A wind farm project in a mountainous region in western Greece has been suspended due to the possible negative impact on the habitats of protected species of vultures. The authorities opted for the conservation of bird habitats and issued negative opinions on the investment.
The plan for a wind farm in the Acarnanian Mountains was rejected, as the site is in an area significant for endangered species of vultures. The Greek Ministry of Environment and Energy and the Natural Environment and Climate Change Organization (NECCA or, in Greek, OFIPEKA) issued negative opinions.
The wind farm was supposed to consist of seven 550 kW turbines, at an altitude of 700 meters above sea level on Mount Kalovuni in the Acarnanian mountain range in the western part of the country.
The authorities rejected the environmental impact study because they concluded that the ecological integrity of areas important for birds cannot be preserved. The area is part of the European Natura 2000 network.
One of the reasons is that the system for preventing birds from colliding with wind turbines, proposed by the investor, wasn’t deemed efficient enough for the protected vultures, energypress reported.
The ministry announced the project would directly affect bird habitats and natural landscape. The national species action plan for the protection of vultures should be implemented in an area within the aforementioned mountain range, called Acarnanica in Greek. The construction and operation of the wind farm are thus inconsistent with the goals.
There are already several wind turbines in the region
Ornithologists welcomed the decision and pointed out it is a precedent as permits have been granted for several wind farm projects in the area, and a certain number of turbines are installed already.
They pointed out it is rare in Greece that science and common sense prevail in environmental permitting.
The mountains are home to the largest colonies of vultures, and in the period from October to May, over 60 pairs were counted, according to the Hellenic Ornithological Society.
Wind turbines threaten last Egyptian vultures in the Balkans
Ornithologists warned of two more projects located in unsuitable locations, currently undergoing public consultations.
There is an initiative to place wind turbines in a place on the Greek-Bulgarian border that is too close to an area where Egyptian vultures and golden eagles nest.
The relevant national species action plan was not considered in planning for the wind farm
Another project that threatens the survival of the rare Egyptian vultures is in the Kompsatos valley. The ornithological society said the project was relaunched after being dropped a year and a half ago because the national species action plan has not been considered.
Greece has two national species action plans in place to improve the conservation status of the Egyptian vulture, griffon vulture, cinereous vulture, and bearded vulture.