Exprophies and environmental damage: the rebellion of the rural world against the macroprojects of renewables

"Renewable yes, but not so". This is the motto that echoes in all the corners of the Spanish rural world. Organizations as a partnership Save the fields,

Exprophies and environmental damage: the rebellion of the rural world against the macroprojects of renewables

"Renewable yes, but not so". This is the motto that echoes in all the corners of the Spanish rural world. Organizations as a partnership Save the fields, the Energy Alliance or Territory encourages - a group of 152 organizations - are just some of them. All share the same problem: the impact of megaprojects of renewable energies in its municipalities. "We want a distributed model, not macroprojects that do not cease to be mere urban speculation of hundreds of hectares," Juan Portillo, spokesman for Save the Fields.

This is the case of the Helena Solar complex, of the Spanish company Solaria. In addition, two more multinationals, the German Viridi and the Spanish Prodiel, are also developing their projects in that same location. In total, the photovoltaic energy megaparking will be distributed in seven projects that add a total of 2,000 hectares in the municipality of Mentrida, in the province of Toledo, and covers up to 23% of its municipal term; The equivalent of 3,000 soccer fields. Save the fields to be contrary, due to the negative impact that it supposes for its biodiversity, landscape, and economy.

"The achievement of these projects would mean the destruction of a good part of the Méntrida fields, a serious environmental damage to their ecosystems, the worsening of the quality of life of its inhabitants, and as a consequence, an economic damage to all sectors of the people , whose future would be mortgaged to the designs of three multinationals, "they say in a statement. Specifically, the project implies having to start olive groves, and oaks for the installation of the plates, as well as the elimination of the vegetable cover to prevent fires. The neighbors alert that this will cause soil erosion and that the damage will be irreparable. In addition, Memnida is home to "sensitive species" as the Royal Milano and, in the case of black vulture, the area is crucial for its conservation.

"There is an urbanization that will be completely surrounded by these plants," says Portillo. "Viridi's projects cover 76 hectares of olive grove and 92 of vineyard, what is the meaning of decarbonization if this is to load biodiversity and co2 sinks?" He asks him. Also the transportation of this energy is at the point of view of the associations and neighbors. Recently, 38 municipalities by which 180 kilometers of high voltage take place against these towers.

Mayor's own mayor, Alfonso Arriero, alert a 'boom' of renewable energies. He ensures that the municipalities find out about the projects when they have already been presented, and only when they come out published in the BOE, they can submit allegations. In addition, the mayor explains that in the case of Castilla-La Mancha regulations are ancient, and still do not contemplate projects of these magnitudes. "The problem we have is that the subsidiary rules we have are from the year 85 and in that year there were no renewable energies, there is a legal vacuum that is difficult to solve", specific.

In that sense, the wind farms also raise roughness among the local population. In Spain, the 2033 wind farms in its territory generate about 45.5 GW of power, most installed in Castile León (11.3 GW). In this autonomous community in which the Bierzo is located, a mountainous region of the Northwest Leonés in which 13 wind facilities have been raised and that has the opposition of several neighborhood organizations.

"We call them wind industrial polygons," Susana Dávila, spokesman for the neighborhood, sustainable rural platform. "The impact is not only visual, but there are also health consequences," she says. She denounces that the EnelGreen Power and Statkraft enterprises want to build 13 new projects in the area, some of them less than a kilometer from population nuclei, such as Busmayor or Corrales. "It's like living at an airport," she complains. For neighbors, these projects could also stagger the cornerstone of rural tourism in the region: silence.

"The conditions that can generate the noise of wind turbines are many and insufficiently studied," says an expert engineer in renewables. "One of the few studies carried out, developed by Danish scientists in 2019, related the noise of wind turbines with sleep alterations and greater antidepressant consumption."

"I was cheated to sign and now I regret it" laments José Blanque, farmer of organic products. "I signed a lease for 35 years for three plots, but when the presentation of the project came out in the BOE, I found out that they had included another eight without my consent," he tells him. Juan says they offered to lease him the ground but nobody explained that the plot of him could be declared public utility.

