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Court blocks Italian offshore; 137MW project off Sicily deemed to interfere with cultural heritage

Italian courts have overturned planning consent for a proposed 137MW wind farm off the Italian island of Sicily due to archaeological concerns.

Sicily’s regional administrative court this month voided a construction permit awarded to developer Mediterranean Wind Offshore by Italy’s Infrastructure and Transport Ministry in 2013.

The decision follows a four-year legal battle by environmental, archaeological and cultural societies.

The court also ruled building the 38-turbine project in the Gulf of Gela would violate Unesco rules regarding the protection of cultural assets.

The project site, located just two kilometres offshore, covers an area with shipwrecks from battles between the Greek city states and Carthage between 600BC and 200BC.

The court ruled that the project would also disrupt views from nearby historic tourist attractions.

“Landscape constraints should also be applied and the project would affect the cultural, architectural and artistic value of the nearby Falconara Castle,” the court wrote.

Belgian developer Belenergia is currently seeking financial close on Italy’s first offshore wind project – a 30MW 10-turbine effort in the Gulf of Taranto, Calabria.