The BNG accuses the Xunta of forgiving 1,600 million to the electric companies for installing wind farms without an industrial project

The national spokesperson for the Galician Nationalist Bloc (BNG), Ana Pontón, accused the Xunta this Wednesday of forgiving the electricity companies that were awarded wind farms in Galicia for more than 1.6 billion of euros that they should pay for not developing the industrial plans which they promised to carry out. According to Pontón, the Government of Alfonso Rueda acts as “an agency” for these companies, to which he would be “giving away money hand over fist”.

The accusation of the main opposition party in Galicia coincides with the controversy raised for years by the proliferation of mega wind farms and especially after the Xunta gave environmental statements favorable to 77 new projects, which are added to another seven whose authorization corresponds to the central government.

In total, and unless justice prevents it before the demands who announce associations ecologists and neighborsin the next thirty months will rise in the country 570 new wind turbines. They add up to an installed capacity of more than 2,900 megawatts (MW), that is, 75% of the nearly 3,900 MW that already exists today.

The BNG complaint is based on the suspicion that the Xunta is not forcing companies to comply with the commitments which they acquired when their projects were shortlisted in the 2010 wind power contest, for which the concessions that were going to be developed since then in the community were planned and distributed.

The Executive, whose presidency had just risen Alberto Núñez Feijóo, had annulled the distribution carried out a year earlier by the bipartite government of the PSOE and the BNG. Feijóo summoned a new less demanding contest but in which it was valued and scored that the companies that were going to benefit from future concessions accompany their development projects industrial plans that would guarantee the reinvestment part of the benefits they were going to obtain in the communities where they planned to build and operate mills.

The O Roncudo wind farm, in Corme, on the Costa da Morte in A Coruña. streetview

Thus, for example, there were firms whose plans were evaluated, scored and selected because they promised to start up biomass and waste recycling plants, geothermal power plants and electric recharging systems for vehicles, or to rehabilitate reservoirs and hydroelectric exploitations.

According to the 2010 rule, companies that obtained fewer megawatts than requested in the tender could not execute those plans in exchange for “monetizing” them and indemnify the Administration Galician with an amount equivalent to the amount they stopped investing.

The BNG maintains that the companies that saw their preliminary projects selected in 2010 and to which the Xunta has endorsed since then or is it now approving its new parks nor have they developed the industrial plans promised, neither have monetized them nor plan to do so, given the inaction and the acquiescence of Galician government.

Naturgy, Galenova and Greenalia

The nationalists give several examples, such as the Fenosa Wind, today in the hands of Naturgy; and Eólica Galenova, owned by Honorato López Isla, former CEO of Unión Fenosa and director of Indra and who acquired it from Abanca in 2015.

They also cite the company Greenaliathe Galician company that in 2016 bought Kaikias Eólica, beneficiary of the 2010 contest and that requested to monetize the industrial plans who had accompanied the projects of two wind farms for 11.7 million euros. The Xunta accepted that the new owners would not pay that amount and approved several previous investments by Greenalia that they had nothing to do with the industrial project that Kaikias had presented and that had also been executed before the first absorbed the second.

“Is a irregularity manifest and an example of how the Xunta is acting”, assures the regional deputy of the BNG Luis Bará, who recalls that the former Minister of the Environment of Feijóo Beatriz Mato Today she is director of strategic development at Greenalia, which signed her only a month and a half after she left politics in breach of the Galician law of incompatibilities. This rule aims to avoid revolving doors and prohibits senior managers for two years from working in companies in the sector on which they have made decisions, as Mato did with Greenalia on numerous occasions.

The Block estimates that the amounts that they should pay as a whole amount to €1.6 billionthat is to say 12.7% of the total budgets of Galicia for 2023. “Unfortunately, in San Caetano [la sede de la Xunta y donde está el despacho oficial de su presidente] We do not have a Galician Government but an agency who works for him electric lobby“adds the BNG leader.

Map of areas likely to house wind turbines of the Galician Wind Sector Plan.  - Ministry of Economy, Business and Innovation of the Xunta de Galicia
Map of areas likely to house wind turbines of the Galician Wind Sector Plan. Ministry of Economy, Business and Innovation of the Xunta de Galicia

The nationalists will ask for a commission of investigation in the Parliament of Galicia to clarify the situation and before the “reiterated” refusal of the Xunta to provide the Chamber with the documentation that they claim about the case or to answer oral and written questions about it.

Asked yesterday about the accusation of Pontón, the First Vice President and Minister of Economy, Industry and Innovation, Francisco Conde, did not explain if the Xunta has forgiven and whether or not he is forgiving the electricity companies the money they had to pay if they did not develop the promised plans, but he did assure that the BNG “is in a position extremist and denialist”, opposing, as he stated, renewable energies.

“Bet on renewables”

“We have a clear commitment to the development of [energías] renewable energies guaranteeing at all times the balance from the point of view of the environmental impact“, he added.

The truth is that the courts have annulled on several occasions the approval of the Xunta to the new wind farmswhose impact on the lives of the communities where they are installed and on the natural, cultural, historical and landscape heritage has skyrocketed proportionally to the growth in the dimensions of the new megagenerators.

At the beginning of this century, the largest mills did not exceed thirty meters in height, but today exceed 150 and in some cases reach 200 meters. Its blades can measure more than 60 meters and sweep an air surface equivalent to two football fields.

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