21 September 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Greece to build Europe’s largest windfarm in a bird reserve “Natura 2000″ on Skyros Island.
More Greek sovereign debt will be created to finance subsidies to the windfarm developer during 20 years. – Is that wise?
Save The Eagles International (STEI) is concerned that, if Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland are allowed to contract more debt to finance more windfarms, then more rare birds will be disturbed and/or killed. In addition, the eurozone will become increasingly unsustainable. Says STEI President, Mark Duchamp: “as a matter of record, Spain alone is currently paying € 8 billion a year in subsidies to support its green energy policy. Not only does this contribute to the budget deficit, hence to more Spanish sovereign debt being emitted every year, but the ruinous subsidies are poised to grow as more windfarms are planned.”
STEI was alerted to the plan of building 111 x 3 MW wind turbines on the south side of Skyros island, within a Special Protection Area. This SPA is breeding ground for the rare Skyrian horse, and harbours the largest colony of protected Eleonora’s falcons (falco eleonorae) in the country.
The Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS/Birdlife), the Hellenic Zoological Society, and the Hellenic Ecological Society published a report in 2010 in which they recommend that wind turbines be excluded from “SPAs and IBAs with sensitive qualifying species” (1). This includes the Skyros Island SPA (GR2420006: Skyros Oros Kochylas), as per map in the report, page 36. (1)
The Greek government disregarded this sensible advice: the large windfarm project was authorized within the SPA in question. Apparently, the European Commission did not object. Replying to a written question by a Member of the European Parliament, they wrote: “It will be the responsibility of Greek authorities to ensure proper enforcement of these provisions” – i.e. provisions regarding the location and operation of wind energy projects within Natura 2000 areas, which include SPAs.
Duchamp warns: “The EU Guidance Document on wind energy developments and Natura 2000 is effectively a road map showing developers how to obtain licenses to build (and to kill) in Europe’s natural reserves.” (2)
STEI is critical of Brussels decision to generally allow windfarms in Natura 2000 Areas. “Why bother to create natural reserves if you allow wind turbines to kill birds within them”, asks Duchamp? “It is absurd, and will lead to our protected bird species becoming extinct across Europe”.
(1) – Skyros Island SPA: see legend under the map on page 36 – “exclusion criterion 3”. http://files.ornithologiki.gr/docs/politiki/aiolika/prosdiorismos%20kai%20xartografisi.pdf
(2) – Guidance Document – Wind energy developments and Natura 2000
- Guidelines to reconcile wind energy development and biodiversity policy