Enel’s Evia wind farm case highlights investment hurdles

A legal case challenging renewable energy facility licenses issued by Greek authorities to Italy’s Enel for the development of what would be Greece’s biggest wind farm, in Evia, the country’s second largest island, slighly northeast of wider Athens, is now underway, once again bringing to the fore the obstacles and delays faced by major investments, especially ones concerning wind energy farm development.

The case was filed at the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, by three island residents representing a local environmental protection group. Construction of the Evia project, an investment worth 300 million euros, began last summer, on June 28, but was interrupted on August 11, when the Supreme Administrative Court issued a ruling calling for the immediate temporary suspension of all work on the project.

It is fully licensed, having obtained permits from various local authorities, including town planning, environmental and archaeological.

This court decision prompted the cancellation of an official ceremony in Evia, intended to mark the commencement of work. The ceremony was to be attended by the Greek and Italian prime ministers, as part of the Italian leader Paolo Gentiloni’s recent visit to Greece.

The Evia project, being developed by Enel’s Greek subsidiary, Enel Green Power Hellas, in Kafirea, southern Evia, is scheduled to be completed in the first half of 2019. If finalized, it will represent Greece’s biggest wind farm possessing an annual production capacity of 483 GWh, cover the electricity needs of 129,000 households, and cut CO2 emissions by 433,000 tons per year.

The project plan entails linking the wind farm with a 150 kV submarine cable to transmit energy to the mainland.