HELP!!! Destruction of the countryside in Loro Piceno

szq Image
02/02/2011 - 09:57

On Monday I discovered that permission was granted (Nov 23) from Regione Marche, for a field of a thousand photovoltaic panels just to the left of our house. There are another 3 sites in this area also with permission, all on agricultural land and there is a 4th in an industrial area. I understand that as of 1.1.11 there is new legislation against this type of development. It is galling that because no-one knew of these proceedings we were not able to complain, mount opposition or even stall proceedings for a meer 6 weeks, thereby activating the new law. (I have found an error in the original application which would have given us a point of argument/delay). The developments have not started yet and there is a little time left (about 50 days in the case nearby) within which to complain. We may have to go to the Head of State for a withdrawal. Has anyone else has mounted a campaign against the development of these fields of panels, and if so can they share knowledge/experiences with me? Can anyone offer advice or know of someone influential that maybe able to help? I have to get this news out to as many people in the area as possibile to get a groundswell of public opinion on the move. Obviously I do not just have this hurdle to surmount but also the language barrier! Help please!!! PS Sites with permission are listed here



i'm afraid,and you'll find shortly that it's not only loro piceno or the province of macerata this problem has been silently boiling away,few were aware of what was about to happen.The same thing is going on all over the provinces of Ascoli and fermo.protest groups are quickly being formed quite honestly the only hope is to stop things as far as they've got where permission has already been granted it'll be almost impossible to stop.there is a meeting in Amandola(where 5 sites have been approved) on saturday 5th feb at 16.45pm in the auditorium with all those who are worried and already protesting about this.Interestingly enough this is a heritage from the previous left wing government and despite evidence that so called alternative energy and green energy solutions have beenwidely embraced by organized crime as an ideal way to launder money the opposition party (at least in the marche) still seems to be under the impression that all this is "a positive development"Anyway there's a lot of people getting very upset by all this and hopefully on saturday there'll be a lot of people it's a public meeting btw anyone can go....

But of course it's probably too late for your case.Individuazione aree non idonee all’installazione di impianti fotovoltaici.Con deliberazione di Consiglio Comunale n. 67 del 22/12/2010, è stata approvata la cartografia redatta per l’individuazione delle aree non idonee all’installazione di impianti fotovoltaici con moduli al suolo di cui alla L.R. 13/2010.Gli elaborati sono consultabili presso l’Ufficio Tecnico Comunale.

We have an Italian friend who's German husband shared an office with the local Sindico and thus was aware of 4 sites (one being also immediately adjacent to his house).  Said site was also on one of the most beautiful "tourist routes" of this area but suddenly the sign to that affect disappeared!!  Meetings were held, petitions signed but to no avail.  Good luck but I fear if it is already approved you too will be unsuccesful.    

I'd just like to put a different point of view. I'd be fairly pissed off if someone planted photovoltaic panels rather than lettuces in the field next to my house - but no more pissed off than if the field was covered by (even low level) polytunnels - which would have the same aesthetic disadvantage. To be brutally honest, the photovoltaic panels are unlikely to be there for much longer than the lettuces: the Italian state (having bought into this global warming notion) are obliged to throw money at anybody wanting to 'farm' electricity, and so much of the granted money is upfront that it really does not matter whether any electricity is generated. I've seen 'fields' with these panels - they tend to be around the 3sq m per panel size, which mean that 1000 panels occupy about a third of a hectare - say about half an acre. The installations I have noticed are planted on grass fields - I do wonder whether it is even worthwhile strimming this grass below the panels - I doubt it - so almost certainly you are going to be looking at a somewhat overgrown bit of grassland within three months of the panels having been installed! (You will have already sussed that high grass interferes, probably terminally, with any claimed generation performance.) I do understand your worries, and in your position I'm sure I too would be protesting as hard as I could- but maybe it would help you to sleep at night if you understand the probable very short-termism of the phenomenon.

its worth making the effort.. as someone has already said the mafia, or mafia controlled companies are the most prevalent people operating in this sector and the reasons are many,its pretty well a no brainer for those with capital as the banks are falling over themselves to provide loans on this at good rates as they are pretty well guaranteed via the state.. so yes its a good way of cleaning up money and its dubious origins.. whats more disturbing to my mind are the long term plans on this.... many areas are protected because they are greenfield and the fact that you can now stick huge windmills or large amounts of panels pretty well anywhere  is not the main problem, the long term plan is that many planning applications get turned down for other developments due to the fact an area is unpsolied or of outstanding natural beauty..  so they are considered pretty safe from development....  but seed these areas with energy farms then a few years down the road you will find that planning applications get put in for large developments that cannot be objected to on grounds of no previous development or outstanding natural beauty... if in doubt about this look along almost any Italian motorway and you will see that its almost a given that within a few years of it being built in whatever position it will have expanded from the initial few lanes to a wide swathe of industrial and/or residential development.. thats where the real money is and its why the green companies are being used in this way.. along with the development of the green energy there are other associated companies buying up land all around thes developments ready for the day when they will start putting in applications for other construction work... and this is where the real money is to be made.. mafia is more involved in construction and waste and its the basis of their organistaion in Italy as its a much more lucrative option than drugs etc.. and allows a pretty easy way to turn over large amounts of cash and show profits to explain away income..  its happening already in sicily and sardinia.. and its a system without investment risk in these days where the only ones with deep enough pockets to keep buying up land and leaving it idle for a few years are the organised criminals...   so stopping it is important for all of our futures .. but the main problem is that the politicians especially those that are local take a term of office to line their own pockets.. and these opportunities will be rare for them to exploit.. in many of the remote areas so they will be playing innocent when giving permisons for green energy and denying any further plans are in the pipeline.. a few years down the road though i bet they own a lot of the land surrounding these projects and they will be selling it off for development.. its the system here.. take a seemingly good idea and adapt it to the endemic corruption... 

