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Solar farm project near Ronda must bury power lines underground to get approval

Solar farm project near Ronda must bury power lines underground to get approval

The Junta has issued a favourable report for the planned 100-hectare site in the Ronda, Cañete La Real and Cuevas del Becerro area, but with conditions

VANESSA MELGAR

RONDA

Friday, 10 February 2023, 18:53

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A solar plant project application, of more than 100 hectares in Ronda, Cañete La Real and Cuevas del Becerro, called PSF 2, has received a faourable report from the Junta de Andalucía's regional ministry of Sustainability, Environment and Blue Economy, albeit with conditions.

The same company, Cobra, is also applying to create another four solar plants in the same area (PSF 1, 3, 4 and 5). According to protest group, Platform against Ronda Solar Plant Projects, the total area to be occupied would be 612 hectares. The group is protesting against the impact of the plants due to their size.

The ministry noted that the company has previously received an unfavourable environmental impact report. This one recommends that the overhead power lines are buried. The undergrounding operations will have to be specified by the developer and environmentally assessed by the regional government.

The plant would be located in Majadas de San Antonio, approximately four kilometres from Cañete, and would have a power output of 500 watt-peak (Wp). The power line infrastructure would be common to all the farms promoted by Cobra in the area. This would run southwest for almost 25 kilometres, to the vicinity of Ronda, passing through Cuevas and Arriate and would be supported by 88 towers and two electrical substations.

"Now we have to see if Cobra accepts the conditions, there may be more protests from people and entities. It will hardly be the same route with the undergrounding. One of the points they have to cross is the Ventilla ravine, which was feasible with a tower at each end, but now we will have to see how they cross it. If they go further up, there is military land," said Eduardo Sánchez, of the protest group.

Ronda town hall has received around 30 requests for solar farm projects, though most are incompatible with the local planning laws.

North of Ronda, Cepsa is finalising the procedures to install a 150 hectare solar park that it plans to start up at the end of 2024, with an investment of 64 million euros and production of one hundred megawatts.

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