Environmental Defence group calls for a halt to East Algarve photovoltaic plant

ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE GROUP CALLS FOR A HALT TO EAST ALGARVE PHOTOVOLTAIC PLANTPró Barrocal Algarvio (PROBAAL) Group of Environmental Defence is calling for an end to the prospecting of 200 hectares of land to build a solar panel farm, which they believe will be harmful to the environment, destroying aquifers, fauna and flora.

The area concerned is between Tavira, São Bras de Alportel and Olhão counties. The prospecting began in September 2020. “We have been alerted to this possibility by the fact that Iberdrola did some exploratory ground works here in September and have since been offering contracts to rent land in the locality”, explained PROBAAL. Landowners in that region have also been approached, being asked to rent their land to the Iberdrola Company, to be used for the installation of solar panels.

PROBAAL feel that "the construction of a large photovoltaic plant in this location would adversely and irreversibly affect the fauna, flora and the Peral-Moncarapacho aquifer, on which it is located."

In a petition letter to be submitted to the President of the Assembly of the Republic, the environmental group states the following;

We ask that this land classified as a National Ecological Reserve be protected from irreversible damage through extensive deforestation.

We oppose the destruction of large areas of animal habitats or any removal of rare plants, protected trees and water courses.

This area is referred to as the "area of ​​maximum infiltration and recharge of aquifers" and is the natural rainwater capture and infiltration system that provides water to thousands of people and companies in the local community. We therefore request that the Peral-Moncarapacho aquifer be protected.

The Algarve is the Portuguese region with the lowest rainfall, and suffers from enormous pressure on aquifers. Tree communities create microclimates that encourage precipitation and because the reverse is true, removing hundreds of mature trees from the water catchment area is counterproductive and irresponsible.

It is expected that the Algarve will become drier in the coming years and we implore the agencies responsible for granting licenses for solar power stations, which do not approve the destruction of this ecological reserve accelerating the process of desertification.

Likewise, removing vegetation and cleaning rocks could increase the risk of flooding downstream and lose valuable fresh water to the sea instead of recharging the aquifer.

The amount of water available for boreholes, used for domestic consumption and agricultural activity, is at risk of being equally compromised.

Finally, we affirm the rights of residents to live without visual impacts and the rights of the community in general that has been using this space for generations.

We therefore respectfully request;

1. An appropriate public consultation process on the appropriate location for the implementation of a photovoltaic project of this magnitude.

2. An environmental impact study at this location, in the four seasons of the year and corresponding to the life cycle, including a hydrological survey of hydraulic impacts.

3. An archaeological study to evaluate the potential archaeological remains of Roman and Islamic origin, as well as the paleochemic endocarsic formations (fossils), relevant sedimentary deposits and lithochemical formations of interest.

4. That the installation of any photovoltaic plant be carried out on land that has already been denatured, thus avoiding further destruction of areas already classified and protected.

Thank you very much.

A video of the area concerned, along with the petition letter, can be viewed online here.

If you would like to sign the petition, visit https://peticaopublica.com/psign.aspx?pi=PT108463
If you don’t know your BI No. / Citizen Card, just use:  00000000000

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Comments  

0 #12 Steve 2021-05-19 15:18
Quoting Norman L:


Reductio ad absurdum, Steve. There is land which can't be farmed, and research to further cut environmental impacts of cleaner technologies is progressing in leaps and bounds. It must be better than using up finite fossil fuel resources.
Yes Norman, I was being facetious about using farm land to put solar panels but not far from the truth as far as this story is concerned. The site in question is classified as Reserva Ecológica Nacional (REN) e Reserva Agrícola Nacional (RAN).
-1 #11 Norman L 2021-05-18 12:36
Quoting Steve:
Quoting Brook:
I understand that producing solar panels will use up fossil fuel, which is not good for the air we breathe, but once they are installed, they will produce endless supply of clean energy for generations to o come. When this happens the polluting power stations will become obsolete.
Yep instead of using fields to grow food we'll cover them with solar panels to give us "endless supply of clean energy". Let me know when you close all your power stations and coal plants, how are you going to produce steel or smelt ore to manufacture solar panels?


