Feeds

Investigation into Mafia control of Italian windfarm biz

In Sicily, even the wind turbines are silent

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS
Crumb? Pixel? ALIEN? Better, it's a comet-catcher!
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.