Significant rise in Galician wind farm expropriation processes
18 November, 2019
The Galician Wind Observatory consistently compiles and analyzes the administrative processes of all wind farms throughout the Galician territory. As a result, the GWO has detected a significant rise in expropriation processes across Galicia over the last two years with about 20 wind farms adding more than 400 MW of wind power. This is a relevant issue that is contrary to objectives pursued by the Observatory such as the advancement of energy justice, particularly the distributive justice of this energy activity, in rural areas.
The analysis of the GWO, which permanently monitors the Official Gazette of Galicia, finds that this rise in expropriation has taken place since the approval of Law 5/2017 of 19 October promoting the implementation of business initiatives in Galicia. This Law amends Law 8/2009 of 22 December regulating wind power in Galicia and creates the Wind Power and Environmental Compensation Fund. The normative modification specifically eliminates the need for the developers to justify the reasons for requesting the declaration of public utility of their wind project as required by Law 8/2009. That is to say, it eliminates the need for the developers to justify the reasons preventing them from reaching an agreement with landowners. As is well-known, the declaration of public utility implicitly requires the occupation of the land and the acquisition of the affected rights. Moreover, it implies urgent occupation. This one essential explanatory element sheds light on the local acceptance of wind farms and the economic results of the negotiation process.
The GWO believes that eliminating this need for justification can only be understood as a setback in terms of transparency and energy justice. In fact, it eliminates one of the few chances landowners have to improve the economic results of the occupation of their land with wind potential.
The OEGA considers it crucial to modify Galician wind regulations concerning expropriation and reopen the need to justify the reasons triggering the expropriation procedure. What is more, it is also crucial to establish mechanisms to ensure that expropriation is an extraordinary option, not an ordinary mechanism for gaining access to land