No easy task to gain permit for Cape Trafalgar site following heated public debate

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A wind seminar held in Cadiz in the far south of Spain suggests that gaining permission to develop Cape Trafalgar, the country's most solicited site for offshore wind development, will be no picnic. The seminar grew out of a public debate forum, organised by the provincial council, or diputación, seven months ago. The forum gives the public the opportunity to speak out for and against proposals for five neighbouring offshore developments totalling 2000 MW off Spain's southern tip in the Atlantic Ocean (Windpower Monthly, June 2005). The tone was set days before when Antonio Varo, president of the town of Barbate's fishing collective, said his people were prepared to "block roads and bridges and whatever else may be necessary if the president of the regional government [of Andalucia] doesn't say: this is not going to happen here." During the two-day seminar, thickset fishermen stormed the meeting hall, interrupting the proceedings and accusing developers of lying and demagogy. Things really heated up on the second day, when three developers revealed details of their projects-including a 982 MW plant by construction company Acciona. One man from a local neighbourhood group suffered a heart attack after ranting over how the turbines would scare away fish and tourists and be the ruin of the area. Acciona's César del Campo responded by saying his company had spent five years doing studies to ensure the offshore machines would have "no negative impact on anything or anybody." The diputación later said the event achieved its main aim in bringing forth a broad range of technical details and scientific opinions. Biology scientists and civil engineering professors from Seville and Madrid universities broadly supported the developments, while echoing the call of regional environment secretary Ándres Sánchez for "exhaustive studies and stringent guarantees regarding social and environmental impact." The council will publish its conclusions this month.

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