They denounce the “unacceptable” impact of renewables in the Canary Islands

07/21/2021 at 4:30 PM CEST

A good part of the sites where renewable plants have been installed or processed in the Canary Islands produce unacceptable effects on biodiversity. 23 NGOs have denounced this through a manifesto, demanding that priority be given to deployment in areas of less sensitivity to natural heritage and that energy planning be concluded urgently, as well as the environmental evaluation of such planning in accordance with state and community regulations.

The main environmental NGOs in the Canary Islands – some of which are state-run – aspire to ensuring that the energy transition is also a model ecological transition. Along with the manifesto, they launch a campaign through WE Move so that citizens and other organizations can join

In the document they demand that the renewable deployment in the islands prioritize the protection and conservation of biodiversity, contributing to maintain and increase the natural, geological and cultural wealth of the territory.

They also highlight the need to put a stop to the depopulation process of the rural environment and promote sustainable socio-economic development opportunities.

Organizations and entities, including SEO / BirdLife, WWF, Greenpeace, Ben Magec-Ecologistas en Acción Canarias or the Association for the Conservation of Canary Islands Biodiversity, highlight that the islands are experiencing rapid development of renewable energies, especially wind.

They begin to implement, they point out, facilities for the production of photovoltaic energy, “without the competent regional administrations having carried out either the adequate prior energy planning, nor the mandatory strategic environmental evaluation & rdquor ;.

“Nor has the more than necessary study been carried out to determine potentially suitable areas, with the aim of minimizing the negative consequences for the environment, as required by community regulations & rdquor ;, they add.

“Insufficient” environmental impact assessments

The effects on biodiversity are of such a caliber that if the situation persists, they believe that “the sustainability of the renewable deployment on the islands cannot be guaranteed”.

In addition, they point out that environmental impact assessments of the projects, necessary to obtain authorization to install and operate a wind or photovoltaic installation, are insufficient since they are not part of a prior planning at regional and island level.

“Many times do not adequately justify the location of a facility in a particular location& rdquor ;, indicate the NGOs. Specifically, they point out wind farms and their impact on fauna. “The data offered by the companies themselves are generally very low and not very credible data, especially when compared with those collected by authorities in their inspection work in the same areas.”

The manifesto for renewable energies compatible with biodiversity in the Canary Islands includes seven requests:

Regulatory and binding guarantee of this harmonization, prioritizing deployment in areas of less sensitivity to natural heritage Urgently complete the energy planning of the islands and the strategic environmental assessment of said energy planning, in accordance with state and community regulations energy saving and efficiency, as well as the promotion of self-consumption facilities in residential, industrial and commercial areas that could cover between 35-40% of the electricity demand of the archipelago’s buildings Promote an independent environmental monitoring mechanism of wind and photovoltaic parks Certify full transparency on the projects in process Demand the use of the best available technology Provide the technical and legal bodies of the Government of the Canary Islands and the Island Councils with sufficient budgets and human resources to process normative projects, plans and strategies.

“The renewable deployment must be carried out on the premise that without an adequate selection of their location and dimensions, the facilities can severely affect biodiversity,” the text states.

Occupation and gradation of the land

“Specifically, the impacts that are generated on this fauna consist of collisions, the main cause of direct mortality, annoyances and displacement, the barrier effect and habitat destruction. In addition, there is occupation and degradation of the land, landscape impact and noise & rdquor ;, according to NGOs.

The signers of the manifesto emphasize that the Canary archipelago is “the most important biodiversity point in the European Union and one of the most important in the world & rdquor ;.

“The Canary Islands have an extraordinary natural wealth, the result of a complex evolutionary history that is sustained by a wide diversity of exclusive and highly differentiated ecosystems. Almost 40% of fauna species and approximately 30% of plant species are endemic; that is, exclusive to these islands & rdquor ;, stand out.

They conclude by pointing out that they do not believe that a future can be considered “with our backs turned to our biodiversity. We depend on it for our existence and, in addition, in the case of the Canary Islands, we have the responsibility to protect a territory of very high wealth and fragility & rdquor ;, they add.

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