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Bel Coster wind farm project: Opponents’ appeal and collaboration with France

On 29 October 2019, the partial utilisation plan for the Bel Coster wind farm, which was developed by Alpiq together with the municipalities of L’Abergement, Ballaigues and Lignerolle, was approved by the canton of Vaud. An appeal against this decision has since been filed. Nevertheless, the project and the collaboration with France will continue to be driven forward.

Last autumn, the canton of Vaud approved the partial utilisation plan for the Bel Coster wind farm, which provides for the installation of nine wind turbines in the Swiss Jura-Nord Vaudois district. This decision had been pending for several months and it confirms that the wind farm has been developed in a professional manner and in compliance with legal standards.

At the beginning of December, an appeal was filed against this decision with the Vaud Cantonal Court. This appeal was lodged by national and regional associations for the protection of the environment and the countryside, as well as by individuals.

In spite of the pending decision, the development of the project continues. Alpiq has complete confidence in the work carried out by the specialists and authorities involved in the project, in particular the partner municipalities and the canton of Vaud. Hence, the documents required to obtain the building permit and the authorisation to connect the wind farm to the electricity grid are being prepared at the same time as the legal proceedings.

The Bel Coster wind farm will have a very positive impact on the environment, especially thanks to targeted measures to improve the habitats of various endangered species. The local and renewable electricity it will generate will also reduce electricity imports, thereby preventing the release of around 85 tonnes of CO2 per day, which equates to the emissions of three flights from Geneva to Barcelona.

Collaboration with France

The nine wind turbines will be built on Swiss soil, but close to the French border. The Espoo Convention, which regulates the aspects linked to environmental impacts in cross-border contexts, has been applied and implemented by the canton of Vaud. It ensures full and equal consideration of environmental impacts on the territory of the two countries.

The main concern of the French authorities is the sources of drinking water that supply the municipality of Jougne. Consequently, protecting these sources during the wind farm’s construction phase is a priority for Alpiq and the canton of Vaud. Measures will be taken in conjunction with the responsible cantonal authorities to exclude any possible risk. In this context, the collaboration with the French authorities will be continued and intensified in the coming months.

Guarantee of high-quality water for the municipality of Jougne

In addition to the measures imposed in Switzerland, hydrogeological analyses and additional surveys will be carried out in accordance with the requests of the French authorities. Moreover, a special analytical device will be installed to constantly monitor the quality of drinking water supplied to the inhabitants of Jougne. Although this device is intended to monitor the quality of the water during the construction phase, it could subsequently be made available to the municipality in the longer term. It could thus contribute towards improving the understanding of water quality.

Although these additional measures to help protect the water sources are not required as part of the approval procedure, they are important for the collaboration with the French authorities. The entire process will be jointly monitored by the cantonal hydrogeologist and a certified French hydrogeologist.

Raynald Golay

Senior Project Manager

Chemin de Mornex 10
1003 Lausanne
T: +41 21 341 2111
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