Spanish fishermen holding out for pay-off, claims potential offshore developer

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Vehement opposition from local fishing collectives to mainland Spain's two most mature offshore wind project proposals has more to do with holding out for a pay-off than with damage to livelihoods, according to Christoph Kapp of Swiss NEK Umwelttechnik. NEK is doing engineering work for German developer Umweltkontor on one of the projects, for 250 MW. The other proposal, for 200 MW, is headed by Spanish developer Energía Hidroeléctrica de Navarra (EHN). Both projects line the sandbanks of Cape Trafalgar just west of Gibraltar. Opponents claim the projects will impact fish breeding and migration patterns. EHN has proposed incorporating fish breeding facilities around the wind plant (Windpower Monthly, April 2003). Umweltkontor says it is becoming clear, however, that any affects on livelihoods would be negligible and that the fishermen are merely holding out for a pay-off. "It was the same story for the nearby underwater power line project between Gibraltar and Morocco," says Kapp. "As soon as the developers offered money, the project was suddenly fine with the fishermen." Umweltkontor is not considering making an offer. Instead, the company is pinning its hopes on growing political support for wind projects from the Andalucian government and Cadiz local authorities.

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