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Court challenge halts work on largest Greek wind farm

Italian group Enel has suspended construction work on its 154MW Kafireas wind farm in southern Greece – set to be the nation’s largest – after the country’s Council of State issued a temporary order halting the project.

A legal challenge by local group the Association for the Protection of the Environment in South Karistia, together with local residents, have brought a case against the Greek Ministry of Environment’s consent for the wind farm. The court has ruled that work on Kafireas – located on Evia island in the municipality of Karistos – must stop while the legal case against the project is being considered.

Enel is investing €300m ($341m) in the wind farm which is located in a forested area, designated as a site of communal importance and a special protection area.

The Council of State, which is the highest administrative court in Greece, will hold a further hearing within the next few months at which Enel will present its case.

“Enel Green Power Hellas acknowledges the Council of State provisional order regarding Kafireas and will comply with it in full respect of the law,” an Enel spokesman told Recharge.

“The company wishes to reiterate that it has complied with all relevant legislation for the construction of the wind farm and submitted all permitting documentation requested by law,” he said.

Enel announced in June that it had started construction work on the project, which was expected to enter into operation in the first quarter of 2019.

Kafireas will be supported by a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Hellenic Electricity Market Operator LAGIE.

The European Commission recently approved the formation of a joint venture between Enel and the US private equity firm Centerbridge Partners to build and operate Kafireas.