Vaud’s department of the interior gave its blessing to a 43-million-franc wind farm in the rural community of Sainte-Croix, although appeals are still possible to the cantonal administrative court and beyond that to the country’s supreme court.
Utility company Romandie Energie hopes to erect six wind turbines but agreed to scrap a seventh one near the village in the Jura Mountains after concerns were raised about its visual impact.
The company says the turbines would generate 22 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, enough to power 6,000 homes, or the entire municipality of Sainte-Croix, industry included.
A small majority of voters said yes to the wind generators in a non-binding vote on Sunday, with 1,103 votes for and 966 against, the ATS news agency reported.
The Vaud cantonal government welcomed the result of consultation which it said permitted the canton to “pursue its policy of promoting renewable energy”.
The project is opposed by Pro Crêtes, a group promoting the protection of the natural environment in the Jura Mountains.
But Romandie Energie hopes the approval process it went through will serve as a model that can aid quicker reviews of nine other wind projects it has in Vaud.
Renewable energy has taken on greater importance in Switzerland following a government decision to phase out nuclear power plants, which currently produce around 40 percent of the country’s electricity.
The last nuclear plant is scheduled to go off line in 2034.