Powerscape


2017
Puglia – Campania (IT)
Photographer: Alessandro Guida
Text: Viviana Rubbo

Powerscape is a journey on the ridges of the sub-Apennines called Daunio in the Apulia region; a route across the most productive wind farms in Italy. Travelling the peaks of Campania and Puglia, you walk the slopes of Faeto, the brown hills of Rocchetta Sant’Antonio, Lacedonia up to Candela. September, the land has been recently plowed and forms a pattern of large dark clods, black smoke ground and the yellow of the stubble. The border between Campania and Puglia is dotted with flags : lands of conquest. And in fact, it’s not just any place. It is one of the most productive ‘wind mines’.

On the Apulian side, the little village of Faeto (627 ab) and Sant’Agata di Puglia (1959 ab), are among the first ten municipalities, albeit very small, of the great Italian wind power (data from Lega Ambiente 2017 Report, “I comuni rinnovabili”). What does it mean? Puglia contributes significantly with approximately 28.9% of national wind production. In Italy, there are 293 municipalities with large wind farms (made up of towers with powers exceeding 200 kW) that largely exceed the needs of resident families. Of the 334 Italian Municipalities equipped with these plants, the report continues, 7 of those produce between the 99% and 70% of the local needs, another 7 between 69% and 50% and 11 between 49% and 20%. All the rest stays under this threshold. At present in Italy, the so-called municipalities of the wind power reach number 904, 4.5% of the Italian municipalities. 

But if on the one hand the imperative is to abandon the fossil fuel and move towards the production of clean energy, on the other hand, for more than two decades now, the lack of national and regional strategies and the absence of careful and forward-looking planning, has tragically transformed the Italian landscape. In particular in the regions of southern Italy and its islands that have seen a random and wicked distribution of hundreds of wind farms. Plants built without taking into account the heavy consequences on the landscape and on the farmers and breeders daily life. “A forest of pipes and shovels, one behind the other, alongside the mountain ridges. The horizon is cut by the propellers, it seems that the earth can take off and all of us, at any moment, head towards the heaven ” wrote Antonello Caporale in 2012 describing the landscape of the small village of Candela.
Only a couple of months ago, an article on Europatoday (26.11.2017) titled “Gone with the wind: the Bei (European Investments Bank) finances 8 wind farms in the central and southern Italy“. New wind farms in the regions of Abruzzo, Basilicata, Campania, Puglia and Sicily. New towers mean the construction of impressive infrastructures: roads, artefacts, excavations for laying cables, transformer cabins.

We are creating new territories, new productive landscapes. But how are they currently being transformed? How will they change over time? 
This work wants to explore them and make them known. ─