Six new solar energy plants get go-ahead, without lucrative government subsidies

After a major hue and cry over the hidden costs to taxpayers of certain renewable energies projects, the government has given the go-ahead to six new solar farms in the the Algarve and Alentejo, stressing that none of them will be receiving lucrative State subsidies.

This finally releases Hyperion to embark on its purported €63 million venture in Bensafrim, near Lagos, as well as on three others in Ferreira do Alentejo and Moura (where it plans two photovoltaic centres).

In an investment package totalling €550 million, two other concerns are involved: Goldiport Solar – planning the largest project of all (48.9 megawatts) outside Lagoa, and Goldnalco, building another large site (48 megawatts) in Viçosa, Alcoutim.

The total megawattage of the six projects comes to 229 MW and involves a global investment of €206 million, says Lusa.

The developments elevate solar power approved by the government to 756 MW – and there is more to come.

Says tabloid Correio da Manhã today, a €15 million project at Quinta do Escarpão near Cerro do Ouro in the borough of Albufeira is hoping for the green light.

The “Centro Fotovoltaica de Paderne” will involve 60,192 solar panels, powering the grid with 14 MW.

Public consultation is already underway, closing on January 22, says the paper.

Promoters this time are Génese Natural in collaboration with the Asunim (German) group.

CM adds that while the purpose of this latest centre is to supply energy to both the national grid and local businesses, the plant itself will be “100% removable and does not imply any kind of significant earthmoving work.

“In this way the countryside will maintain its characteristics and can be used for other purposes like agriculture, forestry or even cattle grazing, said the promoter”.

Despite being labelled ‘green energy’, there has been some resistance to these projects. The primary issue centred on the amount of money Hyperion’s ventures could end up costing the taxpayer (click here). This now appears to have been ‘settled’ thanks to the timely intervention of BE MPs João Vasconcelos and Jorge Costa.

Nonetheless, locals – particularly in the Bensafrim area – are not delighted by the prospect of acres of solar panels spread over their previously rural landscape.

Said local businesswoman and long-term Bensafrim resident Jinny Harman “it is heartbreaking”.

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