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Author(s): Serge RENAUDIE, Architecte Conseil de l’État

How to think wind-powered energy in the Berry Champagne?

The view of windmill is unbearable for quite some heritage defenders denying the urgency of finding an alternative energy by bypassing the debate with aesthetic considerations. This is an endless story…

From the moment the security conditions for inhabitants and animal are created why should we forbid these useful devices? The roman viaducts which conveyed water across the territory would be forbidden too?! What about churches towers that you can’t avoid in the landscape?

The establishment of windmills falls under national new energies development policy, why shouldn’t it be imposed on heritage and conservation considerations? Reducing the areas where they could be set up with the excuse of heritage means considering some territories have more value than others which is against territories equity. In order to integrate these windmills into the landscape, shouldn’t we rethink this artificialized land by the industrial agriculture?

The following picture gives an idea of a territory where connections between streams, hedges and groves could have existed. But in the aerial photographs taken in 1950 there are hardly hedges left. They completely disappeared the next years altogether with trees lost in the fields.

Intensive agriculture having cleared up a territory from any spontaneous vegetation has left some hills inhabited by some hamlets and villages. Birds take shelter there…

In this landscape emptied from vertical dimensions, windmills appear to be immense. As it has just one horizontal component left the debate can be endless as it is almost impossible to decide hom many we should install without hurting one’s perspective… except for some questions related to migratory birds and bats’ tracks, we could consider that the issue shouldn’t be related to aesthetics opinions, especially in an overall artificialized landscape.

In this situation there are two solutions left:

1. The territory should be considered as industry and the thread of windmills fields come on top of a new intensive farming plots of land. Hills are frozen to be protected.

Then it becomes possible do efficiently develop windmill powered energy by totally and systematically densifying the thread. This concentration allows to deconcentrate other sites.

2. Intensive farming is reconsidered and replaced by a more environmental friendly one reconstructing streams, hedges and groves.

Windmills fit into this landscape altogether with multiple vertical dimensions.

Eventually they become a fully integrated element of the landscape.