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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

“Red” areas for RES – End to anarchic development

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Angelos Nikolaou

Renewable Energy Development (RES) projects in protected areas are wanted by the entrepreneurs and the various bodies involved in their location, who express their disagreement with exclusion areas as they are recorded in the elaborated strategic study of environmental impact assessment of projects that utilize RES in the field of electricity generation.

As part of the review of the strategic study by the Environmental Authority, a meeting was held, where opinions and suggestions were heard from companies operating in the field. The study conducted on behalf of the Ministry of Energy clearly identifies the areas where the location of RES projects is prohibited.


Areas of exclusion of Renewable Energy Sources are identified Pistol in the temple for power generation units Apart from the map of RES Cyprus

Based on the study, the exclusion areas are defined as:

1) Areas in which the location of RES facilities should not be allowed.

2) Areas in which the location of RES facilities will be allowed under special conditions on a case by case basis (eg conducting a special Due Assessment Study), and in accordance with the more specific conditions and restrictions that will be determined in the terms of the environmental opinion.

3) Areas in which the location of RES facilities will be allowed and in accordance with the more specific conditions and restrictions that will be determined in the terms of the environmental opinion.

At the meeting, the various bodies, after being informed about the review of the strategic study, which now includes the exclusion areas by categorizing the installation areas and updating the criteria on a case-by-case basis, then asked for clarifications and submitted their views. With their positions, the stakeholders essentially ask that no restrictions be set at all and that the anarchic development of RES continue as it does today.

Affected people consider the buffer zone exclusion criteria 250-500 m. From the borders in the state forests very strict and asked for the distance to be reduced. Specifically, in state forest areas it is proposed:

a) stopping zone 500m. from state forests with an area of more than 100 hectares,

b) a buffer zone of 250 m from state forests with an area of less than 100 hectares.

At the same time, they raised the issue of excluding mountainous areas with an altitude of over 850 m. With this proposal, they argued, mountain communities are automatically excluded from the possibility of installing a small photovoltaic park to meet their needs. However, as mentioned by the researchers, any restrictions that will be imposed, concern only large RES developments.

In the positions submitted by those involved, they claimed that they consider the distance of 500 meters from the archeological sites very large, especially when there is no visual contact.

Based on the proposal, the development of RES projects in an archaeological site or in ancient Monuments of Table A or B or in a Controlled Area based on the Law on Antiquities or at a distance of 500m is prohibited. From these.

They ask for photovoltaic panels in chariot positions!

Photovoltaic park development companies have asked for clarification of the reason for the exclusion of airports and runways from the construction of RES projects. The Department of Environment responded that consultations have been held with the Department of Civil Aviation. The researchers also said that this is related to the possibility of annoying the birds. Furthermore, they asked to clarify whether the military installations of projects that are considered areas of exclusion, include the positions of the chariots, and even claimed that the installation of RES in these areas is a deterrent for the occupying forces. The answer from the Department of Environment is clear that the chariot positions were taken by the competent Ministry of Defense and are included in the military areas.

No studies submitted in 2021 are considered

For a year now, in February 2021, the Department of Environment has been freezing the environmental evaluation of RES projects, whose applications have been submitted in 2021, due to the absence of spatial planning. It is noted that the absence of a special spatial planning framework for RES projects is considered a serious threat to the integrity and cohesion of protected areas of the Natura 2000 Network. 2021 practically meant the termination of work, the termination of applications and the dismissal of staff. They also claimed that according to the schedules of the Department of Environment, the strategic study should have been prepared by May 2021.

Responding, a representative of the Department of Environment stated that after the issuance of the opinion of the Environmental Authority and the evaluation of the strategic study, an effort will be made to evaluate the environmental studies and information reports. He also clarified that the issue of transitional provisions for the RES projects of 2021 has not proceeded with any procedure. In addition, he stated that this issue will be studied internally by the Department and then all applicants will be informed about the order of evaluation of applications and the procedure to be followed.

Exclusion areas with environmental and urban planning criteria

The implementation of the planning of the new spatial policy is based on the definition of:

• Priority areas by type of RES technology, which are determined by recognizing the comparative advantages they have for the installation of RES projects (eg areas with exploitable wind, hydrodynamic potential, etc.) and at the same time taking into account the bearing capacity of the areas, especially for the areas that according to the analysis of the current situation have the greatest demand.

• Exclusion Zones and Incompatibility Zones:

a) With environmental criteria: Landscape protection, protection of the natural environment, Natura areas, special protection zones, territories of special endangered wild birds (Sparrow / Pertussis, Fire Vulture), areas of high ecosystem importance, forest crossings, state forests, wild birds, remarkable beaches and beaches.

b) With urban criteria: City plans and settlement boundaries, urban protection zones (Nature protection areas, protected landscapes, areas of exceptional natural beauty), livestock areas of strategic use.

c) Irrigated land reclamation areas.

d) High productivity agriculture.

e) Direct, riparian and nearby protection zones of water reservoirs.

f) Declared monuments of world cultural heritage and other archaeological monuments of major importance.

g) Technical criteria: Ground slopes, orientation, distances from substations, altitude.

Under the microscope the dry land reclamation

RES development companies referred to the exclusion of irrigated land and areas located in an irrigated land reclamation area and wondered why RES projects in dry land reclamation areas are excluded. They pointed out that there are many areas in which, according to the Department of Lands and Surveys, they are characterized as irrigated or dry land reclamation, when in fact any widening of an irrigation system was never implemented. The Department of Environment clarified that the issue of dry land reclamation was decided after consultation with the Department of Agriculture.

Regarding the decision to exclude RES projects from protection zones of water boreholes, a request was made to the applicants to the Department of Water Development, which should set the necessary conditions, so that there is adequate protection.

For large photovoltaic parks, there is a proposal to ban them in an area that is visible from a highway, a nature enjoyment road, or from an Ancient Monument, or an environmentally sensitive area. Applicants requested a distance of 100-200 m from highways.

A request was made to examine the application on a case-by-case basis for RES projects in a buffer zone from the Special Protection Zone (SPA) area, as it was emphasized that the bird passages cover huge areas of land and there are not many areas where RES can be located. According to the researchers, for the bird migration corridors, there is a 500 m wide stopping zone for the photovoltaic and wind parks.

Source: www.philenews.com

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