EC to investigate deluge of renewables in Teruel, Spain, local org says
Wind park in Spain. Author: Santi Villamarín. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.
The European Commission (EC) will launch a preliminary investigation into the proliferation of wind and solar PV farms in the Spanish region of Aragon after a local political group submitted a petition to the European Parliament (EP) to call for the suspension of projects on environmental grounds.
Teruel Existe, a political party that represents interests of Teruel province in Aragon, said on Sunday that its petition had been admitted by the EP Petitions Committee as the issue that the group highlights “falls within the EU fields of activity”. It said that it was informed by the Petitions Committee chair, Spanish MEP Dolors Montserrat, that the case had been sent to the EC.
In the petition, Teruel Existe stated that a strategic environmental assessment on Aragon’s plan for the renewable energy roll-out had never been carried out, and because of this, wind and solar plants ended up being installed in protected natural areas or right next to them.
The normal environmental permitting procedure for projects based in Aragon involves a case-by-case impact assessment, which is based on studies conducted and submitted by project promoters, the group explains.
Teruel Existe calls for all ongoing wind and solar projects in the province to be suspended until the strategic environmental assessment has been carried out, but it singled out one huge development, which it wants to see rejected in full.
Its target is the Maestrazgo Cluster, a project that would involve the construction of 22 wind farms totalling 882.85 MW, ten substations, power lines and two solar PV farms in Teruel province. It is promoted by Spanish renewables developer Forestalia, which sited almost all of its projects in the Aragon region.
According to the petition summary, the law in the case of the Maestrazgo Cluster “has been broken on a number of occasions and no consideration was given, with regard to its location, to the major impact the development would have on the environment and the countryside, or to the social and economic effects it would have”.
Teruel Existe reiterated its position that it wants renewables, “but not like this”, a slogan it chanted on the streets of Madrid last October when it joined several other environmentalist groups to protest against too many large-scale wind and solar projects coming to rural Spain. It said it wants the region of Aragon to develop a plan for the orderly roll-out of renewables, but this plan would have to take into account sensitive landscape and the needs of local communities.
According to their internal tracking, there are currently proposals for 110 wind farms to be built in Teruel, which would occupy some 15% of the province, Teruel Existe says.
They announced that they will stage another protest under the slogan “Renewables yes, but not like this” in the Aragon capital Zaragoza on March 15.
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