Wind Wire: Opposition

Japan Wind Development (JWD) has announced plans to build a 40 MW wind farm equipped with storage batteries in the town of Masaki in Hokkaido Prefecture.

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Construction is due to begin in September 2010 for operation in May 2012, it says, although some opposition is expected. The town's mayor, Kazuo Maeda, welcomes the potential economic benefits of the project, but warns that environmental issues and local opinions must also be taken into consideration before it can proceed.

The region around Masaki is a major route for migratory birds and there has been considerable public opposition to wind farm developments in the area. JWD is also facing opposition to its plans for a 100 MW wind farm on Uku Island near Sasebo City in Nagasaki Prefecture. In late June, a citizens group opposed to the project presented a petition to the city authorities, calling for it to be rejected. It was signed by 1818 of the 2500 registered voters living on the island, equivalent to 70% of the local population. They argue the project may damage the health of residents and disturb livestock and wildlife.

The Ecological Society of Japan has petitioned the mayor of Suzaka City in Nagano Prefecture to carry out a thorough environmental impact study on a wind farm planned by developer IPP Japan.

IPP Japan, based in Tokyo, says it is still in the process of simply assessing the generation potential of the site, but believes a 20 MW wind farm could be built. In Fukui Prefecture, meanwhile, an advisory board to the mayor of Tsuruga City has criticised an environmental impact study by Clean Energy Factory (CEF) for a 3 MW wind project it plans to build near the city.

Members of the Tsuruga Environment Council say CEF has failed to adequately respond to concerns about the impact on the health of local residents and local bird life. Even so the committee's chairman, Professor Ryuji Nakata of Fukui University, says the advisory body is not necessarily opposed to the wind farm and believes it will eventually be built.

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