CONTROL: Wind farms in forest protection

They already contribute significantly to forest protection and forest firefighting and with appropriate measures and cooperation with authorities, they can contribute even more. This is the main conclusion of the event-debate organized by the Hellenic Scientific Association for Wind Energy (ELETAEN) as part of the 6th International Report Verde.tec, on the subject: “Forest protection, fire detection, volunteering and wind parks”. Dr. Efthymios Lekkas, Professor of Dynamic Tectonics, Applied Geology & Management of Natural Disasters of the EKPA, Mr. George Vasilopoulos, Director of the Office of the Secretary-General of Forestry RIS Mr. Stathopoulos, Mr. Antonis Koukouzas, Epipyragos, Legal Officer of the Association of Graduate Officers of the Fire Corps (EPAPS), Mr. George Delapartas, Director-General of the technology company PROBOTEK and the President of ELETAEN Mr. Mr. Nikos Sakkas, Secretary of Volunteer Forest Firefighters Styros Evias, also participated, who as a member of a voluntary forest firefighting team has considerable experience. She was discussed by police reporting reporter Mrs. Tasoula Papanikolaou. Wind farms already contribute to protecting and upgrading the forest environment in at least the following ways: Roads improving or opening for wind farms are designed, constructed and maintained in good condition, in cooperation with forest services and in accordance with their specifications, to serve both forest and fire-fighting service vehicles to protect the forest. For this to date, the roads of wind farms have helped fire forces on several occasions while wind turbine squares have offered suitable surveillance points. Wind farms shall reforest an equal area to that occupied by the forestry service or perform equivalent forestry works. These reforestations and projects are carried out by wind farms, in addition to the restoration made after the completion of their construction on the surfaces not occupied by infrastructure projects during the operation of wind parks. Wind farms contribute to tackling the climate crisis that is the main cause of the growing threats now faced by forests. In addition, wind parks can contribute even more to both prevention and firefighting of forest fires by joining the relevant design. Specifically: Infrastructure projects that build wind parks, and in particular roads that are improving or opening up, can be used more effectively by forest authorities for the active management of forests and forest land, in the context of the new forestry policy. Wind farms can provide exceptional signs of preventive surveillance and surveillance of surrounding forests and forest areas for early detection of fire outbreaks. Systems may include fixed multi-feature remote sensing devices, weather stations and unmanned aircraft autonomous systems stations. By means of new technologies systems in their field, they can ensure immediate collection of initial data and timely mobilisation of operational resources of fire forces that may be scaled according to the analysis of the data to be sent continuously to authorities. They may provide previously known sites for coordinating and supporting operational resources, ensuring their safe accessibility. The possibility of using the wind park as the site for the installation of the ‘OLYMPOS’ Moving Operational Centers is a strengthening role in this coordination. In the context of the compensatory measures and the planned forestry projects defined by the forestry service, reservoirs of water and water catchment areas may be installed in strategic locations for firefighting forces. All this means that wind parks can join a comprehensive operational design of Civil Protection. The ELETAEN event began with the introductory speech of Professor Efthymios Lekka. Mr. E. Lekkas referred to the ever worsening natural phenomena, as a result of the climate crisis, which are also evident in our country with the fires and flood phenomena of recent years, and stressed that crisis management requires prevention and preparedness. He also made reference to the paraphilologies and false formalities circulating around wind farms, finding that these scientifically do not apply, and stressed the urgent need to turn to Renewable Energy Forms in order to protect the climate. Mr. G. Vassilopoulos developed the provisions of legislation and forestry policy and under what conditions and ways wind farms can serve it. Mr. A. Koukouzas spoke about the contribution of wind parks to the work that the Fire Corps is called upon to fulfil. Mr. G. Delapartas developed the potential for the use of new technologies in fire detection and forest firefighting and their integration into wind park infrastructure. Mr. N. Sakkas transferred his experience in relation to the infrastructure of wind farms with the work of forest firefighting. He also referred to the problems and needs of volunteer forest firefighters. Mr. P. Ladakakos referred, among other things, to the relevant forest legislation, to good examples of reforestation and cases where wind parks helped the work of the Fire Corps in the firefighting of forest fires and presented in quantitative data of space occupied by wind farms.