Hi and thanks for your replies. Regarding the life of these installations I believe they may have a 20 year contract (as we do for a domestic installation) and so I may never see the field restored to its current state in my lifetime! I take your point Fillide, the 10,000 + panels will certainly take some maintenance and will be covered in dust once the tractors start in the summer. They are prohibited from using weedkiller so grasses will be a huge problem for them. Thanks, Sablanico I checked the areas suitable/unsuitable for the fields of panels and it seems to exclude the mountains, parks and areas with hydrological issues. Not a forward thinking policy at all. The new legislation was active from 30.9.2010, so any applications after this date will not get the go ahead. But it seems submissions made prior, can still go ahead through the authorisation process. So look over your shoulders.... don't assume you are safe yet! I'm going to the meeting in Amandola today (at 4.45 Auditorium Vittorio Virgili, - Paesaggio Bene Comune, una proposta di legge d'iniziativa poplare per Le Marche)- to get more advice, ideas and hopefully some grounds with which to oppose the installation. We started a petition, and are informing the residents about the local fields due for installations, as this has been kept very quiet indeed... No, ai pannelli fotovoltaici! Sì, alla bellezza della campagna marchigiana!  

Are there other locations planned ? If there are, if anyone has details it may be useful to publicise them because it may help 'mobilise' people who are not currently effected to turn up and support current initiatives? S

There is also another issue with them. I was talking to someoen from California a few weeks ago where they had a similar scheme many years ago. The solar panels that have finsihed their useful life are now rotting in the fields as it is expensive to dispose of them as they contain hazardous waste. What will happen to the panels here at the end of their life? I can't see anyone here disposing of them properly. Our neighbours used to just chuck their rubbish in the river bed.

In reply to by Badger

We received some very good advice afterwards thank you, and details of a group who have had reasonable success combatting these developments. Initially there was a very good presentation /talks; unfortunately due to time constraints etc we had to leave as the mayor of Amandola took the floor and the room erupted! I'm not sure he got out alive....

Read Gomorra Italy's other Mafia by Roberto Saviano - it's astonishing to discover just how the mafia are involved in almost every aspect of Italian life.And unbelievably aviano has even discovered a link with Aberdeen!! As far as stopping these things from engulfing the countryside I'm afraid its a pretty impossible task -dealing with corrupt local government and greedy land owners -it's a no brainer. The fact is that in order to be most effective the site does need to have certain characteristics - south facing etc. So if you have not bought anywhere yet you can do your best to avoid having a field of panels next door but nothing to stop 'your' view being spoilt by them. I'm generally totally in support of solar power and other forms of green energy but I think we are at the stage where we need to ask ourselves questions about how our own desire to use large amounts of power might conflict with our desire to live surrounded by beautiful countryside. Perhaps cutting down on the electricity we use and using low power appliances is the long term answer?  

"Perhaps cutting down on the electricity we use and using low power appliances is the long term answer?"   What are you suggesting? - My place already runs on 3kW max What is probably required is nuclear power plants [but of course, nowhere near my house]

This is absolutely no help to you szq, but it looks as if the UK is going to rein in subsidies for the "feed in tarriffs" for corporate producers and ground level installations for essentially the reasons that you mention. Although restrospective legislation has been ruled out (what has previously been agreed, goes ahead), it seems that the UK is not alone in reviewing the cost-benefit equation. In Devon and Cornwall where the economics of UK pv make the most sense, (and the highest concentration of permissions for new developments have been granted) there now seems to be a particularly strong backlash developing.

Yes Allan I appreciate that most private homes in Italy are using far less electricity but there is still much scope for businesses to reduce consumption.How many times have you driven past a supermarket or office and seen all the lights on at midnight! Your tongue on cheek reply re nuclear plants points to the root of the problem. Most people are much more willing to accept 'invisible' nuclear power plants than 'visible' wind farms or solar panels. I'm simply trying to point out that there may be another way that lays betwen these two 'evils'. Bio mass is far more gentle on the eye but I think with farming land becoming more and more valuable then slow growing trees are not going to be the solution to mass demand for energy.Although in the UK willow can be cut at 3 years and chipped for fuel then left to re-grow,cut etc.

Hi, A new govenment decree signed yesterday by Napolitano now puts a stop to large PV-arrays on fields. After June you may construct max. 1 MW but you are allowed to use only 10 % of your land! Since 1 MW typically takes up 2 hectares, That practically means that you need to be the owner of 20 hectares in order to install the array. This means that a lot of already approved projects probably are not going to be built. But since the government with this "colpo basso" to renewable energy has set aside all recommendations from the various commissions due to their own interest in promoting nuclear, let's just not hope that you'll get a nuclear plant instead...