Albania approves controversial wind farm
I had to read this a couple of times. If the information below is accurate, make your own feelings known about this controversial subject!
ALbania Approves Controversial Wind Farm
Original source is provided at end of article.
A few weeks ahead of crucial elections in Albania, the government has quietly approved the construction of Europe’s potentially biggest onshore wind-farm, a project that environmentalist warn could wreak havoc on the unspoiled coastline and others say could be a breach of law.
The government has transferred more than 97 hectares of land to Italy’s Moncada Energy Group including a one kilometre buffer zone through which its Albanian subsidiary, Enpower Albania, aims to build a 500-megawatt wind farm in the country’s south.
A BIRN investigation in December 2008 showed that the project risked wrecking one of Europe’s last unspoiled environments by allowing the construction of a wind farm on a coastal nature reserve and on national park territory.
The decision to grant the land and the subsequent environmental permit were considered illegal under Albanian laws aimed at protecting natural reserves.
Environmental groups are outraged over the Environment Ministry’s decision to issue a permit for the wind farm on the Karaburun peninsula – the site of the nature reserve park – as this is one of the most pristine sites in the Mediterranean.
The project will include the construction of a transmission line running from the port of Vlora in Albania to the Italian port of Brindisi. A 400kV power cable, stretching 145km under the Adriatic at a depth of over 900 metres, will allow electricity to be transmitted in either direction. The interconnection line and the wind farm have an estimated cost of 1.25 billion euros. Construction is expected to start in 2010.
Experts consider the Karaburun peninsula, which covers 62 square kilometres close to the city of Vlora, alongside the adjunct Llogara national park, one of the most important natural sites in the Mediterranean.
While presently designated a managed nature reserve, a series of studies has proposed upgrading the whole area into a national park. These include the MedWetCoast project of 2006, the Biodiversity-Strategic Action Plan of 2002, the Coastal Zone Action Plan for the Albanian coast of 1996, and the report on the activity of “Special Protected Areas and Implantation of SPA Protocol” for Albania of 1996.
Genuario Belmonte, professor of Marine Biology at the University of Salento in southern Italy, describes Karaburun as an unspoiled paradise. “Karaburun is a mythical place, a postcard of what the Mediterranean used to be,” Belmonte tells Balkan Insight. “The peninsula is the best asset for the region as a way to attract tourists from the European Union.”
23 June 2009