MPs query small print in €63 million solar venture for Algarve

Following on from news of a massive solar project in eastern Algarve borough of Alcoutim, investors are reported to be ploughing €63 million into a similar venture at the western end of the region.

Bensafrim – still waiting for the €115 million state-of-the-art football village promised by various entrepreneurs over the years – is to receive two solar power generating centres, headed up by Portuguese company Hyperion, lead by João Talone, a former director of EDP.

Correio da Manhã reports that the period for public consultation opened this week and will run until April 7.

The plans are for a “high-concentration photovoltaic plant”, alongside another using traditional technology to be constructed over 250 hectares on an area known as Herdade de Saberosa.

The two centres should produce 94.4 GWh/ year – but the number of jobs to be created is minimal. CM suggests it will be as low as “between one and three people”.

Bloco de Esquerda MPs João Vasconcelos and Jorge Costa are not even convinced the plans are positive, adds CM, as with government subsidies that are “habitually attributed in projects of this type” and the level of power due to be produced, the project could end up costing consumers around 100 million euros over 20 years.

Vasconcelos and Costa have queried the government in writing, as the clock ticks on the period for public consultation.

They want to know if the Hyperion venture is to receive government subsidies, and if so, what these subsidies will be.

The confusion stems from an Expresso article, adds Algarve Primeiro, which suggested subsidies were indeed involved, and that Magpower, the firm providing technology for the “high-concentration” plant, is so “highly subsidised” that Secretary of State for energy Jorge Seguro Sanches has seen fit to launch an inquiry.

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