July 20, 2007

How forest friendly is Karnataka's Wind Energy?

Ameen writes from Tumkur City, India (click the title of this post):

Among the areas where wind turbines have been erected in Karnataka are the hills and highlands of eastern parts of Chitradurga district and in western parts of Tumkur district. We saw these windmills first hand this month and I am sad to say that these windmills have had a very immediate negative impact in the forests where they have been setup.
  1. Each such wind mill has a concrete base of at least 30 feet by 30 feet.
  2. Each one of these has an individual road.
  3. Hundreds of trees have been removed to accomodate these giant "fans".
  4. The transportation of giant equipment requires huge trucks and causes enormous disturbance to the local flora and fauna.
This way almost every hill top of the 273 Sq. km. Mari Kanive state forest and other reserve forests along Tumkur-Chitradurga border has just been devastated. The building of these roads has also opened up the forests for tree looters and the situation according to a local forest watcher is "just out of control in Mari Kanive forests". These wind mills are atop the hills that extend for hundreds of kilometres north, up to Gadag district.

Due to their destructive nature, there already have been protests against the setting up of wind farms in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, namely Bababudan Giris (adjoining Bhadra Tiger Reserve) and Kudremukh National Park.

As a nature lover I have opposed hydro dams as being detrimental to forests. But, by witnessing the damage done by wind farms in Karnataka's forests, I doubt if wind energy in our country is really that green.

wind power, wind energy, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, animal rights