Lights for the birds

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Town officials from Wakkanai on the Japanese island of Hokkaido ran into unexpected problems following the installation of two NEG Micon 400 kW turbines in March. Local people objected to them. According to some Wakkanai citizens, the machines are ugly, as well as dangerous for migrating birds which, it is claimed by some, cannot see the wind turbines in the twilight. "There has been no accident so far and we have tried to collect information from Europe about the problem, which seems to be non-existent," says Shingo Nishioka of the city authority. "But for good order, we have installed lights on the wind turbines," he says. Nishioka stresses not all residents are against the turbines. By explaining further the benefits of clean energy to the non-believers, he believes the city's plans for 14 more wind turbines will go ahead. Wakkanai's 45,000 residents will be asked for their opinion on the matter in a survey before the next stage of development, erection of four more NEG Micon 400 kW units close to the site of the two debated turbines. The city also hopes to erect ten 600 kW turbines within the next two years.

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