Wind energy is widely seen as being clean, readily available, and easy to tap. Experts argue that if India has to meet its global commitment of reducing dependence on fossil fuels and reaching carbon neutrality – also called the net-zero target – by 2070, it will have to significantly scale up its production of wind energy.
With 1,600 km of windswept coastline, where wind speeds touch 10 metres per second, the state of Gujarat will play a key role in this process.
But as Tabassum Barnagarwala and Vaishnavi Rathore found reporting on the ground from Gujarat's coastal villages and speaking to experts and activists, those who live in the vicinity of windmills have reported a host of problems in the aftermath of their installation. These include health problems, degradation of land and water, and decline in bird and animal life.
“Wind energy is right now considered a holy cow. Nobody is truly addressing its possible harmful impacts,” one activist said.
Rathore noted that there was a “gap in work by the science community on social and environmental impacts of wind turbines, which made it difficult to scientifically substantiate what we observed on ground for the story”.
Barnagarwala added, “What struck us during reporting was that village dwellers are not involved in the entire process of clean energy projects, even if the project will affect their local flora and fauna.”
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