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Wind Energy: From Sustainability to Social Impacts

Considered a necessary source for the diversification of energy matrices, wind energy is vital to our movement towards sustainability.

Written by Fernando Cafe

Wind. Carbon neutral. Alternative. Systematized since 1890, wind energy has acquired debate and investment as a possible solution to replace energy sources derived from carbon such as oil and coal. It is based on the movement of the propellers from the wind and thus becomes a clean and unlimited mean of producing energy. However, the social effects attached to this energy source are often overlooked. Not only does it have an impact on the natural surroundings, but also the lives of residents especially in countries where the incentive and lack of supervision are prevalent.

Measuring between 30 and 120 meters high, the wind power towers have altered the local landscape and affect the very dynamics of social life. In Brazil, for example, territories and areas of native forest had to be deforested for such construction and this method is currently on full rise. According to the Global Wind Energy Council Report, Brazil is the 6th country with the largest installed energy capacity in this area.

But, according to Professor Manoel Ciricio – in an interview for the portal "Brasil de Fato" – this growth has consequences in vast areas.

"The most punctual impacts about the removal of the vegetation itself, the loss of biodiversity, the exposure of the soil and the susceptibility of erosion along the opening of roads and the entire context of the installation of wind turbines that, in turn, will have very strong impacts on the issue of winged fauna as bats and migratory birds that will suffer directly from the perspective of these enterprises".

In addition, the population also suffers from the construction of wind farms. Noise pollution, insomnia, the deconstruction of the landscape, and loss of local identity are part of the daily lives of citizens that are interrupted. Hence, the positive effects often associated with sustainable development have not taken into account the immediate effects on the surrounding communities.

Thus, how sustainable and clean can an energy source be considered? Are these "sacrifices" to be adopted in an age of environmental and climate problems?

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