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RES Zoning Legislation Before Parliament

The eagerly awaited first special zoning plan concerning renewable energy sources (RES) has been handed in for consultation and is expected to be tabled in parliament in April.

The draft bill, which should pave the way for investment in RES installations, determines that three regions, in Evros (Thrace), Central Greece and the Peloponnese, are the most appropriate for the creation of wind parks, and it introduces restrictions for the islands and tourism areas.

The RES zoning plan defines the regulatory framework for the location of RES units around the country, that is, where they will be allowed and under which conditions. Environment, Zoning and Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias, who presented the bill, also announced that the areas of wind power priority are three: northern Greece (parts of the prefectures of Evros and Rhodope) where 480 wind generators can be installed (960 megawatts), central Greece (parts of the prefectures of Karditsa, Aitoloacarnania, Evrytania, Fokida, Fthiotida, Viotia and Evia) where 1,619 wind generators can be installed (3,238 MW), and the southern Peloponnese (parts of Laconia and Arcadia prefectures) where 438 wind generators can be installed (876 MW).

Limited zones for the installation of up to 50 generators are to be created in Attica, too. The creation of wind parks is not permitted at historic monuments, protected nature areas, such as Natura 2000, main parts of national parks, within town-planning zones, in tourism or residential areas, at notable beaches, high-production agricultural areas and quarry zones.

They are allowed be located at bird-fauna protection zones after a special study, while the minimum legal distance from residential areas, roads and power networks must be preserved. Limitations are placed on the maximum density of wind parks. In the areas of wind park priority and in Attica they should not exceed 8 percent of the municipality’s surface (roughly one generator per square kilometer).

On all islands that are inhabited, they cannot exceed 4 percent. For the islands in particular, the residential control zones of Tinos, Samos, Myconos, Sifnos and Paros will have to change. Under certain conditions, wind parks can be located at sea and on uninhabited islets.

The plan also provides for the creation of small hydroelectric projects, photovoltaic parks and biomass or biogas plants.

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