Cantabria sues neighbouring regions over four wind projects

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The regional government of Cantabria has sued neighbouring Castile and León over four wind developments, two of them already turning, totalling 55 MW, and two currently building. Both developments are on the high ridge forming the border between the two regions. Cantabria is calling for annulment of the licenses conceded to the projects in Castile and León's Burgos province. The licenses were given in "disregard of Cantabria¬ęs competence concerning environmental protection," and they "violated guidelines for co-operation between [regional] administrations," according to Dolores Gorostiaga, the Cantabrian government's vice president. During public comment prior to project approval, Cantabria had raised issues of environmental and visual impact. The regional government also argued the need for a buffer zone of at least 500 metres from the ridge. Gorostiaga says that neither Castile and León's environmental impact declaration nor final authorisation took into account these considerations. The two operational plants are the 32 MW Valdeporres development, owned by utility Iberdrola, and Sía, a 23 MW station by developer Boreas. The outcome of the litigation could provide a significant precedent, especially as many of Spain's regional borders stretch along similar high ridges, where wind resources are good. Spain's 6000 MW capacity to date occupies less controversial wind sites. But with 7000 MW still to go to reach the national 13,000 MW wind target for 2011, more border skirmishes could appear in the future.

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