Antikythera, a bone-dry, wind-swept rock of 8.5 square miles (22 square kilometres) with 22 residents, sits on the edge of the Aegean Sea. Despite its harsh appearance, this harsh area is vital to the environment. It is a NATURA-protected area and a bird migration hotspot, with more than 200 African species resting there each spring and fall before flying north and south. It is home to the world’s largest Eleonora’s falcon colony.
It is the westernmost breeding habitat for the Isabelline Wheatear, and one of the few areas in the central Mediterranean where 28 different species of birds of prey, plus four to five subspecies, can be found. Since Greece lacks a government body for bird protection, the Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS), a conservation non-governmental group, has been recording and tagging these birds. HOS and other environmental organisations filed an appeal with the Greek Council of State in November 2020.
They requested that the Greek Council of State overturn an August 2020 decision by the Ministry of Environment and Energy, which doubled the installed power capacity of a wind farm without requiring it to conduct an environmental impact assessment study. What is the explanation for this? In the summer of 2020, an anemometer was built on the island of Antikythera to collect data for a potential wind farm.
While renewables have an important role to play in conserving the environment and species like those found on Antikythera and elsewhere, the struggle highlights the difficulty of locating wind and solar facilities. The local effects could end up causing harm to the Antikythera endangered species. The European Union aims to generate 32 percent of its total energy from renewable sources by 2030. Greece must achieve a national target of 7,000 megawatts from wind power by the end of the year.