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    Castilla y León bans photovoltaic and wind power plants in irrigated areas to curb their expansion


    June 27, 2022 - CE Noticias Financieras

     

      The Junta de Castilla y León has decided to put a stop to the "invasion" of solar and wind farms on farmland and has banned their installation in areas where irrigation systems have been created or modernized in view of the "growing social tension" generated in the countryside.

      The ambitious climate objectives set by Spain have reactivated the interest in the implementation of photovoltaic and wind energy installations in our country, which has provoked the opposition of the agrarian organizations, which ask for a regulation in order not to lose farmland.

      Castilla y León, one of the most affected communities, has decided to meet these demands and has chosen to try to stop the "invasion" of the so-called solar and wind "macrogardens".

      Last Thursday, the Governing Council introduced restrictive measures in the authorization of wind and photovoltaic farms under its jurisdiction, those of less than 50 megawatts.

      It has been through the decree law 2/2022 of June 23, by which urgent measures are adopted for the streamlining of European funds and the boost to economic activity, which introduces amendments to the legislative decree of 2015 by which the revised text of the Law on Environmental Prevention was approved. In them, it introduces the "incompatibility for agronomic reasons" when authorizing this type of facilities, a criterion that is thus added to those already existing in environmental, patrimonial and urban planning matters. Iberdrola will have to dismantle the largest photovoltaic plant in Europe.

      The regional government considers that without this regulation the "flexibility" provided by the state legislation renewable projects "would be free to respect vast areas of our territory, which is causing increasing social tensions".

      Thus, Article 13 of the decree establishes that "renewable energy generation facilities consisting of photovoltaic and wind farms "will not be authorized on rural land in those cases in which they have developed irrigable areas", either through the transformation of dry land to irrigated land or through their modernization.

      The creation and modernization of irrigated land are actions promoted and financed by the administrations. Only in modernization, the Sociedad Estatal de Infraestructuras Agrarias (Seiasa) has carried out since 200 a total of 62 actions in Castilla y León, which has meant an investment of more than 518 million euros on 101,908 hectares.

      The 'Program for the Promotion of Agricultural Infrastructures of General Interest. Irrigation' launched by the Junta de Castilla y León foresaw the modernization of 30,000 hectares, 5,600 of them for transformation and 25,000 for modernization.

      Last April, the organizations Asaja, COAG and UPA registered in the Ministries of Agriculture and Ecological Transition, as well as in the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment of the Junta, a document in which they demanded the "defense of the productive lands of the region for agricultural use" and requested a "specific" regulation that includes the option of the implementation of photovoltaic panels, including the infrastructure for the evacuation of solar or wind energy, exclusively on land that cannot be used for agricultural production.

      Not on productive land

      "It is not reasonable that, having so much surface area in our autonomous community, the administrations and private businessmen should focus, for example, on traditional cultivation areas, on irrigated transformation lands, on booming productive lands or on very useful lands from the agronomic point of view", they added.

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