Greeks Rally Against Subsidised Wind Power & Wind Industry’s Unlawful Land Grabs

Notis Marias addressing citizens out to defend their community.

***

The Greeks can claim many things: weird and wonderful mythical gods and creatures (think Zeus and Poseidon, Pan and the Minotaur); deep thinking philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle; and mathematicians well ahead of their time, think Archimedes and his bath-time ‘Eureka’ moment.

Another claim worth crowing about is their ‘get-your-hands-dirty’ take on democracy, requiring worldly erudition and oral persuasion.

600 years before the world’s most famous Red Sea pedestrian set foot in the Holy Land and started upsetting the Romans among others, the Greeks had already built an institution based on open public debates.

The ecclesia or ekklesia was where all male citizens would assemble in ancient Athens to thrash out the City State’s policies on everything from military strategy, waging war and electing the officials of state. Persuading a crowd numbering 6,000 or more of your fellow citizens in the days before amplification and giant screen billboard TVs must have taken some kind of oratory skill. No doubt heckling from the mob would have made it all the harder.

Following that fine Greek tradition, on 23 April Euro parliamentarian Notis Marias took to the stump to address a crowd rallying in defence of the Natura protected area of Southern Karystia, Euboea.

The video of the rally appears below but for those not gifted in Greek, here’s an English translation of Notis’s stirring speech.

Association for the Protection of the Environment of Southern Karystia

Greetings to the residents of Southern Karystia.

A protest meeting first of all against the Troika. Against those who want to seize our land. Against those who present themselves as lenders and want to take our land as collateral.

We greet the struggle of the stockbreeders, the farmers, the beekeepers, who want to see real development where we live, development of the primary sector, which can give us prospects for the future.

We greet the struggle of those who work in the tourist sector in a region where there is tourist development, in a region that can develop even further. We greet the struggle of the proprietors who have their own land and who don’t want, don’t accept, don’t consent, to what the Greek state is about to do, seizing their land, representing their land as supposedly forest land, and in their next move handing it over to TAIPED (fund for utilization of private property in the public sector) so that it can be sold to the lenders. This is the reality.

We greet the struggle of those who want real development in our country but don’t want a takeover of the mountain ranges, of our mountains, by the industries of the wind parks which for a mess of pottage want to establish themselves. They have already occupied the mountaintops in all of Greece. They are installed illegally and struggle supposedly for development, but in reality all they do is pocket the subsidies. Those are the facts of the matter.

I come here to be with you and support you in your struggle and to tell you that from tomorrow the subject will come up in the European Parliament. We will raise the subject immediately. Let the European Union face up to its responsibilities, because the subsidies that are given are from the NSRF (National Strategic Reference Framework). They are European money. And it is up to them to tell us: is there a Natural system in this area, which is supposed to be protected by the regulations of the European Union?

Let them make it clear whether they are with the residents, whether they are with the citizens, whether they are with Greece, or whether they want to be with the multinationals, whether they want to be with those who wish to seize our land, whether they want to subsidize those who really think they can do whatever they like in Greece.

Because the moment of truth must come, when they take a position, responsibly. So the first thing that will happen on my part – because I have said in the European Parliament that I play on the Greek national team: I am not playing party politics and I struggle for the Greek people – is that we will raise the matter with a question to the Commission itself. And secondly I call on you to contact the Committee on Petitions of the European Parliament – we have taken many different issues to it – so that you can become a presence. The voice of the residents of Southern Karystia must be heard in the European Parliament to put an end to this nonsense. We are not going to let the big multinationals grab our land. The battle is going to be fought by all of us united together.

But to give some information, very simply, about what is going to happen, because some people don’t believe it.

What is going to happen is that wind parks are going to be constructed that will generate 800 megawatts of electricity. They will generate twice as as much electrical energy as the power station in Aliveri. Do you understand what is going to happen? Because Aliveri produces 400 megawatts.

Secondly, Denmark, which is regarded as the country that has the most wind turbines, produces 5,000 megawatts of wind energy. Denmark as a whole produces that amount. Here they want to build facilities that will produce around 20% of the electricity produced by Denmark. This place is going to become huge building site. A big factory, an industrial park in effect.

