Ecological Transition approves the Chira-Soria hydroelectric project environmental impact statement
The Canary Islands Ministry for Ecological Transition, Territorial Planning and the Fight against Climate Change, through the Environmental Assessment Commission, has favorably reported on the environmental impact statement for the project “Soria-Chira pumped-storage hydropower plant”. The initiative is planned in the municipalities of San Bartolomé de Tirajana and Mogán, on the south of Gran Canaria, and promoted by Red Eléctrica de España S.A.U.
The proposal includes the construction of a 200 MW power plant (which represents around 36% of Gran Canaria’s peak energy demand) with 3.2 GWh of storage, a desalination plant, and associated marine works, as well as the necessary facilities for its connection to the distribution network.
The Biodiversity Service of the General Directorate for the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, the competent institution dealing with such matters, have reported favorably on the actions planned, concluding that they are not likely to appreciably affect the places included in the Nature Network 2000, provided that compliance with the measures that have been assumed by the developer throughout the environmental assessment process is effective.
Taking into account the importance of the project, a Technical Monitoring Commission is to be created, made up of all agencies involved, to supervise the development of the project and contribute to the application of the Environmental Monitoring Program.
This statement establishes 12 conditions, with the aim of avoiding or minimising the possible negative effects of the project, as much as possible, ensuring it is viable from an environmental perspective. In the first place, they have clarified that any modification of the evaluated project or of the established measures must be sent to the General Directorate for the Fight against Climate Change and for the Environment so that they may study those changes and issue a new report on them, and that the corresponding works cannot be started until a favorable report on these changes has been issued.
Among other measures, it is established that the promoter, before starting the work, must present a detailed study of the presence and inventory of indigenous and invasive species present along the riverbed area of the Barranco de Arguineguín, including any protected species and habitats of community interest, to develop corresponding protocols for action on them. In this sense, control and elimination of invasive alien species present in the scope of the project must be carried out.
In turn, the promoter must adapt the work schedule and take the appropriate additional noise control measures to avoid any nuisance to the population of the environment in which these works will be carried out.
The project’s Environmental Surveillance Program (PVA) will exhaustively monitor terrestrial species and birds that may be found in the vicinity of the works or in the enclave chosen for the project. Any significant findings will need to be reported to the General Directorate of Biodiversity and appropriate measures approved. Likewise, specific indicators will be included to monitor the conservation status of Habitats of Community Interest.
The PVA will periodically analyse the indirect, cumulative, and synergistic effects that both the works and the brine discharge may generate on the marine environment. Depending on the results obtained, the follow-up may be extended when appropriate.