Wind energy players in Greece are deeply troubled by a temporary court order blocking the development of a major wind farm project being developed by Italy’s Enel in south Evia’s Kafirea region.
The company, itself, remained restrained in its reaction to the decision, issued by the Council of State, Greece’s Supreme Administrative Court, noting that its acknowledges the ruling and will fully comply with its demands, while adding that it has fulfilled all licensing regulations and submitted to the court all documents required for the project’s recommencement.
Competitor RES firms were less subdued in their responses. “This is a negative message that does not at all contribute to the generation of a positive investment climate at a time when the country is seeking to become attractive to investors again,” one company official told energypress.
A final court verdict is expected in October. The project must remain stagant until then. Enel needed to clear a bureaucratic course requiring the approval of no less than 25 public sector agencies before gaining its environmental license for the project.
Enel, one of the world’s biggest renewable energy players operating locally through its Greek subsidiary Enel Green Power Hellas, has called for a special hearing in September, which could enable work on the investment in Evia, an island slightly northeast of the wider Athens area, to recommence sooner.
The court’s block was prompted after a local environmental protection group and three residents of Evia’s Karystos area legally challenged a series of 27 ministerial decisions made by the energy ministry to endorse the project’s development.
The plaintiffs argue that the project’s eight wind farms planned for development will be installed at forest land inducted into Natura 2000, a network of environmentally protected natural areas in the EU.
Enel’s Evia investment in Kafirea ranks as one of the biggest foreign investments to be made in Greece over the past few years. The project, initiated last June, is worth 300 million euros and planned to have a total capacity of 167 MW.