There is nothing coincidental about it. Just as it is no coincidence that forty years ago they wanted to build a nuclear power station here. This area provides opportunities for those who want, without contributing a penny themselves, to come and play at being investors. For a start these “investments”, as they are called, get a 40% subsidy from the NSRF. They receive money that could go to finance production in the primary sector, for the development of the country.

Secondly, wind energy is subsidized by all of us. It is included in the bills of the Public Power Corporation. And the existing proposal is that this subsidy be multiplied. If these gentlemen want to present themselves as investors we challenge them to do what was decided a few days ago in Germany: to agree to make their investment without any subsidization, not of the electricity and not from the NSRF. Otherwise they are freeloaders playing at being investors.

Having said that, the situation is as follows: Why did they choose this area? Because here it is very close for them to transmit, without having to pay the cost of transmission, their electricity either to Aliveri or to the Public Power Corporations’ station in Sounion. And it’s very close to Athens. Because this is what it’s about: they want to concentrate here 50% of the country’s wind power production, because it’s next to Athens. These are the great investors. These are the people who are said to be bringing development.

So we say these simple things: firstly, energy and water are public goods and they must remain here for the Greek people, publicly owned. Secondly, and many know this: the first to have started the production of wind energy were the Public Power Corporation, from the 80s. But now the Public Power Corporation has only 3%. Why? Because the vested interests did not want public involvement in renewable energy sources. They have all gone into private hands. But because some of those private hands are also lenders, one of the companies is the state power corporation of Italy. So foreign state companies will be able to generate electricity here, to have resources of strategic significance at the same time as our own state company is not allowed to do this. A public power company which as you have seen is being sold off. 17% of its shares are going to TAIPED to be sold off. This is the reality and all of us should know the reality.

Firstly: all of us agree that we should have renewable energy sources. Secondly, we want energy to remain a public good. Thirdly, you can’t have hyperconcentration of renewable energy production only in one area. Fourthly, they say that wind parks reduce CO2 emissions. They are not telling the whole truth. Studies in Denmark have shown that there has not been any such reduction. For the wind turbines to function they have to have support, a backup. From what? From the conventional units for electricity generation, using either lignite or something else. So, behind every instance of production of wind energy it is presupposed that there will be conventional production of electricity. We do not have the reduction that is advertised in relation to these issues.

So, what must be done? Firstly, there must be a decision that it is not possible in one area like South Karystia to have all the production of wind energy concentrated. That is unacceptable. On the basis of the principle of subsidiarity, in every area there should be the corresponding involvement and support. You said it yourselves. The citizens’ groups said it.

What has been done has been done. This is the end. The end of the nonsense. From now on nothing more is going to be built. We are resolved to struggle to end this unacceptable situation. Secondly, because there is the Natura system the European Union says that these kinds of changes are not allowed. And if they are programmed the first prerequisite is that there should no other solution.

Other solutions are possible, in many different areas and in all of Greece. And the most important of these: let them invest the wads of money they are said to have in other areas, in remote areas. On remote mountain tops. And let them pay the transmission costs. Not install them here and put a line over to the other side because the distance for transmitting the power is short.

Above and beyond that, the law of the European Union says that there must be considerations of public interest that might legitimate this destruction of the area. And there are no such considerations of public interest. There are considerations of private interest which conflict with the public interest. They are opposed to all the struggle we are making.

So I think that this information is quite useful at this moment for all of us. And they also say that wind parks provide work places. With one slight difference: that they provide work places in the states that produce the turbines and the wind generators. In Denmark. That’s where they provide work . Very few workplaces are created here once they begin functioning. They are only for the construction phase.

Tourism will be wrecked. The agricultural economy will be wrecked. Stockbreeding, beekeeping, everything that generates income in this area. And of course we will also have the danger of fires because this network will be a hundred kilometres in length, if I’m not mistaken, a hundred and thirty kilometres in length, and there will be an increase in all these dangers.

It is not possible for us to accept the visual pollution and the noise pollution, the industrialization of the Greek landscape and the breakup of the area.

On the way here I met a friend who is from Andros and he told me they are waging the battle there too. Because it’s our common battle. It’s the battle of the Greek people. We are not going to allow the lenders to seize our land.

We are not going to allow energy to pass into the hands of private interests. We will not allow the NSRF subsidies to support processes of this kind. We want renewable energy sources. But let them be balanced, with small-scale units that benefit local communities, units that will support the income of every area. And as we said, and you say, enough has been done here.

