Oil giant CEPSA has responded to concerns over its plan to install a massive solar farm near the Serrania de Ronda.
It comes after dozens of furious Ronda residents made the journey to central Malaga last week to protest against the project.
The proposal, which has an investment of 62 million euros, includes a solar farm outside the Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park and would have an estimated power of 100 megawatts.
Despite the grand scale of the plans CEPSA said it was ‘not a mega-project’ and would produce clean energy to supply 64,000 homes and contribute to the elimination of 84 million tons of CO2 emissions per year.
“The project is located on land of low ecological value due to the intensity of agricultural production that takes place on these plots,” a spokesperson said.
“These plots are located 8.2 km from the urban center and 9.7 km from the Tajo de Ronda.”
They added the project ‘avoids any impact on the landscape of the Tajo de Ronda and minimises the space occupied by the installation’.
Green campaigners united outside Hotel NH Malaga last week and chanted ‘renewals yes, but not this way’, as CEPSA executives walked inside for a meeting about the proposed project.
Protester and British expatriate Lisa Ruddock has run hotel La Cazalla for the past eight years in the mountains outside Ronda and said the project was ‘unthinkable’.
“We bought it because here we are completely surrounded by nature – you don’t see a single other property, power line or wind generator,” she told the Olive Press.
“To imagine that will be destroyed by these power lines that will deliver the power from the solar farms to the coast or to other countries in Europe is completely mad and insensitive.”
Ronda resident Pablo Lopez said the project would tarnish the reputation of the UNESCO world heritage city of Ronda.
“Ronda is not in need of this project,” he said.
“Renewals are important, but not here – it will degrade the landscape, damage farm land and business in the tourism industry.”
CEPSA believed the project was ‘fully compatible’ with tourism in the area.
“We have listened to the citizens and we have reoriented the project to preserve the view of the Tajo de Ronda and to achieve the best integration with the environment,” a spokesperson said.
They said an updated proposal considered archaeological interest in the area and reduced the voltage from 400kV to 220kV.
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