Catalonia zoning plans once again underway

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Catalonia's environment department is once again preparing the ground for its long awaited zoning plan for wind development. Repeated delays means the region has managed to get only 71.88 MW on-line. According to Oscar Romero of Spain's renewable producers association, APPA, more than ten projects have long since been waiting to go-ahead. The redraft comes after the plan was unexpectedly rejected by parliament in March. The environment department is now contacting a wide range of groups that expressed doubts on the last draft in an attempt to reach a consensus. The revamped plan has extended its "red" no-development zone to include more areas of natural interest and also to areas earmarked for possible inclusion as protected nature parks. Romero says the plan has now allotted more additional red areas to Tarragona than any other province. This represents one of the main worries for APPA, given that Tarragona harbours the region's main wind resources, previously estimated at about 800 MW, compared to 1500 MW regionally. APPA, backed by various environmentalist groups, had supported reducing the number of red zones, leaving decisions on proposals outside protected areas to the findings of environmental impact assessments. But the growing consensus can only be welcomed if it means getting the region's wind market off the ground, says APPA's Manuel Bustos.

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