The Regional Administrative Tribunal of Sicily (Il Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale per la Sicilia – TAR) has revoked a construction permit granted by the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS) for the 137MW offshore wind project in the Gulf of Gela off Sicily’s southern coast.
In December 2013, the ministry’s Technical Commission for Environmental Impact Assessment approved the exclusion measure from the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedure for the project developed by Mediterranean Wind Offshore after assessing that the construction and operation of the wind farm will not have any potential negative impacts on the environment.
The permit was contested by local archaeological and environmental associations, which claim that the Gulf of Gela is an important archaeological site and consider that the construction of the wind farm would breach UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.
Mediterranean Wind Offshore proposes to install up to 38 turbines, some two miles offshore Sicily. The wind farm’s proximity to the coast was also part of the dispute with the plaintiffs claiming that any offshore installation situated near tourist hotspots must be located at least five miles off the coast.