Can the wind industry and indigenous peoples coexist?

Indigenous and first nations communities are being confronted by wind energy developments on their traditional lands, causing legal battles and protests to flare.

Is this an inevitable conflict? Or is there space for a mutually beneficial coexistence? Orlando Jenkinson, reporter with Windpower Monthly, discusses these issues across three interviews that make up Episode 18 of the Windpower Podcast. 

In the first, Larry Wright Junior, the executive director of the National Congress for American Indians, describes why the organisation is calling for a pause on offshore wind developments in the US, and how the federal government could help ensure Native American sovereignty is respected to avoid similar disruptions in the future. 

The episode also explores the growing protests against wind farms among the indigenous Sami communities of Norway. Aslak Holmberg, president of the Sami Council, recounts how Sami communities face the loss of their traditional culture as reindeer herders due to the impact of wind farms on their grazing lands, despite winning the support of the Norwegian Supreme Court in a recent decision. 

Situations like these echo the historic oppression of first nations peoples. However, alternative, constructive relationships of mutual benefit can also be imagined. 

Arash Moalemi from the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, and Tyler Hoffbuhr from developer Avangrid, describe what one such case might look like while discussing the pair’s new joint venture in the southwestern United States. 

To listen to this episode, simply click on the 'play' button in the graphic above, or follow and download Wind Power on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and other platforms.

This episode was produced by Czarina Deen.

To listen to previous episodes, click on the links below: