The Italian arm of Greenpeace is protesting against the region of Sardinia's anti-wind energy policy. In April, it staged a two-day, non-competitive "marathon" starring Francesco Galanzino -- who has run the Sahara, Gobi, and Altacama deserts as well as a marathon at the North Pole to raise the alarm about global warming -- and other long distance runners. They ran through 50 kilometres of both operational wind farms and the site for a 160 MW project that was blocked by the region but is supported by the towns that would host it. A moratorium on wind projects in wind-rich Sardinia ran out last year, but a current 550 MW limit on wind capacity provides little room for growth, given that 346 MW is already operating. The region's energy and environmental plan approved last August also stipulates that wind plants must be built near industrial areas and favours the further development of coal-powered energy. If all goes according to the region's plan, Francesco Tedesco, head of Greenpeace Italia's climate and energy campaign, Tedesco notes that Sardinia is on track to have double the emissions of carbon dioxide called for in the Kyoto Treaty in 2015. At the same time, Sardinia's objectives for the development of photovoltaic and other renewable sources are seen as unrealistic, particularly given its huge wind resource. Greenpeace argues that wind energy could have a positive impact on local employment while covering only a small amount of the island's territory. "Blocking wind energy in Sardinia is equivalent to blocking it in Italy," says Tedesco, Sardinia's 2002 energy plan had set an objective of 2000 MW for wind energy while industry players see the possibility of as much as 3000 MW.
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