Vandals took to wind masts at the weekend, causing over £200,00 worth of damage but wind energy companies say they won’t be deterred.
Wind energy companies say wind farms in the area of Ayios Theodoros wind , despite the vandalism that saw monitoring equipment destroyed.
The wind masts have been set up in the area to measure and evaluate wind speeds in the area. Vandals cut the cables that supported the masts, resulting in the destruction of the devices.
Owner and President of K.E. Aerodynamics company, Akis Ellinas said that as well as the huge cost, they now ran the risk of even greater problems, with the possibility of investors pulling out of financing the scheme.
“Let’s forget about the money for a moment, investors are arriving this week for the final layout of the programme and something like this shows that Cyprus is a country full of risks for wind farms,” he said.
The community leader of the village told the Mail yesterday that despite their opposition to the wind farms, they condemned this action.
“This should not have happened, this is not a way to solve our differences. We are allowed to have different opinions but nobody should take the law into our hands,” community leader Lazaros Pieri said yesterday.
The village community of Ayios Theodoros has recently opposed the creation of wind farms, citing concerns over a fall in the price of their land as well as the possible health risks the construction of the wind farms that could entail.
Ellinas said that their reaction to the construction was a result of outside influence and misinformation.
“I took the village council to Crete two years ago and showed them other wind farms and educated them all about how everything worked and the benefits it would have on the village.
“They seemed pretty happy about it, especially about the creation of new jobs, new roads and the better infrastructure this would bring about. Other people with different interests appear to not only have misinformed the whole village but the whole of the island about such programmes,” he said.
The Managing Director of another wind energy company Rokas Cyprus, Demetris Yiannaki, said that people needed to understand that nothing will stop them from building wind farms in the area.
“They are simply delaying the inevitable. We are acting perfectly legally, we have all the necessary permits and will not be undone.
“We have done too much and spent too much money to stop now,” he said.
Yiannaki was nevertheless frustrated by the setback.
“The data lockers that store measurements for up to three months have been destroyed, this is a major blow.
“The worst thing however is the delay to install new wind masts. We have to order them from abroad and it will take months for them to be back in working order,” he said.
“In the case of Ayios Theodoros, this reaction is down to a few individuals acting on personal financial grounds and urging the whole village on with them,” he added.
Manager of the Energy Department Solon Kassinis said that these actions went overboard.
“The destruction of devices which are working with licences is not acceptable. People need to be informed again as many things that are not true are being said, for example the fact that health problems may be brought about,” he said.
An official from an environmental NGO told the Mail that he could not understand why so little was done to promote solar energy as Cyprus is struggling to reach the 2010 six per cent target for renewable energy.
“Both wind energy and solar energy have a role to play in energy policy we are putting all our eggs in one basket that the wind farms will save us, when not enough is being done to advertise and promote photovoltaics, something that is very beneficial,” he said.
Later this week, EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs will be visiting the island and is expected to express his disapproval at the current state of renewable energy in Cyprus, especially after the recent hold up in wind energy.
By Nassos Stylianou
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