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The European Union (EU) yesterday imposed punitive tariffs on certain fibreglass imports from China despite concerns that the duties will limit supply of the lightweight material used in wind turbines, cars and ships.
Police in Italy have seized Mafia-linked assets worth $1.9 billion – the biggest mob haul ever – in an operation revealing that the crime group was trying to "go green" by laundering money through alternative energy companies. ...Investigators said Nicastri's companies ran numerous wind farms as well as factories that produced solar energy panels.
In Italy, power from wind farms is sold at a guaranteed rate of €180 ($253) per kilowatt hour - the highest in the world. ...Nicola Angelo, a Sicilian businessman, said: ''Why get up early every morning to work the land, and run the risk of not being able to sell your crops for a good price, when you can sit at home and take €10,000 a year in rent?''
It is not just Italian criminals, however, who have spotted the potential for corruption. Recent research by Kroll, the international corporate security firm, has discovered examples all over Europe of so-called "clean energy" schemes being used to to line criminals' pockets rather than save the planet. Some involve windmills that stand derelict or are simply never built, while others are used to launder profits from other crime enterprises.
600 wind turbines will be implemented within five to ten sites in Normandy, Brittany and the regions of Pays de la Loire and Languedoc. They are scheduled to start producing electricity by 2015.
This may be only the beginning as the government wants to produce up to 6,000 MW via offshore wind by 2020.
Across the world, wind technology produces as much political heat as electric light-stirring local arguments as well as global ones
OFFSHORE: Siemens is carrying out essential maintenance work on four offshore wind farms, including the recently opened Gunfleet Sands, after it was discovered the turbines' bearings were corroding.
Europe's booming wind energy industry is being exploited by criminals, according to Kroll, the corporate security group.
Criminals see an opportunity to tap into billions of euros' worth of European Union subsidies.
Organised groups linked to the Italian Mafia are among those to have infiltrated the industry, Jason Wright, senior director of Kroll's consulting group, told The Times.
What appears to be a bonfire of low-carbon energy subsidies has been lit in Europe as cash-strapped countries grapple with their empty coffers and start to cut back on what many see as over-generous support for industries from wind to solar that has created a green energy bubble.
Spain, Germany, France, Italy and the Czech Republic have all announced subsidy cuts.
A clash between guards at a Czech wind farm project and local residents opposing the building of the euro1.1 billion (US$1.42 billion) plant left five people injured by rubber bullets in southeastern Romania Monday, authorities said.
The reduction coming from a cut in the price paid for clean energy may be as much as 1.3 billion euros, said the person, who asked not to be named because the analysis is confidential.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is attempting to reduce the 4 billion euro gap between what consumers pay and the price of power in the wholesale market.
Wind turbine farms are set to expand rapidly across Europe's coastal waters, throwing up challenges and opportunities for industry, according to a Reuters analysis of a leaked draft of EU energy strategies.
The government of Spain, a world leader in the renewable energy, said it has reached agreements with producers to slash subsidies for wind and solar power.
The premiums for wind energy will be cut by 35 percent from January 1, 2013, when the current scheme expires, the industry ministry said in a statement late on Friday.
A change in Italy's public incentives for renewable energy investment has brought financing for the sector to a halt, hitting aspiring players in the green economy.
A decree packed into Italy's austerity budget relieves the state-run energy management agency, known as GSE, from its role as the buyer of last resort for so-called green certificates issued to support development of cleaner energy production.
Wiese says that Areva Wind and Renk will bear the full cost of replacing the broken gearboxes. "We have an interest in seeing all six exchanged, because obviously the gearboxes are the exact same in all of them."
Germany's first offshore wind park was dealt a blow with the failure of two turbines due to inferior materials. The rough patch has energy executives scurrying to reassure Berlin and banks scrutinizing their billions in offshore wind energy investments.
Last week, the Swedish Armed Forces quietly made a "principal decision" that all planned and permitted, and even already built, wind turbines will be stopped in a radius of 40 kilometers [about 25 miles] of ten military airfields where jet fighters of type JAS 39 Gripen land and take off. [JAS 39 Gripen is a multi-mission supersonic aircraft, made by Saab, and is the main fighter and attack aircraft in the Swedish air force.]
The rare discovery of two large underwater 'caves', found on the reef where the government plans to build an offshore wind farm, could pose a threat to the project.
The reef off Mellieħa was chosen as the site of Malta's first offshore wind farm because it is the only area of the seabed around the islands that is shallow enough to cater for today's technology.
The internal report of the Spanish administration admits that the price of electricity has gone up, as well as the debt, due to the extra costs of solar and wind energy. Even the government numbers indicate that each green job created costs more than 2.2 traditional jobs, as was shown in the report of the Juan de Mariana Institute. (The below is the English translation of an article published in Spain's La Gaceta newspaper.)
A new wind park, whose turbines have special sensors for automatic stoppage if they sense movement of birds, was opened in Algarve on May 16, by Portugal's Minister of Economy, Innovation and Development, Viera da Silva.