Offshore: Row over Sardinia project

Governor opposes offshore station.

The government of the Italian island of Sardinia has joined opponents of a 240-320 MW offshore wind farm proposed for the Gulf of Oristana. Sardinia-based firm Is Arenas Renewables Energies (IARE) is behind the project, which has already stirred up protests and petitions from locals seeking to prevent its construction. Regional governor Ugo Cappellacci says the site, off the coast of Is Arenas, is in an area that is "one of the most beautiful postcards of our island".

Other opponents point to concerns about the impact on the local fishing industry. The proposal is in an early stage, but IARE director Stefano Rizzi says that the formation of the coast means the plant would be barely visible from land and that it is also sited in an area little used by tourists or the local population.

IARE chose the site for the wind resources, as well as the lack of any specific prohibitions for constructing and for the relatively shallow sea depths, which range from 15 to 30 metres. The company has sought a preliminary marine concession from the Oristana port authority, which is necessary both to submit a definitive proposal and to start the full-scale authorisation process.

The plant is expected to consist of 80 turbines at 3-4 MW each. Rizzi says the firm will talk with opponents to help allay fears and improve the project. The wind farm is the first offshore facility proposed for Sardinia, which is potentially seen as one of Italy's most attractive regions for offshore generation.

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