Credit: Eva Filzmoser
By Andrew Coiley, South Asia Project Coordinator, Carbon Market Watch
In the coming weeks the CDM Executive Board will decide upon the registration of the infamous Nallakonda wind farm project. The decision will show whether the CDM is ready to take the rights of local communities into account, or not.
In May 2013, Carbon Market Watch visited the Nallakonda wind farm project, a 50.4 MW grid connected wind farm in Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh. As reported in previous WatchThis! Articles Kalpavalli Community Conserved Forest harmed by CDM project (Watch This! #5) and The Nallakonda Windfarm CDM Project – a Good Concept Badly Implemented (Watch This! #3), the project is currently seeking CDM registration despite violations of local stakeholder consultation rules.
The visit was organized following concerns raised by the Timbaktu Collective back in 2010, a Community Development Organization. Over the last 20 years, Timabuktu has cultivated the deforested arid region through organic farming and ultimately created a new livelihood for several communities. This livelihood is threatened by the CDM project “Nallakonda Wind Farm“.
The region around Kalpavalli, where the communities of the Timbaktu Collective are operating, was identified as an appropriate location for wind power by investors. Subsequently, over 150 wind turbines were installed and more are in planning. 65 wind turbines have been erected in the direct vicinity of the municipalities that are implementing organics farming projects together with the Timbaktu Collective. However, they have never been consulted by the operators of the project.
Under UNFCCC rules project proponents in the planning stages of their activities are obliged to engage with the people directly affected by the planned CDM project through a consultation process. In the case of Nallakonda, the testimonies collected from local sources account many claims about serious deficiencies with the consultation process.
Community land sold off
According to the local farmers, the project is illegitimate because the wind mills were built on community land. The communities complain that their land rights were not respected and that they deserve access to the land. Instead of leasing the land – as usual – the land was sold to the operators of the wind mill. Because of the large size of the construction projects hills needed to be removed. This has led to erosion and obstruction of natural waterways, damages that have not yet been fixed. Also the construction of the windmills might have led to the lowering of the water level which is putting heavy burden on the ability of the local communities to continue the local farming. Moreover, contrary as to what was explained in the validation report, there are serious environmental and social impacts from the construction which have not yet been fixed. For example, the construction of 15m wide roads in the region has severely damaged the environment in Kalpavalli area.
The validation report states that local jobs would be created. Instead of the 48 jobs promised only six people have actually been employed. They are under continuous work contract without entitlement to leave and a salary far below the average income. Far more tragic, however, is that the communities continue to live without access to electricity.
Although the Indian Government does not stipulate the submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) that is not to say that negative impacts cannot be incurred.
What we are calling for
In habitats as sensitive as the Nallakonda project area, it is vitally important that local villagers, responsible for the management and regeneration of the land are fully informed and engaged with the project activity. This would not only strengthen the success of the project, but reflect positively on the investment of renewable energy in countries like India.
Against the current situation the local villagers have formulated the following claims:
- Not to register the project as a CDM project unless the stakeholder consultation has been carried out appropriately and it is with certainty proven that the project is additional
- All damages caused to the project area are removed and the local communities are compensated for suffered damages