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Hellenic Ornithological Society, photo: G.Alexandris
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April 2, 2021
Help us prevent the destruction of islets in the South Aegean Sea!

Take part in the public consultation of the European Commission and prevent the environmental crime threatening the ‘Galapagos of the Mediterranean’!

 

An unprecedented project is currently candidate in the list of the EU Projects of Common Interest (PCI) in the field of electricity infrastructure. The specific project includes the installation of 3 wind farms consisting of 138 wind turbines, roads, accompanying works and more, and is planned to be constructed on 23 islets of the South Aegean located within the core of protected areas of the Natura 2000 network.

The list has been put up for public consultation until April 8th, 2021. Through our participation in this consultation we have the power to prevent the implementation of this unsustainable and destructive project which threatens one of the most valuable wildlife refuges in Greece.

The construction and operation of the proposed wind farms on these islets, as well as the resulting constant human presence will directly threaten, through collision, displacement, disturbance and habitat loss, all bird species for which these protected islets have designated as Special Protection Areas, along with many other rare or/and endangered species.

We thus call upon on all environmentally-minded citizens to join us in our efforts to save one of the remaining nature reserves in our country and in Europe!

 

Why is it so important to participate?

The specific project has been characterized as a "sacrilege" and "environmental crime" from competent authorities, environmental NGOs and scientific bodies all over Greece. Nonetheless, what is surprising, if not outrageous, is the fact that this destructive project is claiming European resources, when in other parts of the world such islets are strictly protected zones, where the sole activity allowed is scientific research.

It is also striking that the candidate proposal submitted to the PCIs involves 138 wind turbines on 23 islands (not 106 wind turbines on 14 islets) a solution already rejected by the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the ground that it will cause significant environmental damage.

The Environmental NGOs, ANIMA, Arcturos, ARCHELON, Hellenic Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage, Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature, Hellenic Ornithological Society, Society for the Protection of Prespa, Callisto, MEDASSET, Greenpeace, WWF Hellas and the Citizens’ initiative for the protection of Aegean Islets jointly took part in the European Commission’s consultation submitting detailed documentation against the inclusion of the Southern Aegean Interconnector (Kykladika Meltemia, Eunice Energy Group) in the PCIs.

Through their participation in the consultation, the 12 above-mentioned Environmental NGOs and the Citizens’ initiative for the protection of Aegean Islets documented that the proposed project is not environmentally sustainable according to Regulation 2020/852/EU on Sustainable Investments, as it will be harmful to the natural environment and the valuable biodiversity of the islets.

 

The Aegean islets & islands host more than the 85% of the global Eleonora's Falcon population (Photo: M. Chatzikirkas/HOS)

 

It is also worth mentioning that the proposed project is found to be unnecessary, due to other overlapping interconnection projects that are expected to be completed soon, with typical examples the Crete - Peloponnese Interconnection [3] and the Crete - Attica interconnection [4]. Apart from being unnecessary, however, this project is also very costly, as it will require almost 50% more transmission cable compared to the solution already applied by the Independent Power Transmission Operator (IPTO) for the same interconnection.

If the project gets the green light at European and national level, it is certain that Greece, Europe and the whole world will lose a unique ecosystem, considered one of the last authentic ‘evolution laboratories’, where ecosystems and species continue to operate under natural processes unaffected by human activities.

This is why active participation of as many citizens as possible in this consultation is crucial.

 >>> To participate, just fill in your details in the form found and upload the pre-completed file (excel) that can be downloaded


 

More information

1. The joint position of the 12 Environmental NGOs and the Citizens’ initiative for the protection of Aegean Islets in the consultation of the European Commission for the Projects of Common Interest is available here

2. Projects of common interest (PCIs) are infrastructure projects that link the energy systems of EU countries, meaning the Trans-European Energy Networks.

The question that the participants in the consultation are asked to answer is the following: “In your opinion, is a candidate project in electricity infrastructure significantly contributing to market integration/sustainability/security of supply and therefore needed from an EU energy policy perspective?”. It is noted that once a project is approved as PCI it can receive support from the Connecting EuropeFacility, whose main goal is to accelerate investment in trans-European networks and leverage public and private sector funding.

3. https://www.admie.gr/erga/erga-diasyndeseis/diasyndesi-tis-kritis-me-tin-peloponniso
4. https://www.admie.gr/erga/erga-diasyndeseis/diasyndesi-tis-kritis-me-tin-attiki

 

Mediterranean Shag colony in N. Aegean (Photo: Aris Christidis/HOS)

 

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