After talking to the organization in charge of defending the La Guajira community’s interests during the growth of their involvement in Colombia’s energy generation business we read their book and came back with more questions. The organization was kind enough to send most of the answers in video in the shape of an interview, we really appreciate that they took the time to really help us figure out and understand the problem.
They sent 6 videos where they explain to us the environmental, social and economic consequences they foresee coming after all the wind farms are finally installed, which include almost 20 different wind farms owned by the different companies, most of them multi nationals.
We learned that these windfarms will put not only the community in a very vulnerable state but also the environment around them. One example they gave us is their fear for the big flamingo community that migrates to this region every year, some wind farms are planned to be installed right where they nest once a year.
The second lesson we learned was that economically, the local community really holds the loosing hand. Many of these companies negotiated with the government directly, governments that will receive compensation but the people who are actually getting negatively affected will probably won’t see any of it.
The third and most interesting point they made was this question; If the local community owns the land, the water, the soil, do they also own the wind?
I remember when I was very young my grandmother once mentioned the first time someone said that people would sell water she though it was nuts, how could you? Water is everywhere, no one owns it so how could you sell it? That’s exactly how we felt when we heard this question. Who owns the wind and can people charge for it? This question made us question our own project since for our “Raiki tree” to work we need strong winds, strong winds that only occur in certain regions, so what if one day wind is considered a very expensive commodity like oil is today? Would that raise the cost of our product and make it a very expensive product to have and to install since all the regions with high winds be impossible to pay for?
Special thanks to Camilo Gonzalez Posso and Joanna Barney from Indepaz.