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Wind Farms in the Sustainable Development Reserve of Ponta do Tubarão, Brazil

Artisanal fishermen and traditional communities who managed to obtain a Sustainable Development Reserve are now affected by the construction of wind farms destroying dunes and lagoons.


The Sustainable Development Reserve of Ponta do Tubarao  (SDR-PT) was created in 2003 after one decade of activists and local communities struggling against different attempts to develop projects in the area (including a Tourist Resort and shrimp hatchery activities along the mangroves). The SDR-PT is located in the northern coast of Rio Grande do Norte, in the Guamaré and Macau Municipalities. It covers a total area of 12,940 ha and is considered as a high-importance biological region in Brazil. Inside the SDR-PT, traditional populations inhabit with livelihoods and culture strongly attached to the territory. These communities assure their subsistence throughout artisanal fishing and collecting shellfishes, communitarian tourism, as well as small-scale agriculture and animal farming.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Wind Farms in the Sustainable Development Reserve of Ponta do Tubarão, Brazil
State or province:Rio Grande do Norte
Location of conflict:Macau and Guamaré municipalities
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Large-scale wind energy plants
Land acquisition conflicts
Establishment of reserves/national parks
Aquaculture and fisheries
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details


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Project area:1,900.00 ha
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:~ 4000
Start of the conflict:01/01/2010
Company names or state enterprises:New Energy Options Geração de Energia from Brazil - Developer
Bioenergy from Brazil - Developer
Relevant government actors:Instituto de Desenvolvimento Sustentável e Meio Ambiente do Rio Grande do Norte
Administrative Council of the Sustainable Development Reserve of Ponta do Tubarao
International and Finance InstitutionsBanco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (BNDES) from Brazil
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Local fishermen (no formal organization, it seems)
University scientists
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Refusal of compensation
Interviews of affected local people by national/regional media
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Other Environmental impactsDestruction of dunes
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Government arguments supporting a "clean" investment
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Both windfarms still operate in this area. Although there is high discontent among local communities, there is still no visible organization against such projects.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Patrícia Pereira Mattos, Itamar de Morais Nobre, Magdi Ahmed Ibrahim Aloufa, RESERVA DE DESENVOLVIMENTO SUSTENTÁVEL: AVANÇO NA CONCEPÇÃO DE ÁREAS, Soc. & Nat. 2011

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Moradores regaem a usinas eólicas.

Ricardo Araújo. Tribuna do Norte. Published: 08/01/2012, Consulted 03/01/2016
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"Energia limpia" é alvo de ambientalistas. (Excellent information).

Wilston Tosta. Estadão. Published 06/02/2013, Consulted 03/01/2016
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Energia limpa e fundamentos sujos.

Claudio Guerra. Fala Rio Grande Blog. Published 10/07/2011, Consulted 03/01/2016
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Mapa de Conflictos Envolvendo Injustiça Ambiental e Saúde no Brasil.

Case: Pescadores artesanais e agricultores familiares têm seu modo de vida comprometido por usinas eólicas

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Meta information
Contributor:Sofia Avila-Calero
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2211
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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