The question is whether the local opposition to the overhead, HT-line project that criss-crosses Valle de Lecrín is justified or not.
The opposition movement, Di No a Las Torres, considers that the valley is already dotted with wind turbines without adding dozens of HT pylons, in at least one case, 80 metres high with a base of 200 sq/m.
They consider that the local mayors have been fobbed off with grants for their municipal coffers instead of opposing a project that is detrimental to both tourism and public health.
What they want is for the electricity lines to be buried instead of running above ground via towering pylons.
So, what exactly does the project entail?
There will be HT lines running between Benahadux (Almería) and Órgiva, together with Saleres, which will cut through the valley using a score of pylons between 40 and 80 metres high. The Saleres line will reinforce the line already running from Benahadux and Las Gabias as a back up if there are outages.
Of the 157 km between Benahadux (close to the city of Almería) and El Fargue, where it terminates, 125 km lie between the starting point and Saleres, where a new sub-station is going to be built. From there, it will branch out into three lines: one from Órgiva to Saleres (29 km), another one to Fargue (within the municipality of Granada) and the third to connect with the existing Órgiva-Las Gabias one, meeting it within the municipality of Dúrcal. As for the Saleres substation, the nearest urban area to it will be Nigüelas.
The Red Eléctrica de España (REE) justifies this projected infrastructure by pointing out that at the moment there is only one 400 KW line in the whole of the south-southeast, which already experiences supply/demand imbalances.
They say that the Saleres substation, covering a plot of 14,567 sq/m, won’t be visible from the actual village of Nigüelas, as it will be behind it. However, it’s not the substation but the pylons that will be creating the eyesore.
Pylons: The 66 kilometres of the province that the network will cross will require 123 pylons spread through the Alpujarreña municipalities of Turón, Murtas, Albondón and Torvizcón and the Costa Tropical ones of Sorvilán, Rubite, Lújar and Vélez de Benaudalla. The municipalities in the Valle de Lecrín are El Pinar, El Valle and Albuñuelas. The majority will be 40 metres high, but there will also be three over 81 metres high.
We could go on and on with details, but let’s leave it at dozens of pylons between 40 and 80 metres high with some bases that cover up to 200 sq/m and the substation in Saleres. According to the environmental-impact study, the vast majority are in “little frequented areas.” but the pylon .
The locals who oppose the project do so because they consider that the “electricity motorway,” as they term it, will have an “incalculable environmental impact,” affecting agriculture, the fauna, people’s health (electromagnetic waves) and the local economy (tourism). They’re not saying that they don’t want the HT lines running through the valley; they’re saying that they want them buried, as is the case in most of Europe.
Interestingly, there was a lawsuit up in La Rioja that went in favour of local vineyard owners who had suffered compulsory purchase orders on their land where the pylons were erected. They had argued that the physical presence deteriorated the “panoramic value” of the land, which is precisely what local protesters are arguing.
So, is it a case of ‘NIMBY’ (Not In My Back Yard), or do they have a real point about the damage it will cause to tourism, which is the Valley’s main income?
We’ll leave you with this thought: about 20 years back all the mayors in Valle Río Verde (Almuñécar, Jete, Otívar & Lentegí) voted in favour of forbidding plastic farming in the valley because they believed green tourism to be the future; not intensive farming under plastic. This agreement still holds today. So, it’s not just about whether something affects your health; it is also about whether it affects your future livelihood.
(News: Valle de Lecrin, Granada, Andalucia)