Wind power: Is clean energy pursued through dirty tactics?
Wind power has been promoted as the future of clean energy, a way to provide an invaluable resource to populations that limits the negative impact on the environment. In the age of Kyoto limits on greenhouse gases, nations like China and India have turned their attention to wind power as a way to meet their massive energy needs. But questions of how these energy policies are implemented are emerging, particularly in the developing world.
James Anaya, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples tells the Christian Science Monitor that there is an aspect of colonialism “where Europeans would go to Africa and other places and they say ‘OK, we are going to develop this. And the deal that is being offered, in the end, is not a good one.'”
The Monitor notes that from Dhule, India, where 2,000 tribesmen were forced to accept hundreds of wind turbines on their traditional lands to villages in Mexico, local populations have been forced off their land or into buyouts to accomodate future development. The debate is not confined to the developing world. In many Western states, localities are attempting to deal with the need for energy and the rights of property owners.
And in a strange twist, Environment and Energy Publishing recently reported that there have been allegations of economic espionage against a leading a Chinese wind turbine manufacturer. Perhaps all of the controversy and conflict is the surest sign that the wind industry has arrived.