TWO huge solar power farms planned for Spain’s Vega Baja region are now in doubt because of a combination of bad timing and poor communication.
The original planning application from the Catral Electric Cooperative was submitted before the DANA and floods of September 2019.
But now since the disaster the area has been designated a flood plain and so the project may yet be shelved.
The Valencian government has put in place an plan to accelerate approval of solar plants in the region, without any need to file a ‘declaration of community interest’, an administrative procedure that can take years.
However, one condition of the resolution bans solar plants ‘in areas with the greatest risk of flooding’, and since last year’s storms and flooding, the Vega Baja is in that grouping.
In the meantime, the company has made ready a €1 million power plant featuring 4,500 solar panels and is waiting for the go ahead to install it.
Catral’s mayor, Inmaculada Ubeda, confirmed the cooperative has had the necessary permits to work on rustic land, but an environmental group called AHSA (Amigos de los Humedales del Sur de Alicante or Friends of the South Wetlands of Alicante) had objected.
Slow communication between the two had already threatened the project, but the change in land classification may end the build altogether.
A flood defence system was mooted, but the cooperative would have needed express permission to build it before work started.
An even bigger investment of €2.5 million on a site with 7,000 solar panels on 54,000 square meters of rural land in nearby Callosa de Segura is also under threat for the same reason.