Construction despite barriers

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While Greece continues to work out its deadlock of wind power development -- due to too little grid, too many developers and too much bureaucracy -- a handful of companies put up 96 MW in 2003.

The most impressive of these was a 52.65 MW wind farm on the ridgeback of the remote Thracian mountains in the extreme northeast of the country, not far from the Bulgarian border. Not only is the location so remote that many of the inhabitants still do not have electricity, but the developers managed to build it in under a year -- record time for what is Greece's largest wind farm to date.

The project developers, International Wind Parks of Thrace SA and Wind Parks of Thrace SA -- both co-owned by the large Greek contractor International Constructional SA and Damco Energy SA -- worked closely with Danish turbine supplier NEG Micon to lay the infrastructure and determine logistics for the first three phases of the project, which consisted of 51, 900 kW turbines. The project was online in April. An eight-turbine extension was then added with Nordex 800 kW turbines at the end of the year.

Otherwise, among other small activity, construction concern Rokas put up more Danish Bonus turbines and Danish utility Energi E2 bought in to a 15 MW project on Evia (Euboia), the long, windy island close to Athens.

According to Ioannis Tsipouridis of the Greek wind energy association, new legislation has been passed to simplify licensing procedures, but the results are yet to be seen. He projects that development will continue to move slowly until new grids are erected. There are around 1500 MW of wind projects granted building permits or with "positive recommendations" for permits, but they are unable to enter construction because of the lack of grid capacity.

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