Greenwashing in Spain as Solar Farms replace Concrete Blocks
The building boom in Spain has been over for some time but investors have found a new way to make money on the sunny peninsula. The EU has decided it wants member states to increase their sources of renewable energy and as Spain is quite a sunny place, solar panels are the logical choice. Spain is also quite large so investors have quickly realised that this is the perfect place to build massive solar farms which means that an EU directive which was created with the best of intentions is going to result in a lot of Greenwashing here on the peninsula!
If you haven’t heard of it before, by now you may be asking yourself what is he talking about, what is Greenwashing anyway. Well if you’ve not heard the term before here is the official Wikipedia definition, “Greenwashing, also called “green sheen”, is a form of marketing spin in which green PR and green marketing are deceptively used to persuade the public that an organization’s products, aims and policies are environmentally friendly.”
Of course as soon as someone mentions the words solar panels then everybody automatically thinks of Green Energy and it goes without saying that solar is definitely a good source of renewable energy but it’s not always as green as it’s made out to be.
Let’s take the case of a proposed solar farm close to where I live in Castalla, to put you in the picture here’s part of something I wrote about the project the other day,” A multi-national corporation based in Madrid, has submitted a project to the Valencian Government, to build an industrial scale solar farm in the valley of Castalla. Even though we firmly support the development of renewable energy, we are against this project because of its vast dimensions and the devastating impact it will have on the environment.
If the project goes ahead it will practically surround Castalla Internacional and everyone living here will be affected. The Solar Farm consisting of almost 200,000 solar panels will cover an area of 322 hectares/3.220.000m² (795 Football Pitches) and will be enclosed by 23km of high fence.
To be able to build the farm, over 200,000m³(5000 truckloads) of ground will need be moved or levelled, destroying the natural habitat of countless animals, reptiles, insects, birds and plants, not to mention hundreds of mature trees.
If the farm is built it will change the landscape for ever. It is also an accepted fact that Industrial Scale Solar Farms cause the unexplained death of thousands of birds a year.
If the farm is built, the lives of the residents of Castalla Internacional will not be the same, many homes will lose their views. The property values will certainly drop dramatically and for those who enjoy the surrounding countryside, their freedom of movement will be severely restricted.”
The whole valley around the town and residential development of Castalla is well known in the province for being a place of natural beauty and one of the green lungs in the area and is popular with people from the surrounding towns for weekend excursions into the countryside. Naturally being a resident of the area I’m biased and like most people I don’t like the idea of this kind of thing being built on my doorstep, but I do have other objections that are not on a personal level.
Apart from the destruction of the countryside and the displacement of the animals, solar panels in general present us with a recycling problem in the future. At the moment there is no profitable way to recycle the panels. This means that once they have lived out their effective life they are destined to be disposed of and that means a lot of waste and at the moment because there is no effective way to recycle this kind of waste and it also isn’t the kind of waste we can burn, it will probably end up in land fill sites and these are not so environmentally friendly.
Greenwashing in Spain as Solar Farms replace Concrete Blocks: Summary
So there is the first taste of Greenwashing for this project, because in the lengthy pre-project proposal submitted to the Valencian government there is no mention of what will happen with the redundant panels in the future. There is also no mention of the boundaries created between the natural habitats of countless animals which will restrict their movement and later have a detrimental effect on their population.
There is nothing unusual about omitting possible future problems in reports or proposals, the human race has had a problem with forward planning and observation for a very long time. We have a bad habit of focusing on the short term instead of the long term benefits and it is a sign of the age we live in that things must happen as quickly as possible without any real concern for what happens later.
Since I was a young man which is now quite a long time ago, I have watched with concern how we have treated mother-earth, but over the last decade or so it has made me happy to see a degree of environmental awareness, even here in Spain. However as is always the case if someone sees a way to make money out of our hopes and fears then that is exactly what they do and if allowed to go on unchecked that is exactly what will happen with the renewable energy revolution here in Spain. In the near future instead of destroying natural landscapes to turn them into building land the unscrupulous and greedy will destroy natural landscapes to make way for solar farms and they will manipulate us by preying on our desire to do the right thing in the process.
I for one say, renewable energy yes but not on an industrial scale and most definitely not at any cost to the already badly damaged environment.
For more information about Solar Farms click here.
Before I go, if you’d like to know about producing solar energy at home, click here.
If there’s anything you’d like me to add or change then just leave a comment in the box below.
Cheers and ’till the next time,