Details about the project, “Hydroelectric Development of José Maria de Oriol II”, which were sent by the Spanish authorities, are available for consultation for 30 working days, until May 28, on the “Participate portal”, indicates the APA in a statement.

As part of the process, “all opinions and suggestions presented in writing will be considered and appreciated, as long as they are specifically related to the project under evaluation”.

In the statement, APA says that being aware of the project, “and considering that it could be likely to cause significant environmental effects in Portugal”, it notified Spain of Portugal's interest in participating in the respective Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) procedure.

In response, and within the scope of the "Protocol of action between the Government of the Portuguese Republic and the Government of the Kingdom of Spain on the application to environmental assessments of plans, programs, and projects with transboundary effects", the Spanish authorities sent documentation relating to the potential impacts cross-border project.

The project refers to a new reversible hydroelectric plant to be built in the municipality of Alcántara, province of Cáceres, taking advantage of the existing reservoirs of Cedillo and Alcántara II.

The new plant, under the responsibility of the Spanish company Iberdrola, “will not affect the way in which the net volume of water released downstream of Cedillo is managed”, indicates the documentation provided.

Environmental impact studies made available show that the new project “will produce a moderate environmental impact”, and that the effects on the Natura 2000 Network can be minimised.

The Cedillo dam is on the border with Portugal and, given the definition of the line that separates the two countries, the Alcántara dam is also very close. Between the two is the Tagus International Natural Park.

In the documentation sent for public consultation, it is stated that regarding transboundary impacts “a potential impact on riverine habitats of community interest (HIC) present on the banks of the Cedillo reservoir was detected, as a consequence of the reduction in the level of the reservoir to level 100 during the execution of the works” (five months during the external excavation and construction of cofferdams for the installation of lower water intakes, and another five months during the removal of cofferdams and cleaning of the bed, in non-consecutive years).

It was proposed to develop reforestation equivalent to the affected surfaces in areas where access by mechanical means is viable.

The José Mª de Oriol and Cedillo hydroelectric plants already exist in the Alcántara II and Cedillo reservoirs.

The new plant generates a total of 440 MW of installed power and saves the emission of an estimated 355,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, according to the documents, which account for the generation of 3,600 direct and indirect jobs.