Concern from the Spanish wind sector for the successive blockades of the processing of wind projects in Galicia

The Spanish wind sector observes with great concern the situation that is unfolding in Galicia with the succession of stoppages of wind projects, and urges the institutions to find an urgent solution to the current structural blockade.
With the utmost respect for the decisions of the courts of justice, the sector recognizes that legal uncertainty is being generated to undertake investments in new wind projects, which can have very serious socio-economic consequences for the development of renewable energies in Galicia. The projects that are being paralyzed already have environmental approval and construction authorization by the competent technical bodies by the Xunta de Galicia.

Galicia has more than 3,800 wind MW installed in the different provinces. It is the fourth autonomous community in terms of wind power installed in Spain and covers 54% of the electricity demand with wind energy. Galicia has stood out over the last 20 years for exemplary, orderly and sustainable wind development.

In recent months there has been a standstill in the processing of new wind farms. With the interpretation of the courts in Galicia of the application of Law 21/2013 on environmental impact assessment and, in particular, of the process of public participation during the environmental processing of projects, the development of new renewable facilities in Galicia. With this unprecedented judicial interpretation, the process that has been carried out for more than 10 years is also called into question, in the public consultation phase for the environmental processing of any industrial facility or public infrastructure in our country and in Europe.

The procedures for new wind farms comply with the provisions of the law and comply with the mandatory technical reports. However, some anti-wind collectives, protected by interpretations of the law, lead to the structural blockade of the pertinent procedures, delaying the processes sine die and eliminating any certainty for the companies that have to invest in the territory.

What is the public consultation process like prior to the authorization for the construction of a new wind farm?

The process of environmental analysis of renewable projects in our country is guaranteed, and it may take – depending on the complexity of the project and the autonomous community – more than 900 days from the contribution of the first initial studies until the final obtaining or refusal. of the environmental Authorization by the competent body.

The public consultation process is initiated by the Administration body responsible for processing. As established by law, the process begins to collect, at the same time, information from other bodies that may have to issue technical reports in this regard, and allegations or comments from any organization or person who wants to contribute to the process. public consultation process. Once the deadline for receiving comments, allegations or reports has expired, the responsible body analyzes the documentation and proceeds to approve or not the project, requiring or not modifications to it, and even demanding compensatory or preventive measures from the promoter in its development, without the which the project cannot be built.

Some anti-wind collectives affirm that, in order for citizens to be able to issue their assessment of the project in the public consultation phase, they must have beforehand each and every one of the technical reports –many of them highly specialized and on disciplines that require of a deep technical knowledge of the matter -, which constitutes a tactic, whose purpose is to delay the process. The projects that are being paralyzed have already obtained environmental approval from the competent body, which has had all the technical reports available for its decision-making.

What are the effects of stopping wind projects?

The loss of opportunity is serious. By way of example, according to the studies carried out in the sector based on the proven experience of years of wind development in Spain, the delay of one (1) year in the processing of a 50 MW wind farm in Galicia has a cost for the Galician and Spanish economy of €77.1 million, with the following impacts:

99% of Galicians consider that wind power is compatible with other activities such as livestock or agriculture.
89% agree that the fight against climate change happens because governments reduce polluting energies and bet on renewables.
83% support the development of the wind industry as a measure to advance renewable energy in their environment.
64% affirm that authorizing the creation of new wind farms guarantees the protection of ecosystems and the environment.

Therefore, from the wind sector we urge the urgent search for a solution to unlock the currently paralyzed projects and prevent new projects from following the same path. It is necessary to solve the structural problems that are being experienced in Galicia, which can have very negative effects and which are conditioned by strategies of anti-wind collectives, which are based on justifications without technical rigor, but with a strong ideological and political component, and with interests contrary to territorial development and the penetration of renewable energies in the Autonomous Community.