Developer Fri-El forced to halt Sardinia project seeks damages

Bolzano-based wind developer Fri-El is seeking damages from Sardinia for losses suffered after the Sardinian authority put a stop to construction work on a wind farm the developer was in the process of building on the island. The halt imposed on Fri-El's project came after the regional government inserted a wind power moratorium in a broader law on the protection of the island's coastlands in November 2004. "We are quantifying the damages now," says Lotario Dittrich, one of Fri-El's lawyers. Work on Fri-El's Nulvi-Tergu wind plant is now underway after the regional government withdrew its request for the developer to stop construction last summer, just ahead of Fri-El's appeal hearing in front of the administrative court in Cagliari, Sardinia. Due to the region's last-minute withdrawal of its order to stop construction, the regional court said it could not rule on the constitutionality of Sardinia's wind energy moratorium, but it ordered the region to bear court costs of EUR 8000. Italy's national government, however, has contested the Sardinian block on wind development with the country's Constitutional Court.