It seems to be a debate that leaves no-one indifferent. Wind farms and the need for renewable energy in one corner and birding, sustainable tourism and conservation in the other.
The undeniable logic of renewable energy in times of increasing concern over global warming and oil wars is pounded into us. And most energetically (!) by interested parties who have the most to gain in the short term. Take off your masks and show us who you really are!
In the other corner are local residents concerned about the enormous visual impact of wind turbines (anyone been to Fuendetodos recently? The village widely signposted as Goya’s birthplace? Scenic, eh?), electricity pylons and lines, health aspects, and even the mortal effect they have on birds of prey. Rural tourism is going hand in hand with sustainability, and slowly gaining hard-won ground, here in Spain at least.
So should the inhabitants of Terra Alta, Montsià and Matarranya, with the great natural and scenic wealth of Els Ports, the serres of Pàndols and Cavalls, the wonderful via verda, the rivers Matarranya, Estrets, Algars (the cleanest in the Mediterranean basin)…should they let it all go and allow the hills to be plastered with wind turbines? I don’t think so. And luckily, many of the local residents of those areas don’t think so either.
If wind turbines are necessary, let them first go up in the places where they will have the least impact: put them along the motorways, put them up next to industrial estates, on city outskirts, even at the top of those sierras which don’t have birds of prey and are not in the heart of what should be a protected landscape. That is the real logic of wind energy – putting the turbines where they belong. And one day, when no such sites remain, then it will be time to sit down together and talk about the future.