“The authorisation that was granted for this photovoltaic plant is clearly in contradiction with what has to be the intention of Portugal and the world to combat climate change and protect the natural environment”, she said.

Speaking to Lusa news agency, after participating in a public meeting against the plant, at the invitation of the Together Movement for the Cercal do Alentejo, Inês Sousa Real criticised the “opacity” and “speed” of the project.

“It is enough to see that the public hearing”, within the scope of the Environmental Impact Study (EIA), “was open for three days, which denotes a lack of political will to listen to the population and the interests of the population”, she accused.

According to the spokesperson for the People-Animals-Nature (PAN) party, this plant, which received a favourable but conditioned Environmental Impact Statement (EIA) from the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) at the end of July, “will destroy a vast area, whether forest or agricultural”, and affect biodiversity.

Ensuring that PAN is solidary with the population of Cercal do Alentejo, namely with the movement created to contest the plant. Inês Sousa Real also pointed out that the project will affect “a region marked by tourism”.

It is an “investment that does not revert to the population, but to the company and economic interests behind those who will carry out the investment, it seems to us more a policy of ‘greenwashing’ and is counter-productive to what is necessary for a green energy transition”, she said.

She added that “the APA continues to shamefully continue to give a ‘green card’ to this type of facility and the Ministry of Environment is not serving the interests of protecting the environment” and “the population”.

The plant project, promoted by Cercal Power, SA, of the Aquila Capital group, has a planned global investment of €164.2 million and is to cover a total area of ​​around 816 hectares, although the 320 hectares (40 percent of the area), will be where 553,800 photovoltaic panels will be installed.

The Together Movement for Cercal do Alentejo has already admitted that it may resort to the courts to try to impede the advance of the project.