village of Alberona. This medieval village hopes to halt its steady economic erosion by building a new wind farm, but Puglia regional authorities aren’t so sure:

…the plan is at risk because Puglia’s authorities want to suspend building new wind farms until the region, which already produces more electricity than it needs, creates a general energy program.

“We need a clear plan outlining our energy needs and supplies,” said Michele Losappio, the regional official in charge of environmental issues.

“We want to avoid uncontrolled, wild wind farming. Otherwise we’ll turn into a pin cushion.”

The plan is also under attack by foes of wind farms in general, who have managed to slow down the permitting process throughout the region.

Alberona’s plan looks great to me, as it addresses all of the benefits that renewable energy can provide: not just clean, safe energy, but also economic development for a region desperately in need of opportunities. Because the region produces more energy than it needs, it could become a laboratory for experimenting with replacing more traditional sources of energy with wind power (note: the article does not identify what other sources of power are used in Puglia). Finally, the “windmills-are-eyesores” crowd ends up looking particularly bad in this situation, as they’re putting their aesthetic considerations ahead of the very survival of this village. As Odograph commented several months ago, I’ve got little patience for folks who’s only opposition is aesthetic. Clearly, they don’t live anywhere near a coal-burning plant or a nuclear reactor…

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