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Wind Farm CDM project in Kalpavalli Community Forest, Anantpur, AP, India


Description:

A local eco-restoration initiative developed to transform wastelands into a dense community forest in the Kalpavalli region is being harmed by the Nallajonda Wind Farm Project, an investment of Tadas Wind Energy Limited. The restoration initiative started in 1990 with the Timbaktu Collective and local villagers of Anantpur district in Andhra Pradesh, consisting in the reforestation and enhancing of traditional livelihoods of the Kalpavalli area. Such scheme became a model for successful joint forest management, watershed development and the creation of sustainable forest based livelihoods.  The Nallajonda Wind Farm comprises 63 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of 50.4 MW. The project was initiated in 2007 when the company bought around 49 acres of reforested “wasteland” and started building roads for the installation of windmills. Although the Indian Government does not require submission of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for wind power projects, neighboring communities have identified environmental impacts such as deforestation, heavy land degradation and biodiversity loss. Local water bodies are being negatively affected as well. According to Carbon Market Watch, these significant negative environmental and social impacts have been completely omitted in the project documents although the area has been recognized as biodiversity rich Community Conserved Area (CCA) in the CCA directory of India by Neema Pathak Broome. Organizations such as the Society for Promotion of Wastelands Development have also claimed that wind power infrastructure activities destroyed the former restoration efforts on the area.

According to an article published in the Times of India (Jun-6-2012), Tadas Wind Energy paid villagers a meagre compensation and offered small jobs at the windmills that were installed. N Gopalaswamy, a resident of Kalpavalli village then said that "Villagers had to give them water tankers from forest streams. Animal husbandry collapsed because the grasslands were destroyed." Further, livelihood opportunities have been impacted. "We made grass brooms, sold dates and toddy (palm wine), now all have gone down. The company has to compensate for this loss." (Times of India, Jun-6-2012).

The company also submitted the project at the UNFCCC to receive carbon credits under the Clean Development Mechanism. If approved, it is expected that the project result into 100,135 tCO2e of annual average emission reduction. However, local NGOs have claimed that approval process requires a thorough stakeholder consultation process, including a local stakeholder consultation where local communities are consulted about the project. They stated that it was only when the roads needed to be constructed that a process of involving the community was followed. When concern was raised about the effect on the cattle grazing, villagers were assured that the project would not have any impact on grazing. Organizations such as Carbon Watch have also stated that additionality is needed for this CDM to continue. Since 2013 the CDM project is being under revision and if approved, it will receive 360,000 carbon credits.

During 2013 the Society for Promotion of Wasteland Development raised the issues with this project to the Indian Ministry of Environment & Forests (DNA), the Andhra Pradesh State Government, the Windenergy company, the UNFCCC and the CDM project auditors (DOE). The Kalpavalli CBO, Timbaktu Collactive and SPWD New Delhi have also launched a public interest litigation (PIL) and the case was filed at the Green Tribunal of India. "To understand the eco-services of Kalpavalli forest in terms of life-support system and also to understand the impacts of operations of the numerous wind energy projects that have come up in Kalpavalli region, SPWD (Society for the Promotion of Wasteland Development) conducted a detailed study. Line transects were laid in different habitats like wetland, valley, hilltops, streams, cliffs, dense and degraded patches, grass patches, sacred groves, paddy fields, date palm groves, spring proximities, wind-mill operation areas (in Kalpavalli), the adjoining Guttur reserve forest, gold-mine dumps of Ramagiri, and other open areas." (Leena Gupta, 2013). Notice the presence of Sacred Groves.

The SPWD demanded:  Restoration of the damage caused by the construction of roads.

Compensation for the loss of the livelihood potential due to the restricted grazing access and loss of other livelihoods from Non Timber Forest Produce.

Consideration of the local community as the primary stakeholder for the preservation of the biodiversity which includes many rare and endangered species having world-wide significance.

Providing a mandatory provision of Environment Impact Assessment ( EIA) and Social Impact Assessment ( SIA) for the construction of windmills which would ensure that there is a proper assessment of the potential damage before giving permission to the windmill company.

Rejection of the request for registration as CDM project by the UNFCCC Executive board due to breach of local stakeholder consultation rules.

Last news on this case date from 2014 and it seems that the Project is ongoing. As Janaki Lenin wrote on the Hindu (10/2014):  “While wind energy is celebrated as a sustainable source of power, a green energy, here in Anantapur, wind farms have come at a cost to the community forest. Wind power companies hacked wide roads around hillsides, destroying the trenches villagers built to arrest the flow of rainwater and toppling two-decade-old trees. Since retaining walls haven’t been built, boulders and loose soil sit precariously”. 

