Portuguese prosecutors challenge large Iberdrola solar project, ET EnergyWorld

LISBON: Portugal’s prosecutors have asked a court to block an environmental licence issued to Spain’s Iberdrola and Prosolia Energy to build a 1.2-gigawatt solar farm in southern Portugal, one of the largest such projects in Europe.

The public prosecutor’s office said the licence granted by the environmental agency APA did not conform with the protection of natural resources.

Publico newspaper said the project would involve the felling of about 1.5 million trees, mainly eucalyptus.

The challenge against APA, which granted the environmental license to the 800 million euro ($868 million) project a year ago, was filed on Jan. 31 but has only recently been made public.

The court would not comment on the case.

The project is in Santiago do Cacem, in the southern region of Alentejo. The promoters expected the farm to be built on an area of 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres) and to come into operation in 2025 with the capacity to provide around 430,000 homes with energy.

The APA did not respond to a request for comment.

A Prosolia spokesperson said that the project’s promoters “have complied with all the requirements requested by the APA and are convinced that everything is correct.”

Iberdrola said it “strictly followed all the applicable norms and procedures” and that no judicial decision has yet been made, meaning the project “maintains its development as scheduled”.

Environmental association ProtegeAlentejo said the project had been approved despite objections from conservation institute ICNF and the National Energy and Geology Laboratory.

As part of a global shift from carbon-emitting fossil fuels, countries are betting on new technologies to boost power generation from renewable energy, such as wind and solar.

Portugal’ solar capacity is expected to reach 21 GW in 2030, almost six times above last year’s level.

($1 = 0.9217 euros) (Reporting by Sergio Goncalves; additional reporting by Pietro Lombardi; editing by Christina Fincher)

  • Published On Mar 27, 2024 at 12:41 PM IST

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