Spanish court orders Iberdrola to dismantle 60% of 500 MW operational PV plant; appeals coming – EQ Mag Pro
MADRID : A local Spanish court has ordered Iberdrola to hand back part of the land on which it built Europe’s largest photovoltaic power plant, potentially putting the brakes on one of its most prominent businesses.
The superior court of the western region of Extremadura in Caceres ordered Iberdrola to give back 525 hectares (1300 acres) underneath its biggest photovoltaic plant, Nunez de Balboa, to its previous owner, a court document showed on Thursday.
The court found that Iberdrola’s expropriation of the land, acquired for 3.4 million euros ($3.54 million) on a lease agreement in 2012 and renewed in 2016, did not comply with the law. The plant started operating in 2019.
“The request for expropriation had no cause or justification for depriving him (the owner) of the property right,” the court said in a statement.
The ruling, which Iberdrola intends to appeal, is a setback for a company that has become a renewable global superpower as conflicts multiply between land owners or rural communities and power companies, whose solar and wind projects require extensive areas.
Iberdrola said that the Nunez de Balboa plant had all the permits and it will appeal the ruling to the supreme court.
“The expropriation proceeding was carried out by the competent administration, following the legally established proceedings and respecting all existing rights and guarantees,” an Iberdrola’s spokesperson said on Thursday.
Only one of the three previous owners has complained, Iberdrola stressed.
Near the Nunez de Balboa plant, which has a 500 megawatt installed capacity, Iberdrola is developing an even larger one, named after another 16th century conquistador Francisco Pizarro.
With its sunny plains, fast-flowing rivers and windy hillsides, Spain targets getting 67% of its electricity from renewables by 2026.
Iberdrola is one of the largest of the dozens of private companies from all over the world seeking to invest in the country to build the infrastructure to reach the goal.
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