wind farm

Leiria demands compensation for negative impacts of offshore wind farms

Mayors concerned over impact of proposed 1,325 sq km wind farm 

The mayors of the Intermunicipal Community of Leiria Region (CIMRL) are calling on the government to set compensation amounts to offset the negative impact of possible offshore wind energy production concessions.

In a press release, CIMRL states that Portugal intends to “move forward with the licensing of large-scale ocean (‘offshore’) renewable energy over the next few decades“.

The situation is being monitored by the region’s mayors, since the “preliminary proposal for the implementation of offshore renewable energy projects provides for a concession” in the municipality of Figueira da Foz (Coimbra district) “covering 1,325 square kilometres (the largest project with a power of 4 GW)”, which “interferes with the coastal area of the municipalities of Pombal, Leiria and Marinha Grande (Praia da Vieira),” says the statement.

The mayors are in favour of “an indemnity amount to compensate regions and  professionals in the fishing sector who have seen their activity partially-restricted” – and will continue to do so as new projects get the go-ahead.

CIMRL also wants an “independent technical-scientific assessment to analyse the estimated economic, environmental, climate and biodiversity impacts of building new offshore wind farms in areas where they could conflict with the fisheries sector“.

The mayors are following the development of this process and are taking part in the work of the consultative commission for drawing up the Allocation Plan for the Exploitation of Renewable Energies in the Mainland subdivision, writes Lusa

In order to learn more about the nature of offshore wind energy exploitation, Leiria mayor Gonçalo Lopes, and Marinha Grande’s Aurélio Ferreira, visited the Windfloat Atlantic project in Viana do Castelo, “a unique floating maritime wind farm that has been fully operational in Portugal since 2020, with three floating platforms and around 25MW of installed capacity”.

“This contact was relevant for gaining a closer understanding of the main positive and negative aspects of offshore wind energy production,” said the CIMRL statement, noting that the auction to award new concessions will be open by the end of 2023, “with the pre-qualification phase expected to be completed in the first few months of 2024”.

CIMRL concedes that the national focus on wind farms – with a direct investment forecast of  €20 billion – seeks to accompany the European Union’s (EU) commitment to the European Green Deal, and help reach targets of “reducing net emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels”.

But, as so many entities have been stressing, the ‘race towards carbon neutrality’ cannot be justification for destroying the environment/ sustainable livelihoods. 

Further up the coast, objections to wind farm plans by fishermen have seen the whole project moved 35 kms further out to sea so as not to destroy perfectly sustainable businesses.

As the fishermen stressed, had the project been sited 3 kms off shore as initially intended, it would have created “the largest oceanic desert in the world where nothing survives, other than the turbines”.

Source material: LUSA