At issue are the areas in the region between Tavira, São Bras de Alportel and Olhão counties. Although nothing is official yet, PROBAAL have evidence that Iberdrola is planning the construction of a solar panel farm in these places.
Everything started in September 2020. “We have been alerted to this possibility by the fact that Iberdrola did some exploratory ground works here in September and have since been offering contracts to rent land in the locality”, explained PROBAAL.
They have since discovered that several landowners in that region have been approached to rent their land for several years so that the Iberdrola Company could use them for solar panels.
For PROBAAL there are two main causes of concern. Firstly, habitat costs. Thousands of trees, 50 species of birds, plants, flowers (rare orchids included), in these “200 hectares of natural wild life of land and habitat is massive”, said the environmentalists.
Then, the problem that they pointed out as the most dramatic in the case is the potential destruction of a “valuable and healthy” aquifer. “We are above an aquifer. Large amounts of water infiltrate here because of all of these trees and nature, without this vegetation, the water will simply run off, without infiltrating into the soil this will stop the feeding of the aquifer”, they explained.
“They’re turning the Algarve into a desert”, they warned. PROBAAL believe that at a time when the Algarve suffers from a lack of water, it is wrong to destroy an aquifer, even though it can cause even more flood problems in the cities of Faro, as the water that does not infiltrate into the land, runs off to the cities. In addition, “less trees, less rainfall, this is scientific facts”, they clarified.
You are probably wondering, would it not be a good thing for the environment to build a solar panel park because harnessing the sun is a renewable energy? So did I, so we asked what the PROBAAL thought about it.
Well, despite being better than other energy sources, solar panels still pollute. According to the environmentalists, the average life expectancy of solar panels is 25 years and the waste from their recycling can be worrying. “Countries without robust e-waste disposal means are at a higher risk of recycling related issues”, they state, adding that it might lead to the increase of “toxic waste for future generations”.
In addition, PROBAAL explained that solar panels are built using extremely polluting heavy metals, which means that this renewable option, in their opinion, is not perfect and is not worth for the damage in Barrocal.
The Portugal News asked IBERDROLA to comment on the situation but at the time of going to press they had not responded.