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Energy and the Landscape

The challenge to reconcile renewable energies and the landscape of Fuerteventura


A platform of neighbors against the dispersion is created by all the geography of Fuerteventura of 60 wind turbines, that criticizes the lack of a suitable insular planning to avoid impacts


Like Don Quixote, who started his battle against some giant giants, in Campo de Criptana, approximately 30 mills, in Fuerteventura a large number of neighbors has undertaken an offensive to save the island's landscape and biodiversity, without renouncing renewable energies.

The situation is complex: Fuerteventura's energy supply depends almost exclusively on fossil and polluting resources, with the controversial power station located in the El Charco neighborhood of the capital as an exponent.

The Island is committed to renewables but has lacked adequate planning and areas where wind or photovoltaic installations could be installed have not been precisely defined. As a result, now an avalanche of wind farms, with some 60 wind turbines scattered throughout the interior of the insular geography, in virgin and rural spaces, suppose "a serious impact for the landscape and for the avifauna".

In the field of civil society, a critical vision has germinated: renewable and clean energies are being defended, but the power of multinationals to impose where parks are installed without taking into account their impact on the landscape or fauna of the Island. The first meetings and contacts have already been held.

Fuerteventura's SOS Landscape and Biodiversity platform has been joined by affected residents, as well as experts in ornithology and people linked to green tourism, as well as various associations, including Fuerteventura Sostenible, which is coordinated by the engineer Yurena Marichal, a of those responsible also to face the Red Eléctrica Española (REE) with the high voltage towers that have injured the half island's horizon.

Marichal says that it is necessary an insular energy planning and a change of model, but stresses that the wind farms are part of the old planning imposed by the energy oligopolies such as Gas Natural Fenosa, which last year entered more than 23,300 million euros, or Iberdrola, with a turnover of more than 31,400 million euros. Both companies have strong interests in Fuerteventura and "only care about their income statement."

For Marichal, the situation is very clear: the subsidies that the European Union has created to mitigate climate change in energy issues until 2020, in the Canary Islands are very late. "These are the so-called 20, 20, 20 (20 percent reduction of CO 2 emissions, 20 renewable energy and 20 energy efficiency) in the archipelago do not reach 15 percent," the engineer adds.

Thus, he explains, "much remains to be done and hence this acceleration" that has been seen in recent months. Through this aid from the European Union for the energy transition many companies have seen a round business in installing wind farms, regardless of their location, "because Europe reverses 70 percent of the investment". "They also have the bargain that energy enters the premium quota that exists in the Canary Islands, so they are going to pay the electricity above the market price," he says.

"It is clear that there is no financial product that gives these profit margins of more than 50 percent" and, "in fact, we are sure that once the subsidies are collected, they will sell or subcontract the management of the parks to other companies", says the spokesperson for Fuerteventura Sostenible.

The rush to approve those 21 wind farms is becoming evident. The administrative procedures "are being carried out in a very transparent way," the critics point out, to such an extent that the neighbors learn when they are about to expropriate their land from private companies "at the price of balance".

In other cases, the situation is even worse. For example, Leahn Stanhope, a neighbor of El Time, who bought her house eight years ago, has just learned that some 360 ​​meters from her home they are going to install a 156 meter high wind turbine, similar to the Torre Picasso in Madrid, which has 47 plants. The process is underway and almost ready to conclude, although it is "completely irregular", defends the affected, because the distances to the houses according to the law is 400 meters.

This Englishwoman, who many years ago chose Fuerteventura for her "spectacular" landscape, affirms that now she will "live inside a wind farm". "Because this island is so flat, it's going to turn all of it into a wind farm, so at the airport entrance they should say: Welcome to a wind farm."



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