Feeds

Investigation into Mafia control of Italian windfarm biz

In Sicily, even the wind turbines are silent

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Mafia-busting Italian magistrates have launched a major investigation into crooked windfarm projects in Sicily, according to reports. It is suggested that large sums in government support have been collected for wind power stations which in many cases produce no electricity.

The Financial Times reported on the green energy scandals in Sicily over the weekend. Italy has a very strong system of incentives for wind power, in which guaranteed prices of €180 ($240, £160) per kilowatt-hour are offered to producers. A normal European retail price for electricity is in the region of 10p.

These highly lucrative prices must often be paid even if no electricity is actually being produced - as when a wind farm exists but has no grid connection, or (in the case of Sicily) when power cannot be sold on the Italian mainland owing to limited capacity on undersea cables.

Meanwhile, with large sums of money at stake, no need in some cases to build a genuinely functional plant to qualify for the cash - and every project heavily dependent on local-government permits and votes - wind power is seen as a perfect Mafia opportunity.

“It is a refined system of connections to business and politicians. A handful of people control the wind sector. Many companies exist but it is the same people behind them,” Palermo anti-corruption prosecutor Roberto Scarpinato told the FT. "Developers got public money to build wind farms which did not produce electricity.”

“Enough!” adds Rossana Interlandi, head of the Sicilian environment department. “Many speculators [have] made money on the backs of the government.”

The FT reports that the Mafia have ways of ensuring that nobody else gets in on the green-power bonanza in their territory. It appears that two wind towers were mysteriously destroyed after being shipped into the Sicilian port of Trapani from Northern Europe.

Along with Cosa Nostra in Sicily, equivalent groups such as the 'Ndrangheta in neighbouring Calabria are though to have achieved a similar grip on the wind industry across the Italian south.

The situation is now perceived as being so corrupt that there is a freeze on all new wind farms in Sicily, Calabria and Basilicata, and now a major Sicilian investigation is under way.

“Sicily is blessed with sun and wind," a nameless local official told the pink 'un, "but it is also cursed by the Mafia.”

Local businessman Salvatore Moncada puts it differently.

“The south has wind and sun but no proper rules,” he complains. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Microsoft's anti-bug breakthrough: Wire devs to BRAIN SCANNERS
Clippy: It looks your hands are shaking, are you sure you want to commit this code?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.