Early this morning, Naftilos, a research vessel of the Institute of Marine Conservation "Archipelagos", set sail for Astypalaia in the SE Aegean. We were invited to the island by the Municipality of Astypalaia, which we are in close cooperation with on numerous environmental issues, to take part in a very useful environmental meeting organized by the Municipality of the island, in the port of Astypalaia. Archipelagos Institute intervened and focused on the environmental and socio- economic effects of the installation of industrial-scale wind farms plans in Astypalaia, the surrounding islets, and on other islands and areas of high natural beauty in Greece.
In his introductory speech, the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Prof. Manos Konsolas, expressed the need to move the islands – and especially the smaller islands – towards a direction of improved environmental quality, mild and alternative forms of tourism. He also expressed the urgent need to create the conditions and infrastructure required in order to facilitate this. Particularly interesting dynamic interventions were made by the Mayor of Saronikos, the Mayor of Trikala and the Mayor of Nisyros. The Mayor of Astypalaia expressed his clear disapproval against the catastrophic plan to install industrial wind farms on the island – a plan made in recent years, unknown to the local communities and local government, and based on adventurous investments and the opportunistic profits of large corporations.
Locals and the various bodies of the island intensively discussed the clear contradiction of the government strategies. The strategies highlight mild tourist utilization and the preservation of the natural and architectural wealth of the small islands as a priority, however, they are concurrently planning industrial zones, opening of roads, excavations, etc. in the same areas. In other words, the irreversible desecration of the natural and aesthetic landscape of the islands.
The intense concern and the great restlessness of the whole local community and the authorities of Astypalaia for this issue in combination with dynamic participation in the discussions by residents of all ages, is noteworthy.
Although the local community fully supports a possible installation of a small-scale RES that could ensure the energetic autonomy of the island, their sentiments regarding the installation of industrial-scale wind farms were clearly expressed. Small-scale and high-yield RES are at their peak worldwide, which brings into question the insistence of governmental authorities on applying out of date technologies that generate high profits only for large investors and manufacturers.
The intervention of Archipelagos Institute focused on the analysis of the environmental and socio-economic impact of the planned installation of industrial-scale wind farms in Astypalaia and the Aegean Islands in general. It is a preposterous and high risk investment that is being promoted as a solution to the climate crisis.