New guidelines for the construction of wind plants issued by the Italian region of Sicily have been strongly criticised by Italian renewable energy association Associazione Produttori Energia da Fonti Rinnovabili (APE) and wind energy association Associazione Nazionale Energia del Vento. Among the most worrisome measures contained in the region's new project rules is a ban on the construction of wind plants within five kilometres of villages with as little as five resident families. "Equally important is the fact that restrictions are to be applied to all those projects that are already underway and for which investments have been made, but that are still awaiting the environmental impact okay," notes APER's Cristian Lanfranconi. He says that APER hopes to discuss the provision with the region before resorting to legal measures to seek to alter the guidelines. Lanfranconi notes that the latest developments in Sicily provide continuing evidence of the need to institute a long awaited, single national site authorisation process, one of the provisions in a key 2003 renewable energy law that has yet to be implemented. Procedures now can vary significantly from region to region. At end-2006, Sicily had roughly 400 MW of installed wind capacity. The island had seen particularly strong growth after a 2004 moratorium imposed on the island of Sardinia.
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