So our greetings to this struggle, which we regard as very important. We invite all the citizens of this district to support the struggle of the co-ordinating committee. To strengthen it. For this is our common struggle. It includes us all. And for my part, I say it again, from tomorrow, in Brussels, the issue of Southern Karystia will be in the front line.

We struggle all together, we struggle for Greece, we don’t want the lenders to seize our land. Let’s be strong. Together in struggle. Let’s go forward together. Thank you.
Source

 

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. Open Letter from the Association for the Protection of the Environment of Southern Karystia to the Prime Minister of Italy Mr. Paolo Gentiloni

    Today 15/9/2017 in the “Efimerida ton Syntakton” we read in the article: “Athens-Rome, investments with daring” among other statements by the Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni the following in relation to the collaboration between Greece and Italy in the field of wind power:

    “We have ENEL in the field of wind power, with an investment project that is proceeding immediately, to the amount of 300 million euros, in renewable energy sources.”

    These declarations were made in Corfu, during a meeting of the Italian Prime Minister with his Greek counterpart Alexis Tsipras.

    From what was said we conclude that he is entirely unaware of the appeal by the Association for the Protection of the Environment of Southern Karystia to the Council of State, as if there is no decision pending from our country’s highest court, or he is feigning ignorance for reasons of expediency.

    Why did Mr. Alexis Tsipras not correct him?

    We would prefer not to believe that the Italian Prime Minister made his hasty visit to our country to reinforce the position of the Italian company ENEL, which currently finds itself in something of an awkward position on account of the order from the Council of State for temporary suspension of operations at Kafirea in Southern Evvia.

    But the specific statement he made at this particular moment looks very much like indirect pressuring of Mr. Alexis Tsipras.

    In the last few days it has been noticeable from the daily newspapers that an attempt is under way to devalue the actions of the country’s highest court on the subject of wind parks in Southern Karystia and now this related statement by the Italian Prime Minister has been added to this.

    We protest at the inaccurate statement of Mr. Paolo Gentiloni and call upon him to return to this topic and correct his error.

    Association for the Protection of the Environment of Southern Karystia (SPPENK)

    • Slightly different context, but the same principle at work: steal from the poor and hand subsidies to the rich; obtain land by either appropriating it from the government (National parks/government owned land) or paying some down on his luck farmer $15k per year per turbine to effectively control his land and destroy the value of his/her neighbours. Stalin ran a similar racket, but needed bayonets and rifles to pull it off.

  2. Jackie Rovensky says:

    In many ways so similar to what is happening here.
    These companies do not invest in a country or area, they take, they take the subsidies and the REC payments and move them overseas. They ensure they have the full co-operation of Governments and local authorities that planning and building regulations are designed so there is little or no opportunity for communities to oppose the construction of these things. They make sure environmental requirements are manipulated so ‘mitigation’ is acceptable rather than ‘protection’ of endangered specie.
    No community in Australia where these things have been installed has come forward and said they have benefited and continue to benefit from investment from these things. None have said there existence has solved a local unemployment problem, none has said they have brought more families to their area, none have said the health of their community has improved since the turbines arrived.
    These companies cannot ensure the money they pay to landowners to allow these things to be installed is spent locally, yet they constantly say they are ‘investing’ in local communities and the money is provide which will be spent locally.
    All they are interested in is getting the things installed asap and then step back and either sell them on or rake in the money from our public purse and laugh all the way to the bank where the money is transported overseas into the pockets of their shareholders.
    Yes some of those are Retirement and Superannuation funds, some are Unions and Banks – but do these institutions openly say they are garnering funds from the Public Purse via their ‘investment’ in wind energy, that this money is provided from our taxes.
    Do they say they will willingly pay back to the public purse in higher taxes and levy’s to meet the needs of our education, health, infrastructure, police, military etc systems – no they do anything to prevent returning anything back to the people of this nation and if they are asked to pay increased taxes they pass the cost on to us.
    We are paying time and time again so the pockets of this industry can fill with them doing nothing in return for us or this nation.
    Can this form of energy production benefit us – no, never all it does is take from us and reduce our nation to a shadow of its former self.

  3. Bravo! Bravo!

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