offshore wind farm aerial high angle
Going west... Porto area's offshore wind turbines must move further offshore

Porto offshore wind farms to be moved 35 kms further out to sea to save fishing

Initial plan was for wind turbines to be 3 kms from coast

Plans for massive offshore wind farms starting 3 kms off the coast around Porto have been abandoned, in favour of a similar plan 35 kms further out to sea.

The news has been confirmed today by deputy mayor of Matosinhos, Carlos Mouta, at a meeting of the Porto Metropolitan Council (CmP) – an entity involving the mayors of 17 boroughs.

The change of plan has been powered by representations from local fishing entities – which claimed the original idea “would be the death of fishing” – and environmental NGOs which said it encroached on areas that should have special protection. 

Says Lusa, according to a slide show presented by Carlos Mouta, “the new area of Leixões (the most distant wind farm) increased around 39%, from 463 sq kms to 644 sq kms”.

As for the ‘nearest area’ (to the coast), dubbed Matosinhos (although it also includes the coast of Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia and Espinho) this “was eliminated” altogether, since “it was unanimously pointed out by the fishing sector as being unacceptable and non-negotiable”.

Mouta told reporters today that he is feeling positive about the changes: they “eliminate the visual impact (as beachgoers could not have missed the barrage of turbines)… the noise impact – “both on humans and marine life” – and of course the impact on local fishing fleets.

“As far as fishing is concerned, there is only one effect (left, with the new plan), which is on trawling”. 

Other than that, “globally, there are no major consequences,” he said.

The councils of Espinho, Vila Nova de Gaia, Porto, Matosinhos, Vila do Conde and Póvoa de Varzim, as well as local fishing associations, mean to ensure that “unanimous favourable opinions” on the location of wind farms along the coasts become the prerequisite for any future structures.

A text to this effect has been signed by the six councils of Porto Metropolitan Area (AMP) and local fishing associations Pró-Peixe, Associação de Armadores de Pesca do Norte, Associação Pró-Maior Segurança dos Homens do Mar and Apropesca.

At issue is the report of a preliminary proposal by the working group for the planning and implementation of electricity generation centres ‘based on renewable sources of oceanic origin or location’, which was in public consultation between January 30 and March 10.

This project – for the creation of an offshore wind farm in Portugal, with 10 GW of power – delimited, as “possible areas for renewable energy exploration, Viana do Castelo, Leixões, Figueira da Foz, Ericeira-Cascais and Sines”.

In the AMP, as well as wind farms located around 38 kilometres off the coast, the possibility of installing a 180 sq km platform 3 kms off the coast was identified.

On May 30, secretary of state for energy, Ana Fontoura Gouveia, said the offshore wind auction will be launched by the end of this year, with the winner to be known in 2024.

Source: LUSA