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Movement against industrial Renewable Energy Resources (RES) in Chios, Greece


The plans for the installation of industrial RES on the North Aegean islands were first presented in 2006. At that time there was an intense reaction by the local communities and the planed project was never realized. But in March 2012 the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (YPEKA) set in public consultation the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the creation of wind farms in Chios, along with relevant projects in two more neighboring islands of the North Aegean (Lesvos and Limnos).

On Chios island, electricity is provided by an autonomous thermoelectric power plant, as well as 15 small wind farms generating 11.40 MW in total. During the last decade, several small photovoltaic parks were built on agricultural land, as well as on roofs. The island is not interconnected to the continental Greece, as is the case for all the North Aegean islands. The investment consisted of building up industrial Renewable Energy Sources projects in the central and Northern part of Chios Island (6 wind farms with 65 windmills in Aipos Mountain and one wind farm with 10 windmills in Amani Mountain) for generating 706 MW. The technology of the windmills is outdated.

The investment project named “Aigaia Zefxi: Development of wind farms on the islands of Limnos, Chios and Lesvos, with parallel interconnection with the grid” was planned by a partnership between the Spanish multinational Iberdrola and the Greek company Rokas Aioliki North Aegean AVEE (a subsidiary of Rokas Constructions SA).

Once the YPEKA proceeded with setting the EIA in a public consultation, the reaction of the civil society was immediate: an organization named Chios’ Citizens and Windmills was set up. Τhey initiated a public awareness campaign, in parallel with documentation on the investment, the impacts and the benefits for the local societies, indicating unclear points in the EIA and at the same time presenting a different development approach for the island of Chios, focusing on the energy issue as well. They also set up a network for coordination, exchange of information and knowledge, and political lobbying among the North Aegean Islands, as all the islands belong to the same Regional Authority that would have approved the EIA. The movement asked for cancellation of the announced consultation, better information on the project with the provision of all real data by the company and the Ministry and examination of alternatives [2]. Concerning the EIA’s deficiencies, there is a report by Ombudsman on the completeness of the Assessment [3].

The main argument by the partnership’s side for choosing the North Aegean islands for the investment was that the other Greek islands (and namely Cyclades) have an important cultural and environmental value [4]. This allegation exasperated the residents of Chios, as the area where the wind farms will be located comprises important cultural and environmental sites. Four of the planned 6 wind farms are located in areas that are proposed for inclusion in the European Landscape Convention, and they are also protected under the Habitats Directive 92/43 as they are included in the NATURA 2000 Network.

Furthermore, important archaeological sites are close to the proposed wind farms’ locations, as well as 9 caves are in the wind farms area [4]. The wider area is also important for bird populations, migratory included, and concrete objections were expressed by environmental NGOs and scientists on the EIA’s deficiencies as well as on the impacts on bird populations during the construction and the operation phase of the wind farms [5, 6]. Furthermore, the electricity generated by the wind farms won’t lead to a reduction of that generated by Chios’ thermoelectric power station, but will be transferred to continental Greece, through underwater cables that will interconnect Chios with Lesvos island and Lesvos with continental Greece. The total cost of the interconnection cable (the three islands to continental Greece) is around 0.8 million euros, although any estimation is uncertain. In addition to this, it is unclear as to who will pay for it. Chios’ Citizens and Windmills argues that the funds for it will be public (EU funding). In addition to this, there are considerable technical difficulties as the depths are more than 600 m. in some cases and the seabed has intense relief.

Today, the EIA has been approved by the Regional Authority for the North Aegean. The approval for the installation is stuck at the Central Archaeological Council, because the local Archaeological Councils (including that of Chios) have given a negative opinion. The main points of the movement against the Industrial RES are that the project will destroy a large area of environmental, social and economic importance for the Island of Chios and it won’t have any positive direct impacts to the local population or changes in the energy production locally. In contrast, a multinational will have great profits.

This is the main conclusion of WWF Hellas’ report commenting on YPEKA’s Report on drafting the support mechanism of RES, noting that it takes into account only the investors’ aims [7] Also, the project will reproduce the industrial mode of energy production, which is based on long distance transmission of energy rather than locally produced decentralized production.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Movement against industrial Renewable Energy Resources (RES) in Chios, Greece
State or province:North Aegean Region
Location of conflict:Chios Island
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Large-scale wind energy plants
Specific commodities:Electricity
Ecosystem Services

Project Details and Actors

Project details

7 wind farms

75 windmills (GAMESA EOLICA 680 2 MW) with 80 m diameter, 67 m high and 253 tn weigh

150 MW power

Construction of 1 acre court per windmill

48 km new roads opening ups

Widening in 3 km length

65 km of excavation for pit cable

Construction of 9 buildings

110 acres for permanent deposit of 145,000 m3 excavations [8, 9]

The wind farms area comprises 283 hectares of pastures, 426 hectares of sparse vegetation, 2 hectares of sclerophyllous vegetation and 26 hectares of agricultural land [1]

