The most fruitful year in history for wind power in Galicia was 2007, when 396 megawatts (MW) of new power were installed. Then came the global recession, the two failed tenders of the bipartite and PPdeG and the energy reform promoted by Minister José Manuel Soria, which plunged the sector into a deep lethargy with the suppression of premiums for renewable technologies for their contribution to the fight against climate change. The resurrection took a long decade and the community lost its historic leadership in the wind industry in Spain along the way. Renewable auctions convened from the central government illuminated another 394 MW in 2019. And, then, again the drought, waiting for what will happen between now and July 2024, the deadline to turn on the 84 new parks that the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry for Ecological Transition have just saved from the sieve of expiration in the rights of connection to the network with the accelerated processing of environmental impact statements. They had until the 25th to receive them, but this is only the first milestone to be met to retain the plugs.
The next one comes in three months. By the end of April, the 77 projects of less than 50 MW reviewed by the Xunta and the 7 of state competence for their higher power must have the prior administrative authorization to move forward until the other flying goal in July, the time when they will be required to have the construction permit. A quagmire in the case of Galicia. Why? Because the law to promote the implementation of business initiatives sponsored in 2017 by the regional administration to face competition from northern Portugal united both authorizations in just one six-month-long procedure.
The Xunta itself as the Galician Wind Energy Association (EGA) have asked the department led by Teresa Ribera and Red Eléctrica de España (REE), the carrier and in charge of giving the connections, that the projects of the community are released from the April milestone with the administrative authorization and can present the two permits together in the July turn. Otherwise, say the promoters in a letter to the ministry and the grid operator, "would be totally discriminatory" against other applicants. Including the 7 parks also planned for Galicia, but in the State window. The application of these deadlines to avoid expirations "would be a violation of the principle of equality, as it would mean a discriminatory and detrimental treatment for developers whose projects are processed under the regional standard in relation to those processed under state protection," EGA points out in a letter sent to the Ministry and the grid operator. For the moment, according to sources from the Galician wind energy association, there has been no response. They will apply again soon, although neither the Galician government nor the companies are too confident that the request will be taken into account, despite the fact that there are other autonomous regions in the same situation.
If this is the case, the technicians of the Ministry of Economy will have to get out in three months what they initially thought to get out in six. Perhaps for that reason, the first vice-president, Francisco Conde, reminded a few days ago in an appearance in the Galician Parliament that "to process is not to authorize" and asked "not to consider the 84 parks as built or authorized". After defending that the whole review process by the environmental agencies was carried out "with rigor" with the principle of "legal certainty", Conde appealed to go "step by step" from now on.
The environmental declarations with a favorable opinion for all these projects, which total almost 3,000 MW, include some conditions that, in order to ensure compliance and issue the prior administrative authorization and the construction authorization, will most probably require the signature of a responsible declaration by the promoters.
The BNG announced yesterday that it will claim in the Galician Parliament the opening of a commission of inquiry into the management of the Xunta in the granting and monitoring of authorizations for the opening of wind farms, since, in the words of its leader, Ana Pontón, the PP allows to act "outside the law" or elaborates regulations "tailored" to favor a "predatory wind boom" that has become a "collective scam" for Galicia. "The Popular Party has a lot to hide," lashed Pontón, flanked by much of the nationalist parliamentary group in the Galician House, to which they will transfer their proposal to set up a body to investigate "what is happening" with the wind "boom" in Galicia, "why information is hidden from the Galicians" and "why they are forgiven" to electric companies "the payment of resources" or the "development of industrial plans" associated with the parks.
Galicia is the second community with more wind power with a favorable opinion from the ministry.
Among the renewable projects that fall within its competence for exceeding 50 megawatts (MW) of power, the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge analyzed 202 files of renewable energy projects at risk of losing the right of access and connection to the electricity grid, of which 154 obtained the positive environmental impact statement . A further 36 did not go ahead and 12 were shelved. The total power with a favorable opinion is close to 28,000 MW, of which some 24,700 are photovoltaic farms (132), close to 2,900 are wind farms (20), and the rest are hybrid projects. Galicia was the community with the most wind-related projects going ahead.
The vast majority of the favorable declarations of the projects contain mandatory conditions. Three out of four had to be modified.