Mafia Builds, Sells Wind Farms in Italy

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Green energy isn’t as innocent as it sounds. The Financial Times reports on how the Italian Mafia is building and selling wind farms to European multinational companies:

Anti-Mafia magistrates in Sicily have opened a sweeping investigation into the wind power sector where local officials, entrepreneurs and crime gangs are suspected of collusion in the construction of lucrative wind farms before their eventual sale to multinational companies.

Italian and EU subsidies for the building of wind farms and the world’s highest guaranteed rates, €180 ($240, £160) per kwh, for the electricity they produce have turned southern Italy into a highly attractive market exploited by organised crime.

Prosecutors suspect the hand of the Mafia in fixing permits and building wind farms that are then sold on to Italian and eventually foreign companies.

Most, if not all, of Sicily’s wind farms began as projects by local developers, some of whom speculated in a secondary market for permits. Once built, the majority were sold on through Italian intermediaries to multinationals. International Power of the UK is the largest wind power operator in Italy. Others include Italy’s Enel and Germany’s Eon through its purchase of part of Endesa of Spain in 2007. France’s EDF also has assets. While the international companies knew the identity of their Sicilian developers, there is no evidence they were aware of Mafia involvement.

Italy ranks fourth in Europe in terms of installed wind power capacity.