About 300 demonstrators gathered in Saint-Brieuc under the windows of the prefecture to demand the abandonment of a wind farm project located about fifteen kilometers from the coast. The fishermen threaten to interfere with the start of the work.
In Saint-Brieuc in Brittany, around 300 demonstrators gathered on May 3 in front of the Côtes d’Armor prefecture to protest against a wind farm project whose construction – entrusted to a subsidiary of the Spanish company Iberdrola – was to start on same day in the city bay. This gathering brought together fishermen, members of environmental associations but also ordinary citizens fiercely opposed to this project likely to “destroy the sea”, reports AFP.
“No to the death of artisanal fishing”, “Iberdrola, godfather of the wind mafia”, “No, wind turbines should not replace fishermen” they chanted under the windows of the prefecture. Protesters hung banners on the prefecture’s railings and fishermen dumped empty scallops to recall their concern that their fishing was threatened.
“We must succeed in preventing these parks from invading our coasts,” declared the president of the departmental fisheries committee, Alain Coudraie. He also accused in the wake of the minister of ecological transition, Barbara Pompili of wanting to “disappear fishing”.
62 wind turbines set 16.3 km from the coast: a project led by a subsidiary of the Spanish Iberdrola
According to Katherine Poujol, president of the “Gardez les Caps” association, these wind turbines will dump aluminum into the sea every day and “the entire food chain will be contaminated”, specifying that each wind turbine contains “1.3 tonnes of rare earths Including metals used in the manufacture of high-tech products, she told AFP.
Entrusted to the company Ailes Marines, a subsidiary of the Iberdrola company, this park will see the birth of 62 wind turbines over 200 m high fixed on the seabed and is one of the seven wind projects awarded by the State since 2012 in the Channel and in the Atlantic as part of the development of Marine Renewable Energies (MRE). With a capacity of 496 MW each, this park is supposed to produce 1,820 GWh, or the annual electricity consumption of 835,000 inhabitants according to its promoter. The park should come into operation at the end of 2023 and will be erected 16.3 km from the nearest coasts (Cap Fréhel and the fishing port of Erquy) which are classified sectors.
In a daily interview The Telegram, the managing director of Iberdrola renewable energies offshore, Jonathan Cole, considered that “the fishermen of the bay of Saint-Brieuc have had more impact here than anywhere else”. “We understand that our work can affect [leur] activity. This is also why we compensate local activity up to 10 million euros. But I am sure that good neighborliness will be possible in the future, ”he added.
The prefect announces mobilizing state ships to protect the site
On the morning of May 3, the fishermen had planned to go to sea to meet the company’s vessels which were to begin their intervention with drilling work. Finally, these meetings at sea did not take place because the company delayed the entry into action of its fleet for meteorological reasons. Faced with the repeated threat of several fishermen who wish to disrupt the start of the site, the maritime prefect of the Atlantic has announced that he wants to deploy State vessels according to The Telegram.
Fearing tensions, the maritime prefect of the Atlantic and vice-admiral of the squadron Olivier Lebas announced that he planned to deploy several ships (maritime gendarmerie, national navy and customs) “to support the start of work on the wind farm in Baie de Saint-Brieuc ”in order to“ guarantee the safety of navigation, people, goods and the environment ”.
The newspaper also recalls that a prefectural decree of April 29, 2021 established a restricted area for the duration of the work, the anchoring of any vessel or gear as well as diving and the practice of any type of fishing being prohibited there.