Traditionally the mafia controls operations in gambling, prostitution, protection, extortion, and loan-sharking, yet recent evidence shows that they might actually be adding renewable energy to that list.
Italian police have recently discovered links between the Sicilian crime families known as the Cosa Nostra, and wind and solar power companies in the area. Law enforcement officers have taken around a dozen crime bosses off to jail, along with corrupt officials and company executives; they have also seized around 30 percent of Sicily’s wind farms, and have frozen more than $2 billion worth of assets.
Back in 2010 a similar police operation saw the seizure of over 40 companies, land, buildings, factories, bank accounts, stocks, cars, and yachts from the Sicilian business man Vito Nicastri, also known as the ‘Lord of the Wind’ due to his investments in wind farms and solar panel factories.
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It is likely that the Mafia has been attracted to renewable energy for several reasons; Sicily is a sunny, windy island that offers great alternative energy opportunities; much like Germany and Spain, Italy has been awarding generous subsidies to try and encourage the development of renewable energy projects; and also, the renewable energy industry offers a legitimate business which is likely to be around for many years and can provide a good front for the family.
Other renewable energy projects in Sardinia and Apulia are also being investigated for their connection to known crime families.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com