Feeds

Investigation into Mafia control of Italian windfarm biz

In Sicily, even the wind turbines are silent

Top three mobile application threats

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. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.