Problematic solar power plants

By TPN/Lusa, in News, Business, Health & Environment · 02-05-2021 10:00:00 · 3 Comments

Of the nine large solar power plants in public consultation in the first quarter of the year, most are scheduled for forestry areas and only one is "an example to follow", the association Zero said.

If there is no "greater care and planning", the result "could be disastrous", stressed the environmental organisation.

Zero - Associação Terrestre Sustentável reported that three of the projects presented deserve disapproval, "due to their size and the type of affected area or the extension of the very high voltage lines", and in five there are "aspects that it was important to be very careful".

"Zero looks with great apprehension at this new race for the installation of photovoltaic solar parks, some of which are very large, in which the selection of sites falls largely on forest areas, first of all because, with the destruction of forests, the environmental benefits that result from the installation may not be superior to the maintenance of the forest area", emphasised the environmental organization, in the same note.

According to the association, of the nine projects, only one has the intention of installing the plant in a "concession area for the exploitation of geological resources" and some require continuous areas that "reach more than a thousand hectares".

Although ZERO considers "positive for the country" the intention to invest in photovoltaic solar, so that Portugal can achieve "climate neutrality in 2050", it is essential to prevent "impacts and conflicts", as it claims to have happened with the expansion of wind energy "in sensitive areas".

Zero emphasised that, among areas with dispersed cork oaks, other hardwoods, maritime pine and stone and eucalyptus, "more than 2,200 hectares of forest area that will be affected with the installation of photovoltaic plants", which corresponds to "63 percent of the area to intervene".

According to the association for the defence of the environment, this area, equivalent to a power of 2.4 gigawatt (GW), is "an alert", taking into account the objective of reaching more than 9 GW of solar power by 2030.

The association says, in the same statement, that considering the extraordinary needs related to the production of green hydrogen, "the value may come close to or exceed 10,000 hectares, an area equivalent to the municipality of Lisbon".

The environmental protection organization defended the performance of "urgent studies on the impact of plants on fauna, in particular on avifauna", because the installation of electric lines results in mortality, "resulting from a collision with aerial conductors".

In the same note, Zero stressed that "it is imperative to improve access to information about the projects being consulted by residents in the vicinity of the areas where they intend to install photovoltaic plants", taking into account the "numerous complaints that come" to the association in this regard.

The nine solar photovoltaic plants are planned for the municipalities of Viseu (Central Solar Photovoltaic [CSF] Lupina), Vila Nova de Paiva (CSF Adomingueiros and Nave), Alenquer and Azambuja (CSF Cerca), Alenquer (CSF Carregado), Azambuja (CSF Rio Maior and Torre Bela), Nice (CSF Falagueira), Albufeira (CSF Montechoro I and II), Santiago do Cacém (CSF THSiS) and Moimenta da Beira and Armamar (CSF Douro Solar)

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Why they don't build a solar power plant to the side of Foia. There are already wind electricity mils (with high voltage grid), south side of Foia is more or less without trees (no need to cut down), lot's of space and sun. Plus photovoltage panels would protect the ground from erosion of rain.

By JJussi from Algarve on 03-05-2021 11:30

When renewable energy companies are choosing forested sites as their go-to location for installations - it occurs to me that the levels of ‘green-washing’ in Portugal are reaching saddening new heights. This demonstrates the arrogant laziness of these companies, in not even attempting to find suitable industrial, semi-industrial or brown-field sites. Cutting down many square kilometers of forest to move towards carbon neutrality, demonstrates a very twisted logic, in my opinion. Come on renewables, green in nature not only name, please!

By Amanda from Algarve on 03-05-2021 09:37

And there are more solar projects in the pipeline... Such as the 83MW plans of Spanish renewable giant Iberdrola in the pristine Barrocal Boulder fields of the East Algarve.
An area of 200 hectares of extreme biodiversity, thousands of trees, rare plants and home to over 50 bird species alone.
Incredibly this area is designated as REN land, with maximum infiltration to the underlying Peral-Moncarapacho aquifer. Let’s stand together, for nature and our future.

By Duarte pereira from Algarve on 02-05-2021 08:05
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