The wind farm serves as an important reminder that non-polluting power-generating facilities that use clean energy sources, such as wind, play a key role in helping us meet the objectives of the Kyoto Protocol. Wind power makes it possible to produce electricity without releasing polluting substances into the environment, and has become a focus of major investment projects aimed at meeting future energy needs without harming the environment.
The wind farm was built to exacting standards by Gamesa Energia Italia and is owned by Acciona; both companies are active in the renewable energy sector. The facility will save thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from being released into the atmosphere.
The wind farm has had virtually no impact on the local ecosystem. The turbines do not interfere with the wildlife or with the livestock that has traditionally grazed on the surrounding land. In addition to providing considerable economic benefit to Cocullo, which owns the land on which the turbines are located, the wind farm is a source of employment. The technicians who operate and maintain the facility were hired among the local population, and before taking up their duties they received appropriate training at Gamesa’s school for wind turbine technicians in Spain.
To reconcile the dual imperatives of increased clean-energy production and environmental protection, the national wind energy association (Associazione Nazionale Energia del Vento, or ANEV) undertook to work closely with the two principal environmental protection bodies, Legambiente and the World Wildlife Federation, in overseeing the construction of the wind farm and ensuring its appropriate integration into the landscape.
Technical data and description of wind farm
The construction of a wind farm in Cocullo is highly symbolic, not only because it is located in the province of L’Aquila, in the heart of Abruzzo, which has been designated a European Green Region, but also because it was completed only a few weeks after the Kyoto Protocol came into force.
The wind farm was financed entirely by Gamesa, which took special care to ensure that the facility was properly integrated into the environment and that the local population was fully involved. Gamesa, which has always made certain that its wind farms fit in well with their surroundings, made sure that every detail of the planning and construction satisfied this requirement, especially by taking the following measures:
- burying all medium-voltage electrical lines;
- setting the turbines well apart to minimize their impact on bird life and maintain appropriate density;
- studying the location of local roads to minimize the visibility of the turbines and the impact of earth displacement;
- laying down topsoil to ensure the rapid regrowth of vegetation in areas affected by the construction work;
- having archaeologists on site throughout the excavations to ensure the proper treatment of any objects of interest found during the work.
Gamesa used local contractors and workers to build the wind farm, thus ensuring that the local population benefited from the economic and employment opportunities of such a large-scale project. Similarly, the technicians who operate the facility come from Cocullo and the surrounding area. Before taking up their duties, they were sent for training to Gamesa’s school for wind turbine technicians in Spain and to other wind farms built by Gamesa in Italy.
The wind farm is located entirely on territory administered by Cocullo, and the town actually owns most of the lands on which the turbines are located. Consequently, this small community, with its long history, will enjoy considerable long-term economic benefits from the operation of this facility.