Now it is threatened by the expropriation of its farmland for the construction of the photovoltaic project Ququima, in the municipalities of Baza and Caniles. "They accuse us of being denunction of climate change, but I had my solar plates for self-consumption, which is what the European Union is asking, not to tear our way of life," says the farmer.

The inhabitants of these municipalities denounce that the project, 700 hectares and 200 mw of power, will not only cause great environmental damage, and a consequent worsening of quality of life from its inhabitants, but also a serious economic damage. "I am preparing my children for the generational relay but when we expropriate we will not have enough terrain that is required for granting grants for ecological farmers," he explains.

In this sense, one of the great concerns of these peoples are the changes of land use in terrain assignments since, to install a renewable energy park, the type of industrial use must be changed. "Once the lands give urban relocation, the soil changes from agricultural to industrial and that is going to be very difficult to reverse, and these companies do not want to exploit these plants, they want to give them to investment funds," explains Portillo.

"Processing is very unfair because there is no public participation, at best you find out because you stumble upon the BOE and you have only 30 days to organize yourself, and if you jump the deadlines you are out," Narra Luis Bolonio, spokesman for Encourage. Furthermore, in the case of an administrative contentious, it is necessary to have a legally constituted association with at least two years of antiquity. "If you lose, you can condemn you at the cost, and if what is asked is the precautionary paralysis of the project, ask for a money bail," he explains. Because of this, we save the fields has had to start a microfinance campaign to deal with possible legal classes and from encouragement a demonstration has been convened in Madrid for October 16.

Spokesmen of the Ministry have confirmed that "it is impossible to carry out a posting of how many renewable energy projects are being approved." The reason for this is that, unless they occupy the territory of more than one CCAA, competition for projects of less than 50 MW have the autonomous communities, while the parks that exceed this power pass through the ministry filter. In any case, since the MITECA ensure that "the volume of the electrical projects that apply for permission to be executed is much higher than those that are culminated and constructed."

However, the organizations alert "danger of law fraud" by companies when proposing projects to administrations. "Many companies what they do is subdivide a large project in several projects of less than 50 MW so as not to have to go through the control of the ministry. Thus, environmental studies associated with each plot are presented in the Autonomous Community, which is a deception Because the real impact is that of the project in its entirety, "explains Bolonio.

In that sense, there is the scientific community makes the same complaint. On December 11, 23 Scientists and Spanish experts published a letter in Science magazine in which they expose that developers promote their projects in soils of high ecological value and little economic value, "exacerbated" by fragmentation of large projects in plants Smaller, resulting in the "dosage" of its real environmental impact.Coinciding with the date of publication of the Charter, the MITECO published a cartographic environmental sensitivity tool to zonify the territory, depending on the implementation of these diverse technologies. However, these maps are not binding, so Portillo maintains that "they do not serve at all".

"Projects are being published in the BOE that we should not have been admitted and we are doing the work of the administration. The Solaria project in Méntrida was published without having fulfilled a whole year of environmental study, which is an irregularity" , he says.

In this regard, the Government has developed the Integrated Energy and Climate Plan 2021-2030 (PNEC), which describes the strategy to disabber the Spanish economy, sent to Brussels last January. One of its objectives is to produce 89 GW of wind and photovoltaic energy by the year 2030, however currently there are already 58.87 GW installed and about 147.1 GW with permission to access Electric Network of Spain (Ree). "What is happening is a dripping of projects, nobody, neither the communities nor the ministry know how many are coming out," explains Bolonio.

Why is this model of megaplantas fostered instead of legislative changes to facilitate self-consumption, which is what would benefit and lower the bill of light? ", Bolonio wonders. For Portillo there are many other unknowns." When the Contracts in 30 years, what will happen to the grounds? They have the obligation to return them as they were before, but if they destroy the medium, that will be impossible and also, these plants do not have hardly operators, so they do not even generate employment. If you occupy our fields and vineyards, if they ruin our landscape, what are we supposed to live? "

Updated Date: 21 September 2021, 16:20

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