“The compensation plan for the cutting down of cork oaks in the Morgavel wind farm foresees the planting of circa 42 thousand trees and bushes, of which 30 thousand will be cork oaks, in an area approved by the ICNF (Forest and Nature Conservation Institute), equivalent to 50 acres and much bigger than the land reserved for the wind farm’s construction,” EDP Renewables stated in a press release.

The EDP has guaranteed it will safeguard the maintenance of that forest area for the duration of the project “and, effectively immediately, build access roads across over seven kilometres, with a direct impact in helping fight wildfires.”

“Of the cork oaks identified for elimination, 75% are in a young phase of life, with a significant amount of cork oaks in bad states of conservation existing,” the company pointed out.

The cork oak is a protected species of tree and emblematic to the country’s landscape.

The minister of Environment declared the “unprecedented public utility” of the Morgavel Wind Farm, which EDP Renewables wants to build in Sines, authorising the cutting of 1821 cork oaks, according to a brief published by Diário da República.

The brief by Duarte Cordeiro declares “the unprecedented public utility of the Morgavel Wind Farm (PEM) and of the 400kV electric line connecting it to the Sines substation,” considering that all the necessary conditions are met, like the project’s environmental conformity, the permits for cutting cork oaks granted by the landowners, and that the Moncorvo Wind Farm, run by EDP Renewables, presented a compensation project for the planting of a mixed population of cork oaks and strawberry trees in an area of 50.07 acres.

The company had asked permission to proceed with the cutting of 1821 cork oaks in an area of 32.22 acres located in the parishes of Sines and Porto Covo and the Parish Union of Santiago do Cacém, Santa Cruz and São Bartolomeu da Serra, in Sines and Santiago do Cacém municipalities.

With the brief published, the Ministry of Environment authorised the cutting of those trees, conditioning it to “the approval and implementation of the compensation project and respective management plan,” as well as the “following of eventual conditions presented by the licensing entity of this project and all applicable demands.”

The Government’s decision was also influenced by the “relevant public, economic and social interest in the enterprise, in relation to the inherent obligations in the signed contract between the candidate and Portuguese Government, to which they’re contractually obliged to promote the execution of the Wind Farm that plays a part in the Portuguese State’s following of the Kyoto objectives and the National Energy Plan.”

The Environmental Impact Evaluation was also considered, which decided together with the enterprise’s location, after the alternatives were calculated, as well as the declaration by Sines Council which expresses the municipality’s interest in the wind farm’s installation.

In February, the Contest Authority (AdC) authorised EDP Renewables to buy the Moncorvo Wind Farm, which now is dedicated to conceiving and implementing the Morgavel Wind Farm in Sines municipality.

Morgavel is the titular of the right of interconnectivity with the network for a guaranteed payout on installing 50MW of wind power production capacity, as well as the right to install an additional 10MW of extra equipment, in the terms of the contract signed with the General Directorate of Energy and Geology in May 2009.

The Morgavel Wind Farm acquisition process on the part of EDP Renewables finds itself currently in the conclusion phase, according to the company.