March 29, 2023

Citizens group against solar installations in Santiago do Casem and threatens courts

An urban group today challenged the project to install a photovoltaic plant in the municipality of Santiago do Cacém (Setúbal), which involved the alleged cutting of 1.5 million trees, and threatened to go to court.

In a statement, the group ProtegerAlentejo1260ha argued that “the issuance of the favorable environmental impact statement” for the photovoltaic project to be developed by Iberdrola and Prosolia Energy in the parish of São Domingos and Vale de Água will result in the “slaughter of one and one half a million trees to plant two million solar panels”.

“The project in question had previously and twice received a negative opinion from the Evaluation Committee due to the expected negative impacts. The effects highlighted are identified as negative, very significant and irreversible,” he stressed.

In its statement, the citizens’ group stressed that it is “completely opposed to the implementation” of this solar PV, which is why it will choose to go to court: “It is our decision to defend our position and our rights through the courts. .

“The measures and compensations proposed by the proponent do not respond in any way to the demands expressed by the population in the two public consultations,” criticized the movement.

In the public consultation on the redrafted project, the group said it presented “a 74-page submission in which the incompatibility was demonstrated [da central] with national and regional strategies, programs and plans”.

This contribution by ProtegerAlentejo1260ha also exposed “the serious omissions and untruths contained in the EIA [Estudo de Impacte Ambiental] was presented”, he emphasized.

Despite this, the organizers “managed to convince” the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA) “with their arguments and a series of promises”, but “these commitments are not realistic, nor likely to be fulfilled”, criticized the citizens’ group.

On January 31, Iberdrola and Prosolia Energy received an environmental permit for the construction of the Fernando Pessoa solar project in São Domingos, with an installed capacity of 1,200 megawatts (MW), the largest in Europe and the fifth largest in the world.

The company said it estimated the future infrastructure would be operational “in 2025” and that construction would create “up to 2,500” jobs, “mostly by local workers”.

The solar PV park will provide “enough clean, cheap and locally produced energy to meet the annual needs of around 430,000 homes, a population equivalent to almost twice the city of Porto”, organizers said.

According to Iberdrola, the “plant, whose connection to the grid has already been concluded with the Portuguese operator REN, will avoid the consumption of 370 million cubic meters of natural gas per year, the volume required to produce the same amount of energy in combined cycle. “.

“In terms of protecting biodiversity, the land can be used by local herders as pasture for raising sheep and beehives will be introduced, which will help improve ecosystem stability and increase crop yields in the surrounding farmland ». you can read in the press release issued by the company.

In the area around the infrastructure “plantations will be made to replace the eucalyptus with native trees”, he stressed.

The initial project of Prosolia Energy involved investments of one billion euros and caused popular protest in April 2021.

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