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Meeting against Wind Farms on Corfu

March 17, 2011

Wednesday 30 March at 18.00 there will be a meeting against Wind Farms, organized by the Association of unions and citizens of northern Corfu and the Diapontia islands. The meeting will be held at the meeting room of the Chamber of Commerce (Epimelitirio).

You can download the folder in Greek here. Folder against winfarms in greek

Here is a translation of the folder published by the Association:

No to wind farms on Corfu folder coverNO

To the Sea Wind Farm

BECAUSE

Industrial Sea Wind Farms

  • DESTROY the environment and our health
  • DESTROY fishing and shipping
  • DESTROY tourism

And finally ….

even DESTROY our Democracy”!

Who we are

The “Association of unions and citizens of northern Corfu and the Diapontia islands” was formed in the fall of 2009 and its aim is to prevent the creation of an offshore wind farm in north-west Corfu. The Association organized several meetings, collected information, set up a memorandum opposing the construction, collected thousands of signatures of citizens and resolutions of the local governments and many Corfiot organizations against the creation of the windmill farm in the area. Despite all this, the government seems to insist on pushing through with its plans and tries to deceive and disorientate by breaking up the plan into “stages”.

Diapontia islands

New developments

There are recent developments that force us to reconsider our attitude and rephrase our arguments:

  • First of all there is the ministerial decree (it’s NOT EVEN a law) called Fast Track, which essentially promises any big investor a permit within a very short period (4-5 months), bypassing all existing (environmental, administrative etc) legislation!
  • After the last local elections and the restructuring of municipalities, the whole of Corfu is now one municipality, so what used to be a local problem is now a problem of the whole island.
  • Already an animated and heated discussion is underway concerning the installation of wind turbines on the Pantokrator.

Why we are against the Wind Farm

Wind turbine size comparison

Wind turbine size comparison

First of all because wind energy, in the way that they want to implement it (industrial wind farms) IS NOT GREEN!!! We need to explain this: Electric energy cannot be stored. Therefore, the production of electric energy must be equal to the consumption at all times. To achieve this, the large coal plants are always working at constant power, to provide the “base load” that is the amount of energy needed at all times, day and night. When demand rises (in the morning when people wake up and factories start their operation) natural gas and hydroelectric plants are “fired up” to keep the balance of the network. Wind farms only produce energy when the wind is blowing and even then with constant fluctuations and so can only be used in few occasions [1]. So the argument of “putting up more wind farms to save the people near coal plants from dying of cancer” collapses. Nowhere in the world has a thermoelectric plant been shut down because of the installation of renewable energy plants, and it’s never going to happen, as wind farms by definition cannot provide the continuous and constant power essential to the system [2].

Secondly, wind energy is not free as the wind lobby and their paid parrots claim. On the contrary, it’s very expensive and the cost will be paid by all of us! So called “Green” energy is bought by the state at a subsidized price, and this subsidy is paid by consumers through the “special renewable energy fee” (check out a recent electricity bill). This fee went up in 2010 by a whopping 1700% for professional use and if we consider how many “renewable energy” plants are in the planning, it will keep going up at a very fast rate. Especially as far as wind farms are concerned, many European countries have stopped the construction of new offshore win farms as their maintenance turns out to be many times more expensive than hat was predicted.

Scream against wind farmsOn the other hand, the construction of this wind farm will have a huge impact on the environment and on the health of locals. The wind turbines will totally disrupt the marine ecosystem of the area with an immediate impact on sea vegetation, fish (and fishermen), sea mammals and sea birds. The consequences due to visual, sound and electromagnetic pollution will also be considerable.  We will mention only a few health problems such as dizziness, headaches, insomnia, deterioration of cardiovascular conditions, psychological problems [3] and cancer [4]. Boat routes will also be seriously disrupted as navigation is prohibited at some distance from the wind turbines (according to some, two nautical miles [5])!

