Three coastal villages in Hsinwu Township (新屋), Taoyuan County, yesterday voted to reject a proposal by a German firm to build a wind farm.
More than 300 people took part in the referendum on the plan by Germany’s InfraVest GmbH.
“All the participants are opposed to building the wind farm, unless InfraVest offers better proposals,” Yeh Si-kuai, a member of the “Self Help Group,” told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) by phone.
“All the local officials support our opposition to the wind farm. InfraVest people handed out leaflets explaining the wind farm, but we gave them our material detailing the harm of the wind farm.” he said.
InfraVest did not respond to telephone calls seeking reaction.
The firm was scheduled to start building 13 wind turbines along the coast of Hsinwu in October, but construction was delayed by local opposition.
Villagers said they would not oppose an offshore wind farm, but said an onshore wind farm would damage the ecology and pose hazard to local residents.
“InfraVest has to cut a large area of coastal forest, called wind-breaking forest, and mangrove, which would cause soil and sand loss and destroy the habitat for dozens of migraine birds and seven types of crabs native to Hsinwu,” Yeh said.
“A wind turbine is 120m tall, InfraVest wants to build them within 60m to 85m of houses. If a turbine falls or a blade falls, it will crash on the houses,” he said.
Yeh said the villagers tried to contact InfraVest several times, but the German company gave no response.
After the referendum, the villagers tied yellow ribbons to the “wind-braking” forest, which is 4km long and 20km to 30m wide.
InfraVest is one of the main foreign wind power suppliers that have invested in Taiwan. They insist the turbines will not harm the local ecology. Since 1999, InfraVest has built five wind farms across Taiwan with a total of 90 turbines.