French farmer sues wind energy company for making his cows sick, demands hefty compensation

By @diplomatist10 on
Canberra Wind farm
Low rain clouds pass over wind turbines operating at the Capital Wind Farm near Tarago, north of Australia's capital, Canberra, July 9, 2014. Reuters/Jason Reed

A French dairy farmer has sued a wind energy company, alleging that its turbines caused his cows to fall sick, which led to a fall in milk production.

Yann Joly claimed his cows were taking less water than required ever since the turbines of CSO Energy were installed near his farm in early 2011. He decided to sue CSO Energy, which is in the wind farms business in France and Germany, and is demanding a compensation of 356,900 (AU$565,172).

To buttress his complaint, an expert was brought in to testify at a Paris court.

Farmer ruined

Joly’s demand is that the energy company must remove the turbines. The farmer said he is being forced to sell his cows and turn to growing crops instead. “I am now in the process of selling the cows because it is not profitable to keep them," Joly said. He said he has to look for a job outside the farm and do part-time farming on beetroot, wheat and colza.

Christiane Nansot, an agricultural expert, who endorsed the farmer’s grievance, confirmed that the drop in milk production was caused by the 24 turbines installed by the company next to the family farm in the Le Boisle district, near Abbeville in  Northern France.

“The geologist said that a geographical fault in the underlying rock could be leading to amplification in waves emanating from the turbines,” she said.

“The farmer is ruined,” lawyer Philippe Bodereau told The Telegraph and added that this is the first time in the world “there is a document from an expert concluding that there is no other reason but wind turbines that could be to blame for animals being sick”.

Wind power in ACT

Meanwhile, a joint venture between French company Neoen and the Australian Capital Territory Government will pump AU$250 million into the South Australian economy to provide clean energy to the capital. The French company bought the Hornsdale wind project at Jamestown in South Australia in 2013. Neone has solar and wind interests in New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia.

The ACT Government expects to deliver 90 percent of the capital's electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Under a 20-year contract with ACT, Neoen will supply 100 megawatts of power to local households. The power from the Hornsdale project will be bought by energy retailers under a feed in tariff plan. According to ACT Deputy Chief Minister, Simon Corbell, the government is one of the biggest investors in renewable energy projects in Australia.

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