cork tree
Image: Lusa

New wind farm in Sines requires felling of 1,800 cork oaks

Government declares EDP project “indispensable public utility”

Environment minister Duarte Cordeiro has authorised EDP Renováveis to proceed with the felling of 1821 cork oaks for the construction of the Morgavel wind farm, in Sines, and installation of “the respective very high voltage powerline”.

In an order published today in government gazette “Diário da República”, Mr Cordeiro declares the “indispensable public utility” of this wind farm, which is developed by a company called Parque Eólico de Moncorvo, because it was initially created to develop a project in the Moncorvo region, before transferring this investment to the Alentejo coast.

Expresso reports that Parque Eólico de Moncorvo was acquired at the end of last year by EDP, which will now realise the investment, estimated in the environmental impact study at €66 million.

The project received a favourable environmental impact statement , with certain conditions, in September 2020, says the paper.

The trees due to be cut down sit in an area of 32 hectares, within the municipalities of Sines and Santiago do Cacém (this latter already threatened by a massive solar farm project)

In the order published today, Expresso says Mr Cordeiro notes “the relevant public, economic and social interest of the enterprise, in addition to the obligations inherent in the contract signed between the applicant and the Portuguese government, which is contractually obliged to promote the execution of a wind farm that contributes to the fulfilment by the Portuguese State of the Kyoto objectives and the National Energy Plan”.

The order determines that the felling of cork oaks is conditional on “the approval and implementation of the compensation project and its management plan” and on “compliance with any conditions presented by the licensing authority of this work and all other applicable requirements”.

Compensatory measures presented by the promoter include “afforestation of mixed stands of cork oaks and strawberry trees (medronheiros) in an area of 50.07 hectares, as well as the improvement of existing infrastructures in the Conceição de Tavira forest perimeter area”.

The wind farm will have 15 towers, with wind turbines with a unit power of 4 to 6 megawatts (MW), which together should produce 225 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year, equivalent to 0.45% of national electricity consumption, adds Expresso.

Source: Expresso