NÍJAR – More than 120 associations oppose a planned offshore wind farm in Cabo de Gata (Almería). Opponents speak of possible damage to ‘one of the areas of greatest ecological and scenic value in the Mediterranean Sea’.
The offshore wind farm “poses risks to marine ecosystems and fisheries”, the members of the platform Stop Parque Eólico Mar de Ágata say in a statement. The goal of the members of the platform is to prevent the installation of the wind farm. Furthermore, all organisations are united in this platform.
Wind turbines of 261 metres high
The activists say the plan is to install 20 wind turbines off the coast to Cabo de Gata. With a height of 261 metres and an area of 70 square kilometres, these would be placed very close to protected natural areas. This concerns Special Protection Areas for Birds (ZEPA), a ‘Special Conservation Area’ (ZEC) of the Natura 2000 network, and the Cabo de Gata-Níjar biosphere reserve.
Critical habitat for cetaceans
In addition, the offshore wind farm threatens an area that is a “critical habitat for cetaceans.” An installation of this type would increase the risks of collisions and disturbances, with consequences for the marine mammals that migrate through these waters.
Wind turbines the size of the Eiffel Tower
Juan Manuel Jerez of the Association of Friends of the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park explained to EFEverde that the project “would involve deploying 20 wind turbines the size of the Eiffel Tower”. These will come in an environment “privileged” because of “traditional fishing grounds and the scenic and natural wealth”.
According to Jerez, renewable energy is “a good option if planned well”. That is why his organisation proposes to use already-built spaces. He is thinking of the countless number of greenhouses that are located all over the province of Almería. In this ‘mar de plástico’ (sea of plastic) one could place “translucent solar panels” to “obtain renewable energy” without causing environmental impacts”.
The Stop Mar de Ágata Wind Park platform brings together numerous environmental organisations including the Energy and Territory Alliance (ALIENTE), SEO/BirdLife, the Spanish Society for the Conservation and Study of Mammals (SECEM), the Spanish Society for Plant Conservation Biology (SEBICOP ), the Spanish Society of Geobotany (SEG) or the Spanish Society of Ecological Agriculture/Agroecology (SEAE).
La plataforma STOP PARQUE EÓLICO MAR DE ÁGATA se forma para difundir un manifiesto en contra del proyecto de un parque eólico marino frente a la costa del Parque Natural Cabo de Gata-Níjar en Almería (España).#CaboDeGataNoSeToca pic.twitter.com/2VmGEirrDD
— Stop Parque Eólico Mar de Agata (@StopEolicoAgata) February 11, 2022
Besides those, the fishing industry is also joining the protest against the offshore wind farm. Among others, the National Federation of Fishermen’s Guilds (FNCP), the Andalusian Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (FAAPE), and the Andalusian Federation of Fishermen’s Guilds (FACOPE) represents the sector.
In addition, the Municipal Council of Níjar, the Provincial Association of Catering Entrepreneurs of Almería (ASHAL), the Association of Entrepreneurs of the Natural Park Cabo de Gata-Níjar (ASEMPARNA), and the Association of Rural Accommodations of Cabo de Gata-Níjar also oppose the project.
13,000 signatures against offshore wind farm
All these groups together managed to collect more than 13,000 signatures with a petition on the Change.org platform. It is a clear ‘no’ to the planned wind farm. The activists believe the project “does not meet the criteria of an ecological transition.”
Cabo de Gata
The ‘Parque Natural Cabo de Gata Níjar‘ is a paradisical piece of nature. Deserted, tropical beaches surrounded by rugged cliffs adorn the crystal clear and deep blue Mediterranean Sea. Herein, bays lie flattered like an oasis against a backdrop of a dry, hilly volcanic landscape. Besides that numerous castles and watchtowers recall times when Romans and Moors ruled here. Now, fishermen and not too many tourists seem to have a monopoly on this impressive landscape. Only a few tiny villages, especially San José and Las Negras, offer relatively simple facilities for tourists.
Cabo de Gata is located in the driest area in all of Spain. With an average precipitation of fewer than 200 millimeters per year, the only desert in Europe is here. Hardly any trees grow. This area has been used as a decor in many international movies, of which lots of famous ‘spaghetti Westerns’.