Project area:737
Level of Investment:295,154.99$ for the wind farms 245,882.00$ for the interconnection cable Chios-Lesvos [9]
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:51,390
Start of the conflict:22/06/2006
Company names or state enterprises:Rokas Aioliki North Aegean AVEE (Rokas ) from Greece
Iberdrola from Spain
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change (YPEKA); Region of North Aegean; Municipality of Chios; Central Archaeological Council
International and Finance InstitutionsEuropean Union (EU)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Organization Committee of Eressos; Citizens and Windmills; Citizen Initiative for Sustainable Development of Limnos; Citizens Initiative for Energy Issues in Lesvos; Inter-Island Coordinating Network from Limnos, Lesvos, Chios; Hellenic Ornithological Society; Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Trade unions
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Land dispossession
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place


Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Land demarcation
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Application of existing regulations
Development of alternatives:Given that the consultation process was ostensible, the information provided was inadequate and the EIA had serious deficiencies, the civil society movement asked for a real consultation process where all the alternatives would be examined.
Chios’ Citizens and Windmills asked for the beginning of a debate on the island's energy planning, focusing on energy saving issues, as well as on the development of small scale RES that won’t destroy the landscape and will respond to local society needs.
Furthermore, they don’t disagree with the interconnection of the islands with continental Greece, but they insist that the cable should not be a company’s private property, as it is planned.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:The project’s EIA has been approved, but the decision by the Central Archaeological Council is still pending. In addition to this, as the financial situation in Greece is very unstable, press articles mentioned a temporary suspension of the investment because of the delay of interconnection of the islands to the continental Greece grid [10]. But nothing is clear yet.

Sources & Materials

Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

European Commission, 2000, European Landscape Convention

European Commission, 1992, Habitats Directive

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[9] Rokas Aioliki North Greece, 2012, Environmental Impact Assessment, Chapter 2: Non-technical summary, Chapter 3: Project’s goal and importance

[3] Ombudsman, 2012, Completeness of the EIA for the Wind Power Generation Plants on Chios – Limnos – Lesvos

Pavlis E. & Terkenli S., 2012, Report on the large scale wind farms in the North Aegean small islands, Geography Dept, University of the Aegean

Mark Duchamp , 2012, Birds and windmills – Birds and bats behavior in wind farms areas

[7] WWF Hellas, 2012, WWF Hellas’ notes on YPEKA’s Report on drafting the support mechanism of RES

[1] Chios’ Citizens and Windmills, 2012, Paper presented in the workshop organizes by Chios’ Citizens and Windmills in Omirion, 9 May 2012,

[2] Chios’ Citizens and Windmills, 2012-2014

Chios’ Citizens and Windmills, 2012, Online petition against Iberdrola – Rokas windturbines

[4] Tympas Aristotle, 2012, Chios, Lesvos and Limnos Islands do not have “high value” according to Roka’s “assessment”

[5] Hellenic Ornithological Society and Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage, 2012,Objections Hellenic Ornithological Society and Society for the Environment and Cultural Heritage

[6] Tsouchlis Dimitris, 2012, Notes from the Special Ornithological Studies of Wind Farms in Chios

[8] Makridakis Yannis, 2012, For the debate on the windmills

[10] Tympas Aristotle, 2013, "Beyond 2023": The "sudden transfer" of Iberdrola plans in the future

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Video from the information event and debate on Ibedrola-Rokas windmills, organized by Chios’ Citizens and Windmills, 2012 (C)

Video from the information event and debate on Ibedrola-Rokas windmills, organized by Chios’ Citizens and Windmills, 2012 (B)

Vogiatzis Stratis, 2012, Documentary: One place, a thousand rocks, (A)

Vogiatzis Stratis, 2012, Documentary: One place, a thousand rocks, (B)

Vogiatzis Stratis, 2012, Documentary: One place, a thousand rocks, (C)

Video from the information event and debate on Ibedrola-Rokas windmills, organized by Chios’ Citizens and Windmills, 2012 (A);

Video from the Chios’ Citizens and Windmills presentation during the session of the Regional Authority of North Aegean council, 2012

Meta information

Contributor:Ermioni Frezouli, Geography Department - Harokopio University Athens (HUA).
Last update18/08/2019



Poster Industrial RES



Poster calling for a walk in the area where Industrial RES are planned to be located

Organized walk in the area where industrial RES are planned to be located (1)

Organized walk in the area where industrial RES are planned to be located (1)

Organized walk in the area where industrial RES are planned to be located (2)

Organized walk in the area where industrial RES are planned to be located (2)

Information Event

Chios' Citizens and Windmills Information Event 31 March 2012

Map imaging of windfarms in Aipos Mountain

Map imaging of windfarms in Aipos Mountain - Chios

Comic script on Industrial RES

Comic script on Industrial RES: "Reforestation began in Chios"