In La Baña, an agricultural town of 3,500 inhabitants located 30 kilometers north of Santiago de Compostela, Nely Pisco has prepared the sign that she will hold up during the demonstration scheduled for Sunday, June 5 in the capital of the region. against “wind invasion”. “Because of capital, we are driven from our lands” is the watchword chosen by this teacher and bus driver, president of the Fonte Seca association, created in 2020 to fight against the proliferation of wind farm projects in the region.
“We are going to put mills 220 meters high 500 meters from our houses, the minimum set by law, says, angry, this mother of two children, who owns forest land planted with eucalyptus threatened with expropriation, cornfields and a few pigs and chickens. The worst part is the water: we drink straight from pure, untreated spring water here. However, to install these gigantic aerogenerators, the foundations will necessarily cut the watercourse. »
In his municipality, no less than six wind farm projects have been submitted in recent years, representing around forty aerogenerators. “In total, almost 60% of the total surface of La Baña is affected. It is insane. Both because of the stress that this will cause for the livestock and heart and neurological problems for the residents, who will suffer the infernal and constant roar of the blades. »
Organized by the “Eoliennes, comme ça non” platform, bringing together more than 180 environmental associations, trade unions and local elected officials, Sunday’s demonstration in Santiago de Compostela, the latest in a list that continues to grow. lie in Spain, has chosen the slogan “We have alternatives”. “We are not against wind turbines, we are simply asking for rational planning of these installations and a change of model that prioritizes efficiency and energy saving first,” explains Belen Rodriguez, spokesperson for the main environmental association. of Galicia, created in 1974, Adega.
“In Galicia, wind turbines have become invasive: there are more than 300 projects on hold at the moment, due to the expected windfall of funds from the Next Generation recovery plan. But they are not harmless to the environment, either because huge areas of extensive agriculture and livestock farming will be affected, or because they threaten species and biodiversity needed to meet the climate challenge.” , she continues.
The administration is overwhelmed with files
With more than 4,000 wind turbines distributed in nearly 190 wind farms, Galicia is the region of Spain with the most wind turbines per square kilometre. Vast landscape of bogs battered by the winds, enveloped in mist or sprinkled with rain, the mountains of the Serra do Xistral, in the extreme north-west of Spain, thus have twenty-nine wind farms, bringing together nearly 850 aerogenerators , a considerable number of which are located in the heart of a Natura 2000 classified area.
“Galicia represents 6% of the Spanish area, but 14% of wind energy production, and there is talk of tripling it, summarizes Belen Rodriguez. Almost 30% of the wind power produced in the region is already exported to the rest of the country. The question is also whether all these mills are calibrated on demand or if we are dealing with speculation. »
The Spanish government is itself overwhelmed by the number of projects submitted, in Galicia or elsewhere in Spain. While the objective it has set itself is to put 60 GW of renewable energy into operation by 2030, the projects presented in recent years represent 150 GW. To relieve the administration, which is overwhelmed with 700 files, 210 of which correspond to wind farms, he encouraged companies to withdraw the least viable projects, in particular those located in sensitive environmental areas, by offering them the possibility of recovering the funds deposited as collateral.
“The key to decarbonization”
On the contrary, the association of wind companies (AEE) asked the government on May 18 to “accelerate the authorization procedures for renewable energies”, which are “the key to the energy security plan and the decarbonization of the ‘Europe and Spain’, recalling that only 0.8 MW of wind power has been installed in 2021, while the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIE) has set a target of 2.2 GW annually until 2030. “We cannot spare a single wind project that can come into operation within the next two years and respect the principles of minimum environmental impact,” said AEE President Juan Virgilio Marquez .
With 1,300 wind farms installed and 21,600 wind turbines totaling 28 GW of power, Spain is already the second largest producer of wind energy in the European Union, behind Germany and ahead of France (19 GW). And as part of the urgent measures approved to deal with the consequences of the war in Ukraine and rising energy prices, the left-wing government on March 29 adopted a fast-track procedure to authorize new wind farms in less than 75 MW located outside protected areas.