HUNDREDS of people gathered outside the regional parliament in Sevilla on Thursday to protest against plans for massive solar farms that threaten to ruin some of the most beautiful valleys in Andalucia.
What began as localised protests in villages across rural Andalucia has grown in momentum as communities joined forces to send a message to authorities against plans for huge solar farms.
The demonstration on Thursday outside the regional parliament in Sevilla was organised by Aliente, an umbrella group representing dozens of local protest groups who oppose plans by energy companies to swathe the countryside in photovoltaic panels.
The Olive Press has previously reported on plans to build giant solar farms in some of the most beautiful spots inland from the Costa del Sol.
Protesters argue that areas of outstanding beauty that have high ecological value will be destroyed by the solar panels which are planned “without proper environmental impact studies”.
Large private energy companies such as Naturgy, Iberdrola or Endesa are creating “a new speculative bubble that will exploit our countryside for obscene profit margins”, said a statement from Aliente.
Meanwhile “the prices of electricity continue to soar.”
Those against the projects are calling for a temporary moratorium so that the impact of the infrastructures can be properly assessed and a sustainable plan put into place that also protects the environment.
“Yes to renewable energy, but just not like this,” was the message on banners held during the protest.
Critics argue that instead of massive solar farms which destroy habitat, ruin agriculture and damage rural tourism, more focus should be placed on renewable energy for self-consumption and community energy projects.
Bob James from Antequera, who attended the protest said: “Why don’t they encourage the instalment of solar panels on the roofs of industrial units, on shopping centres, car parks and train stations to create self-sufficiency instead of massive projects that will destroy the environment with no benefits to local people?”
Residents were bussed in from towns across Andalucia including Casares, Gaucin and Jimena which are currently fighting plans that will see their valley and views destroyed.
A bigger demonstration is planned in Madrid on October 16. For more details visit Aliente website.