Northwestern Corfu is an area not overcome by mass, all-inclusive tourism. On the contrary, tourism here depends on small hotels and apartments, personal contact with the guests, alternative and eco-friendly forms of tourism such as walking, cycling, meditation etc. This is a viable model of touristic development that could serve as a model for the rest of the island. The construction of the wind farm will automatically transform the area into an industrial park and wipe out tourism. Do you know anyone who spend their holidays in an industrial region? And let’s not even talk about the loss of land value… We are not just concerned about ourselves, but we demand that the economic devastation of thousands of families and the impact this will have on the economy of the whole island be included in the “cost calculations” of this “green” development!

man eating eurosSo, if wind farms do not produce useful energy and cause such big problems, why is there such a sudden turn towards “Green” development, with state initiatives, subsidies, advertisements and constant propaganda? Could it be that some people are going to make a lot of money? Wind farms are heavily subsidized (70-80%) by the EU [6]. There are already many cases known in Europe, where the Mafia was exploiting wind farms and pocketing the subsidies. The fact that most wind turbines on Sicily are located near the village of Corleone (home of the Godfather) [7] may offer a hint…

Alternative solutions

It is true that, if we want to survive as a human species on this planet, we will have to stop plundering the Earth’s resources in fossil fuels and turn to renewable energy sources such as sun, wind, sea currents, waste biomass and others. But we don’t have to do it in the way dictated by the powers that be. One solution would be to subsidize individuals, companies and communities to implement renewable energy sources on a small scale (photovoltaic, small wind turbines, biogas etc).

Another option would be to simply reduce our energy consumption. E.g. insulate our homes, turn off the lights and air conditioning when we leave a room, cycle more, walk to the kiosk instead of using our car. Wouldn’t this be a much simpler, more efficient, permanent and costless solution?

The issue of Democracy

In the end, the issue of wind farms, but also of all grand, pharaonic projects being promoted on our island and in the rest of the country is also political.

Is it acceptable for the State to ignore thousands of signatures and resolutions by local organizations, municipal and regional governments all opposed to the project and to push through with its plans no matter what?

And to put it more generally, is it democratic, ethical and legitimate to destroy the natural, social, cultural and economic reserves of the country for the profit of multinationals and big contractors?

Sources

[1] Why wind energy is useless,

http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/tech-mainmenu-30/energy/4982-wind-power-an-ill-wind-blowing

[2] Andonis Christofidis and Nikos Mamasis, comments on the law for renewable energy sources, http://www.itia.ntua.gr/getfile/945/1/documents/2010-01-sxolia-nomosxedio-aiolikis.pdf

[3] Environmental effects of wind power,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_effects_of_wind_power#Effects_of_noise

[4] Electromagnetic radiation and health,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_radiation_and_health

[5]: Navigation near offshore installations of renewable energy sources,

http://www.simsl.com/Risk-Alerts/RA02NavigationOREI.pdf

[6] Financial and fiscal profits from wind farms,

http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/tech-mainmenu-30/energy/4983-wind-power-ii-the-wind-farm-eruption

[7] Mafia exploiting EU subsidies for wind farms,,

http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php;id=119854

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. John Moore permalink
    April 15, 2011 2:46 pm

    They say that wind farms off the coast of the UK only work at about 23% efficiency so a very expensive unsightly luxury.

  2. April 15, 2011 8:08 pm

    Thanks for the comment!

    23% sounds like a reasonable number! In addition, maintenance of offshore wind farms is VERY expensive, plus there is the big issue of the fluctuations in produced power (due to fluctuating wind) that cannot be absorbed by the grid. All in all I seriously doubt if wind farms contribute ANYTHING at all, except of course to some people’s pockets….!
    Next week I hope to have a small presentation ready about “Why industrial wind farms do NOT produce green energy”.
    I will keep you informed!

  3. The Dude permalink
    June 3, 2011 3:42 am

    Keep in mind these are the Model T’s of Wind Turbines. As they evolve the aesthetic qualities will improve as well as the efficiency. You people need to think in the long term. harnessing the wind is important for our future (the world) and more importantly the future that your children will live in.

    • August 11, 2011 9:45 am

      Excuse me but I do not understand how a 180 meter high monster can “improve its aesthetic qualities”….!

      I AM thinking in the long term. I am not against wind power, I am against big corporations controlling the power and deciding to put giant coinstructions wherever they like without asking anyone, using as an excuse a hollow call to “turn to Green energy”. I am trying to show people that this way of implemeting giant windfarms does NOT produce green energy at any level. It only produces turnover, tax cuts and subsidies for the corporations building them!

      My proposal is that we should start thinking locally and on a small scale about energy. First of all we must change our habits so we consume less energy and this is by far the most difficult step in our society addicted to over-consumption!
      After that we can explore many technically feasible alternatives to produce power locally, in a way that fits each area and is truly environment-friendly. I am thinkining about sun and air on a small scale, small hydroelectric, biogas form organic waste and many more….

  4. March 2, 2012 1:27 pm

    Great post thanks for sharing, i think wind farms can really put tourists off holidaying in certain places sometime! Good to know, thanks for the share.

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