Sunday, October 11, 2009

How to destroy a paradise. And the dream of it

If you want to visit this corner of paradise, hurry up: it's about to be destroyed by the latest plan of a foreign energy corporation.

There is a not-better-identified company, seemingly from Montecarlo but with strong bonds in Luxembourg, that has secretely applied for the permission to build a huge wind power plant all over Sardinian western coast. If approved, it will frustrate the beautiful landscapes of Is Arenas, Torre del Pozzo, S'Archittu, Santa Caterina di Pittinuri.

For the first time in Italian political history (well, after the Constitution of 1948), all parties agree in fighting this plan and the President of the Region, Ugo Cappellacci, is said he will not grant such permission. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be as easy: at a national level, our legislator has just made a new law that deprives regional politicians of any power on renewable energy matters. What a coincidence.

Are Sardinian people against renewable energy? Absolutely not: the island is full of allowed areas where it's possible to build wind and solar power plants.

Locals have been demonstrating and fighting with every legal means at their disposal, will it be enough? 
I can't believe there is the chance I won't be able to spend my ritual week a year stretched out on my favourite beach, anymore.


Anonymous said...

that place doesn't look that nice. why not destroy it.

AngelaCorrias said...

What a lovely comment by some anonymous who's never been to "that place". Good luck.

SBA said...

I know your tag line says you may disapprove, but defend the right to say.... (not the exact quote), however, I'd delete the anonymous comment in a minute. That person gave up any rights to speak since they left no name, profile etc. It's a nasty 'drive-by' comment that adds no value. Normally If there was a name it could at least serve to show their ignorance.

More on topic, I've seen lovely places like that in Italy and elsewhere. Unfortunately, such places to renew your spirit may be damaged before "we" wake up and do what's right.

AngelaCorrias said...

SBA, as you said, the anonymous comment is wrong, not only for the tone but because it's anonymous. I publish all comments unless they are offensive, but maybe I should review my policy.

On the topic, sadly in Sardinia many damages are going on: half of the island is heavily polluted by military experiments with depleted uranium, so that it's becoming impossible for farmers (and people in general) to live and work there. These experiments are not only making lands polluted and causing birth defects and fatal cancers in vets and others exposed to it, but they are also destroying many amenities of that area.

As for this wind power plant, it's the umpteenth case of coruption: according to the law they should build the plants 20 miles from the coast, instead they had from the minister the permission to build on the coast. Why? Because of the owner's friendship with the minister. Unfortunately all demos will turn perfectly useless when it comes to such level of corruption. Still worth it to talk about it, though.
Thanks for stopping by!

Caitlin said...

Building wind turbines would not necessarily 'destroy' the area. I think wind turbines are quite beautiful with a stately grace all of their own. Also, it is entirely possible to use the land around the turbines for other things - it's not a zero-sum game.

If there are better sites for the wind farm that's great, but are there really? They can't just be put in any vacant land. They need, you know, wind.

Probably the reason that renewable energy planning is reserved for the national government is because we desperately need to decarbonise our economies and building alternative energy supplies quickly and NIMBYism really can't be allowed to stand in the way. Otherwise we'll be sacrificing a lot more than a single beach.

I appreciate it can be upsetting and it does look like a lovely place, but we all need to do our part.

AngelaCorrias said...

Thanks for your comment, Caitlin. I understand what you mean, in fact I'm totally in favour of renewable energies and at the beginning I didn't even agree with the grassroots protest. However, when I've seen the technical project I started doubting about their good intentions. First of all, I'd like to say that Sardinia is very polluted, not only by carbon by also by military experiments with depleted uranium that are making a huge area impossible to live in, so you can imagine, we want some clean energy. Also, it's very windy everywhere and there are many deserts where they could build not only wind power plants but also solar power ones. Moreover, according to the law, they can only build 20 miles off shore, while this project wants to start building 1 mile off shore.
Maybe from the pictures it's not really possible to see it, but the beaches involved are very small, and wind power plants 1 mile away will make them impracticable. Sardinia's western coast is quite wide, and they chose to build the plants along the only five beaches that are very popular because safe and easy to reach.
Sardinia's coasts are being ruined by savage buildings and between this fact and private beaches of so-called VIPs, we are getting to the point that "normal" people will have to go abroad to go to the beach. I live in London, and I come here only for holiday, so I could easily go somewhere else, but the small restaurants along this coast live up entirely with the income coming from the summer months.
Although the project doesn't comply with the law and with environmental priorities either because there are attempts to recreate almost extint marine fauna, unfortunately the company's CEO seems to be a friend of the minister's and if I know how things work in Italy, he'll get the concession anyway.
The Public Prosecutor's office opened an investigation because there seem to be financial irregularities, but we know, in Italy corruption and bribe is quite normal, this will just be one of the many cases.
Thanks for stopping by, I'll update as I have some more news.

maulwurf said...

hi everybody. since i was born i spend months in this place and first of all I need to specify that it is not a case of nimby!
you can think that wind turbines are quite beautiful but maybe it doesen't work so everywhere. I mean: try to imagine a coast made of many little bays, than imagine 80 turbines placed less than a mile from the coast and up between 120 and 130meters from the water (add also 2 cabins: one on the water and one on the beach). you have also to think about that each turbine needs 50meters of undercut with reinforced concrete and three beds of grit...all that destroying a big posidonian bed (posidonian is not an ornamental plant but a plant who cares the health of the habitat). think also about that sardinia already produces enough energy and already has power plants and many regional projects to improve renewable energies. yes, someone may find wind turbines beautiful but maybe imaging that on a grey north sea not in a place where every year thousands of strangers spend dream holidays and where everything will die after this power plant...
last thing: the problem is not "beautiful or not beautiful", everything has to be make in the right place and in the right way, there is anything universally good.
p.s. angela, if you need more photos of s'archittu i can send you

AngelaCorrias said...

Yes please, send them away, I'll update as soon as I have some news about it. I honestly can't imagine where they are going to build all that in those small beaches and bays...
Thanks for your comment!

Caitlin said...

It sounds like you know a lot about the specifics of this project, which I must admit I don't. It's nothing new in Italian politics and development plannning for things not to be done in accordance with the law, and I'm not condoning that for a moment. Especially with unrestrained building, which I think is worse and has already ruined places like the Costa de Sol.

That said, I don't really understand why Italy would have a rule saying that wind farms have to be inland - coastal areas are generally good sites. Also, I've been up close and personal with a few turbines and a mile away is quite a distance - you can't really hear them at that distance. I do wonder if it really be as bad as the protesters are saying.

I wonder what a group like Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace or RSPB would say.

AngelaCorrias said...

Hi Caitlin,

knowing the place and the project, I can assure you that it is as bad as protesters are saying. It will completely violate the landscape and the environment.
In Sardinia there's already plenty of wind power plants and also penty of other space where it could be built, so this company can just opt for those areas.
The coast where they want to build is one of the few left public where families like to go for the safety of the waters, it's small and 80 wind turbines in those bays will mean no space left for people. With all the space available in the island, I think this is a real shame.
Thanks for your comment!

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