Reductio ad absurdum, Steve. There is land which can't be farmed, and research to further cut environmental impacts of cleaner technologies is progressing in leaps and bounds. It must be better than using up finite fossil fuel resources.
-1 #10 Steve 2021-05-18 10:53
Quoting Brook:
I understand that producing solar panels will use up fossil fuel, which is not good for the air we breathe, but once they are installed, they will produce endless supply of clean energy for generations to o come. When this happens the polluting power stations will become obsolete.
Yep instead of using fields to grow food we'll cover them with solar panels to give us "endless supply of clean energy". Let me know when you close all your power stations and coal plants, how are you going to produce steel or smelt ore to manufacture solar panels?
-1 #9 Brook 2021-05-18 06:48
I understand that producing solar panels will use up fossil fuel, which is not good for the air we breathe, but once they are installed, they will produce endless supply of clean energy for generations to o come. When this happens the polluting power stations will become obsolete.
+2 #8 Norman L 2021-05-15 14:41
Quoting Steve:
Quoting Brook:
Go on Steve, tell us how the manufacturer of solar panels is damaging the air we breathe.
Perhaps you don't know that coal is the primary energy source used in the photovoltaic panel production process. Hydrofluoric acid and sodium hydroxides are both used in the solar panel manufacturing process and silicon particles are released into the environment during the this process. And before the manufacturing there is the mining of rare earth minerals and eventually the recycling process, which will have to bee done, maybe every 20 years?



I too find myself agreeing with Steve on the fact that there are certainly many environmental issues involved in solar panel technology. However, stating that coal is the primary energy source for their manufacture doesn't seem quite right, from my admittedly limited reading. Any source of energy can be used, depending on the energy mix of a given country or region. Coal in, say, China, solar power in other panel-producing countries, and more and more research going into further reducing the environmental load. Has to be better than coal-fired power stations.
-1 #7 Steve 2021-05-15 09:13
Quoting Brook:
Go on Steve, tell us how the manufacturer of solar panels is damaging the air we breathe.
Perhaps you don't know that coal is the primary energy source used in the photovoltaic panel production process. Hydrofluoric acid and sodium hydroxides are both used in the solar panel manufacturing process and silicon particles are released into the environment during the this process. And before the manufacturing there is the mining of rare earth minerals and eventually the recycling process, which will have to bee done, maybe every 20 years?
0 #6 Stuart Wood 2021-05-15 08:09
Quoting Steve:
Quoting Brook:

But another fact is that we will need more electricity in the future and this new energy will not harm our health or our environment, other than the site for the solar panels.
I agree with Chip, there is a dilemma when we are faced with a change to our environment, but we also have to think about the environment of the future, an environment that does not have fossil fuel destroying the air we breathe.
If you think the only damage to the environment solar panels cause is the site where they stand, I suggest you look into how they are created in the first place.


Steve, I find myself agreeing with you now that we seem to have moved on from the pandemic!
-1 #5 Stuart Wood 2021-05-15 08:07
Quoting Brook:
Go on Steve, tell us how the manufacturer of solar panels is damaging the air we breathe.


Brook, once again you are sadly informed. Do some research. Steve, is absolutely correct that the impact of solar panels goes beyond the installation. What you are saying is akin to believing that the only impact from hydrocarbons is when they get used!!
-1 #4 Brook 2021-05-14 15:37
Go on Steve, tell us how the manufacturer of solar panels is damaging the air we breathe.
+4 #3 Steve 2021-05-14 10:44
Quoting Brook:

But another fact is that we will need more electricity in the future and this new energy will not harm our health or our environment, other than the site for the solar panels.
I agree with Chip, there is a dilemma when we are faced with a change to our environment, but we also have to think about the environment of the future, an environment that does not have fossil fuel destroying the air we breathe.
If you think the only damage to the environment solar panels cause is the site where they stand, I suggest you look into how they are created in the first place.

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