Gorayeb, A.; Mendes, J.S.; Meireles, A.J.A.; Silva, E.V.; Brannstrom, C., and Freitas, A.L.R. 2016. Wind-energy development causes social impacts in coastal Ceará state, Brazil: The case of the Xavier community. In: Vila-Concejo, A.; Bruce, E.; Kennedy, D.M., and McCarroll, R.J. (eds.), Proceedings of the 14th International Coastal Symposium (Sydney, Australia). Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue, No. 75, pp. 383–387. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
A significant increase in wind-power generation has occurred since 2008 in coastal regions of northeastern Brazil. Many wind farms have been erected on territories claimed by traditional communities, which have suffered changes in how they obtain resources as a consequence. Here we study the Xavier community, a settlement of 20 families and 66 people, located in the Camocim municipality of Ceará state. Xavier residents subsist on extractive activities such artisanal (non-mechanized) fishing, shellfish collection, and crop cultivation. But in 2009 one of Ceará's largest wind farms was established approximately 200 meters from the settlement. Although some may see these projects as low impact, wind farms in Ceará are being implemented in areas that are environmentally unstable, located within territories claimed by traditional communities, negatively affecting their livelihoods. This paper analyzes the social impacts caused by the establishment of the wind farm through participant observation, group workshops, and analysis of textual materials. Several problems are described, including the absence of basic infrastructure and employment; road blockages; privatization of common resources; noise from turbines; constant fear of accidents involving turbines; internal conflicts among Xavier residents caused after the implementation of the wind farm; and burial of lakes. Wind-farm construction negatively influenced this traditional community by threatening territory, cultural traditions, and food security.