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Wind Farm CDM project in Kalpavalli Community Forest, Anantpur, AP, India
Country:India
State or province:Andhra Pradesh
Location of conflict:Anantpur district
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Deforestation
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Windmills
REDD/CDM
Specific commodities:Carbon offsets
Electricity
Land

Project Details and Actors

Project details

The CDM project Nallakonda wind farm comprises:

A 50MW wind park with 63 Enercon wind turbines (0.8 MW capacity/unit) covering around 49 acres (19.8 ha).

The project would result into 100,135 tCO2e of annual average emission reduction and 1,001,350 tCO2e of total emissions reductions over 10 years fixed crediting period.

Down to Earth reports (1): "For two decades people from eight villages in Kalpavalli region in Andhra Pradesh's Anantapur district laboured hard to turn a vast expanse of wasteland into a forest. But the effort seems to have gone waste as the green cover is being ruthlessly destroyed to set up wind farms. Enercon Wind Farms (Madhya Pradesh) Pvt Ltd, a group company of Enercon (India) Ltd, a subsidiary of the German company Enercon GmbH, is setting up a 20 MW wind energy project in the area."

Project area:19.8
Level of Investment:Unknown
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:11,000
Start of the conflict:27/03/2013
Company names or state enterprises:Tadas Wind Energy Limited (TWEL) from India - Developer
Relevant government actors:Indian Ministry of Environment & Forests (DNA)
Andhra Pradesh State Government
National Green Tribunal of India
International and Finance InstitutionsUnited Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change/CDM (UNFCC)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Society for Promotion of Wasteland Development
(http://www.spwd.org/)
The Timbaktu Collective
(http://www.timbaktu.org/)

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 ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Pastoralists
Forms of mobilization:Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns

Impacts

Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures

Outcome

Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (undecided)
Development of alternatives:To keep on with the reforestation and organic argiculture activities helded by the Timbaktu Collective and local villagers.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:It seems that the project still operates. There are no recent news about the CDM project linked to the wind farm. There are neither news about the National Green Tribunal resolution on this case.

Sources & Materials

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Environmental Ecologic

A CDM PROJECT DEFEATING ITS OWN PURPOSE – CASE STUDY

Published: 10/23/2012 Consulted: 01/26/2016

10/23/2012 Consulted: 01/26/2016
http://envecologic.com/2012/10/23/a-cdm-project-defeating-its-own-purpose-case-study/

The Hindu

Making a pig’s ear of it

Published on September 26, 2014 Consulted 01/26/2016

JANAKI LENIN
http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/blink/cover/making-a-pigs-ear-of-it/article6446221.ece

Carbon Market Watch

Nallakonda Wind Farm Project in India

Consulted: 01/26/2016
http://carbonmarketwatch.org/campaigns-issues/nallakonda-wind-farm-project-india/

Carbon Market Watch

Kalpavalli Community Conserved Forest harmed by CDM project

Consulted: 01/26/2016
http://carbonmarketwatch.org/kalpavalli-community-conserved-forest-harmed-by-cdm-project/

Times of India

When clean projects take a toll on environment

Jayashree Nandi | Jun 6, 2012 Consulted: 01/26/2016
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/developmental-issues/When-clean-projects-take-a-toll-on-environment/articleshow/13860609.cms

CDM documentation
http://cdm.unfccc.int/Projects/DB/LRQA%20Ltd1355495522.4/view

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

(1) M. Suchitra, Green energy takes toll on green cover

A forest generated by residents in Andhra Pradesh's Anantapur district is being destroyed to set up windmills. Down to Earth, 4 July 2015
https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/green-energy-takes-toll-on-green-cover-34164

Other documents

Nallakonda wind power project Source: Carbon Market Watch
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/WatchThis-6-Nallakonda-Hanging-in-the-wind.jpg

The Kalpavalli Community Forest Source: Carbon Market Watch
https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Timbaktu1-300x225.jpg

Other comments:On the civil society organizations involved:
Society for Promotion of Wasteland Development
(http://www.spwd.org/)
The origins of SPWD in 1982 can be traced to the need to do something about land degradation which was assuming alarming proportions by the late 70s early 80s. The understanding was that degraded lands could be reclaimed and put to more productive use. With a livelihood focus to natural resource management, SPWD focused on identification of needs of the local communities on one hand, documentation of technologies in the field and development of appropriate institutional mechanisms to deal with the concrete issues emerging on the ground.
The Timbaktu Collective
(http://www.timbaktu.org/)
Not-for-Profit Organisation initiated in 1990, working for sustainable development in the drought prone Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh (A.P.) INDIA.
The Collective works with some of most affected by chronic drought, unproductive land , unemployment and poor infrastructural facilities in the region, among them the landless, small and marginal farmers with special emphasis on women, children, youth and dalits.

Meta information

Contributor:Sofía Ávila
Last update07/11/2019

Images

 

Nallakonda wind power project

Source: Carbon Market Watch

The Kalpavalli Community Forest

Source: Carbon Market Watch