20 Mar, 2023 @ 20:00
2 mins read

Hundreds protest against giant solar macro project in Serrania de Ronda

Protest March Setenil

A handful of mayors have been joined by an X-Factor winner to oppose a series of giant solar macro projects that will ‘scar’ large parts of the stunning Serrania de Ronda.

The group, including mayors from Setenil, El Gastor and Cuevas del Becerro, marched with over 100 people against what they claim is ‘speculative development’.

The protesters – that included Spain’s first X-Factor winner, Maria Villalon, who is from Setenil – insist the only people to benefit from up to a dozen giant schemes in the area are the company’s owners.

Maria Villalon Protests
Spain’s first X-Factor winner Maria Villalon spoke at the protest.

They say the 1000 hectares of land that is to be turned into a giant solar farm between Setenil and the famous Roman site of Acinipo, will only create energy for northern Europe.

And the ugly installations are ‘anything but sustainable’ and a series of giant power lines will ruin the celebrated beauty of the Ronda la Vieja area.

Federico Schatz And Marisa Join Protests
Protesters stand in front of the area earmarked for the project.

“They are sacrificing some of Andalucia’s most beautiful areas without proper environmental impact studies,” Setenil mayor Rafael Vargas told the Olive Press.

“Tourism and local produce, such as wine, should be the focus on our area’s good productive land, yet when I was joined by 92 other mayors in Sevilla last month to demand a public enquiry, we were simply swatted away.”

Protest March Setenil
Protesters marched through the town carrying olive tree branches.

Award-winning Ronda winemaker Federico Schatz meanwhile added that in some places the giant schemes are digging up ancient ‘centenario’ olive trees.

The German, whose bodega was one of the first in Europe to be carbon neutral, added: “They also need a lot of water to clean them, that in an area and a time when we are suffering an extreme drought.”

“So much of this is about big money and giant grants from the EU. It is like a gold rush and with so many projects going in it feels like they are sacrificing Andalucia like killing a suckling pig.”

Mayor Of Setenil
Setenil mayor Rafael Vargas attended the protest.

One of the organisers of the protest Marisa Casal, who is based in Coin, estimated there are 60 projects alone in Malaga province.

“It’s a carve up, but we are not going to be beaten and are organising many more protests, in Alora and Canete la Real alone over the next two weeks.”

Before singing the Andalucian regional anthem, Villalon told the crowd: “We may be from villages and the country, but we are not stupid. To put it simply, the Serrania is not for sale!”

Visit www.rutadelaplaca.com to see the extent of the planned schemes and the power lines going in around the region.

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Jon Clarke (Publisher & Editor)

Jon Clarke is a Londoner who worked at the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday as an investigative journalist before moving permanently to Spain in 2003 where he helped set up the Olive Press. He is the author of three books; Costa Killer, Dining Secrets of Andalucia and My Search for Madeleine.

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