The City Council of Arico, together with the collaboration of all the neighborhood associations of the municipality and the Fishermen’s Association of San Miguel de Tajao, has presented allegations to the offshore wind farm project that the Port Authority intends to carry out with several promoters right in front of the coast of Tajao and Las Maretas.
In the allegations, it is pointed out that the activity that is intended to be installed, through the concession request, affects “negatively the quality of life of the populations of the municipality’s coast.” In addition, it is reiterated that “there is a social and institutional consensus to preserve the entire coastal strip of the installation of Wind and Photovoltaic Parks for the protection of the landscape and the natural environment, as well as promoting sustainable development in this municipal territory”.
Likewise, the allegations indicate that “offshore wind activity requires prior planning and management of the electricity sector, a Special Territorial Plan for the management of the electricity system, which the island of Tenerife lacks” and that helps regulate “the implementation of any type of energy production, transformation and distribution infrastructure, with special reference to the implementation of Wind Farms, Photovoltaic Plants and Thermosolar Plants”.
Also, it is noted that this project affects “directly and indirectly the development of a pre-existing economic activity in the area.” As stated in the document, the implementation of the offshore wind farm “would come into conflict with this primary economic sector, declared of a strategic nature”, conditioning, limiting and preventing “the fishing activity that has traditionally been carried out in the area, in addition to affecting to the seabed, sustenance of said activity”. Along with this condition, the project would have as a consequence “impacts on the environment, due to the proximity to the coast, the production of environmental noise, which would directly affect the closest population centers, as well as marine wildlife” .
The concession would cause “important effects on the exercise of the fishing activity of the Fishermen’s Association of San Miguel de Tajao”, affecting “negatively the fishing activity, the organization and activity of the association, by preventing fishing in a strip of water in front of the fishing refuge from the bathymetric level of -10 to -100 meters deep and, on the other hand, by forcing them to make greater displacements with their boats to go to other fishing areas even against the prevailing winds”.
On the other hand, in the same preliminary project it is indicated that in the area there is a community of sebadales “very well preserved and considered as vulnerable in the Spanish Catalog of Endangered Species and as of interest to Canarian ecosystems in the Canarian Catalog of Protected Species” , which means that “neither the species itself nor the ecosystem where it could develop can be altered by human activity”, since they are locations “of great ecological importance as they provide key refuge, breeding and feeding areas for many invertebrates and fish” .
The execution of this project would generate “environmental noise and an important landscape impact on the marine visual basin of the entire municipality of Arico and especially, to all the neighborhoods of the coast, such as Las Maretas, La Caleta, Las Arenas, Tajao, La Jaca. , La Listada, Abades, el Porís and las Ceras, caused by the wind turbines so close by”. In turn, it would mean the reduction “of visits to businesses, restaurants and rural tourism houses and vacation homes by devaluing the destination of Arico due to the loss of environmental value.”
Finally, it is pointed out that alternatives that generate less environmental, economic-social and landscape impact than the one proposed in the concession should be studied, since “the documentation does not contain an analysis of alternatives located in other places on the island of less impact on the population, greater proximity to consumption points and with equal or greater offshore wind potential”. In the same allegation, it is considered as an alternative to the Port of Granadilla, which would have a “less effect on the resident population, since it is industrial land.”
The mayor of Arico, Sebastián Martín, stressed that the city council shows its total alignment with the neighborhood associations of the municipality and with the fishermen “in the face of any project that limits and affects the fishing, environmental, landscape and economic interests of the municipality.” He also asked the General Directorate of Health of the Government of the Canary Islands, which has previously warned of the impact that the Gran Canaria offshore wind farm (located much further from the coast than the one proposed by the Port Authority for the concession for the front of the coast of the municipality), “that is manifested in the same way with the Arico project”.
The Councilor for the Environment, Andrés Martínez, showed his support “for the groups that would be most directly affected in the coastal area, but which also harms all of Arico.” The mayor explained that the affected area would be “659,000 square meters of water mirror, more than 5,000 square meters of seabed, more than 6,000 square meters of subsoil and all the space that would lead to landscape and environmental impact.” He reiterated that Arico “is in favor of the use of renewable energy, but not how it is being carried out and without reaching a consensus with our municipality.” “We would like the Government of the Canary Islands, regardless of the renewable energy objectives, to have more dialogue with the municipality to try to avoid all these issues,” he clarified.
The Councilor for the Primary Sector, Davinia García, indicated that these allegations “have been made with the help of all the associations in the municipality, especially those mainly affected, such as Tajao, Las Maretas, La Caleta and Las Arenas, in which they have been involved at all times”. She added that “it is not only the visual impact, but also the different problems that can cause fishermen in the area, since it limits the artisanal fishing carried out by the Brotherhood of San Miguel de Tajao.”