In view of the imminent approval of the Maritime Space Management Plan (POEM), the roadmap of the Ministry of Ecological Transition which, among other things, will define where offshore wind farms can be set up, five developers have expressed interest in setting up their wind turbines off the coast of Alt Empordà and Baix Empordà.
In the strategic environmental declaration approved last December -a step prior to the approval of the POEM- the Gulf of Roses, the Cap de Creus and the Bay of Pals were identified as a "potential area" for wind energy.
The POEM, ready
The Spanish government's roadmap defining where offshore wind energy will be implemented will be approved shortly.
Other areas, such as the coast of Cabo de Gata, in Almería, do not appear in the latest document as suitable for offshore wind energy, and the Galician and Majorcan coasts have been reduced.
The platform against wind turbines off the Gulf of Roses regrets that in the review of the POEM the Generalitat "has not moved" to ensure that the proposed projects will not have negative impacts on the Empordà, unlike what has happened with other regional governments and demand a moratorium to prevent the submission of new projects once the POEM is approved.
There are currently several projects underway in the area that should dispel doubts about the suitability or otherwise of the implementation of offshore wind power in the area. The Biodiversitat Foundation, under the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, has launched the Biopais project.
Its objective is to evaluate the potential ecological and social impacts of offshore wind farms in areas of high biodiversity and great landscape value in the Mediterranean, taking the proposed wind farm in the Cap de Creus/Golf de Roses area as a case study.
Moratorium pending scientific studies
The association Stop Macro Parc Eòlic asks to wait for the results of the projects underway to know if this energy source is compatible in the area.
"It is common sense to wait for the results of these studies before implementing offshore wind in the area, otherwise it will be too late," explained CEAB-CSIC scientist Rafael Sardà this morning.
"If we do not wait for the results of these studies, we will be indebted to the biodiversity of the area because these energy infrastructures have a 30-year life span," added Ferran Vallespinós, former researcher at the CSIC, PhD in Biological Sciences and member of the association Stop Macro Parc Eòlic Marí.
Sardà is one of the authors of the scientific study, endorsed by a hundred scientists, which recommended excluding and moving offshore wind farms away from protected areas in the Mediterranean. The study warned of the "serious impacts" that the installations could have on marine biodiversity, the landscape, fishing and tourism.
A total of 25 municipalities in the province of Girona, the governing boards of the natural parks of Aiguamolls de l'Empordà, Cap de Creus and Montgrí, Illes Medes and Baix Ter, as well as the Consell Comarcal del Baix Empordà also oppose the installation of windmills in this area.
State and Generalitat defend the need for offshore wind off the coast of the Empordà while environmentalists oppose it because of its impact on biodiversity, landscape, fishing and tourism.
Opponents denounce the lack of "social consensus" in the implementation of this energy model and do not rule out taking the case to court if a series of irregularities they have detected in the POEM's strategic environmental declaration document are not resolved.
The Generalitat, through the Minister for the Environment, Teresa Jordà, defends the need for offshore wind and a year ago announced, after a visit to a wind farm in Denmark, that Catalonia would need 1,000 MW of this energy in the 2030 scenario and 3,500 MW in the 3050 scenario.
The Government's intentions
According to the Generalitat, Catalonia needs 1,000 MW of offshore wind energy in 2030 and 3,500 MW in 3050.
He warned then that the offshore wind farm would only go ahead if its environmental impact "was acceptable" and corrective measures were adopted to safeguard the fishing grounds and if there was consensus from the territory.
This past week Jordà met with the eight mayors who would be affected by the implementation of this energy source off their coasts to minimize its possible implementation. The idea is to carry out a pilot test.
In an interview this morning on TV3, the Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, said that the executive will approve "soon" this POEM and recalled that this will not imply an "automatic authorization" of the projects.
"Once it has been delimited where offshore wind can be carried out, we will have to analyze the specific project and see to what extent all the precautions are being well integrated from the environmental point of view and coexistence with other activities.