Wind farm seized by Italian police

ITALY: A 90MW wind farm is among the property seized by anti-mafia investigators investigating money laundering in southern Italy.

According to reports, Italian police have confiscated the project in Calabria as well as making a number of arrests as part of an investigation into money laundering through renewable energy projects.

A number of concerns have been raised in recent years about mafia involvement in the Italian wind sector. Previous investigations uncovered criminal or suspected criminal activities in the regions of Sardinia, Sicily, Campania, Apulia and Calabria.

In 2008, Windpower Monthly wrote the Isola Capo Rizzutto project was to be 120MW. At the time there was little information available about the developers. The plant seized has a capacity of 96MW and uses Enercon 2MW turbines.

In 2010, Italian environmental association Legambiente issued a report looking at illicit activities in the sector.

It was designed to set the record straight after months of media reports closely associated the country's wind business with criminal activity.

The report said: "Despite the invasive presence in these regions of mafia-type organisations and the obvious interests of those who look for every useful occasion to illegally make a profit, wind is by far the economic sector least conditioned by criminal phenomena and illegal activity in general."