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Proposed Wind Farms 2009
The wind farm threat has become a bit clearer with the undated document (1) that is an environmental strategy for 20-25 parques eólicos in Cantabria, each with 20 generators. The maps in the document show that possible areas include the ridge from east of Fuente las Varas through to Alisas, along with the El Naso ridge and hillsides above Fuente Aguanaz and Torca La Vaca. The Matienzo area is labelled B7.1, B7.2 and B8. The document can be viewed here.

It wouldn't be an over-estimate to say that hundreds of cave sites are potentially at risk from building the generators and the associated access roads and power lines. First thoughts are that the Matienzo depression could be half surrounded but the area is relatively small compared to the rest of B so might be easier to oppose. There hasn't, apparently, been a visual impact assessment and this should include a landscape / view quality assessment which would hopefully be in the area's favour, as the Matienzo karst depression is unique, the largest in Spain.

The sooner we get more detailed maps with the placement of the generators, roads and other groundworks, the sooner we can
1: make an estimate of archaeological and other sites potentially at risk.
2: bring these findings to people who may not have realised the extent of the potential risks
3: start talking / writing to people who might make a difference!

JSC 18/11/09


1: Environmental strategy for 20-25 parques eólicos in Cantabria
Wind Farms Links 2021
Links to sections and pages about the wind farms and threats / risks. At 21/3/2021 there are possibly 4 wind farms with a total of 48 generators that pose threats to the caves within the Matienzo Caves Project's current and previous permit areas - Garma Blanca (13); La Rasa (9+7?); Mullir (15) and Las Quebraduras (4). There are also, of course, 40m high pylons and cables along with tens of kilometres of access roads which also threaten the area.
This section will be updated when more information emerges.
Overview pages Taken from ARCA pages 21/3/2021 Original zip file (277Mb) containing pdfs and jpgs of planned works (except Las Quebraduras)
• Hi-res jpgs: Positions; Natural Spaces; Protected areas; Visibility; Noise
Carolina Smith research 26/2/2021 MCP web site page
Individual wind farms that threaten caves Las Quebraduras MCP web site page
Garma Blanca (below) : See Hi-res jpgs above : (separate page to come)
La Rasa See Hi-res jpgs above : (separate page to come)
Mullir See Hi-res jpgs above : (separate page to come)

Proposed Wind Farm - Garma Blanca

   Some 11 years after "Proposed Wind Farms" was written, a more substantial plan has been released by Green Capital Power for a wind farm out to the west of Alisas. This project encroaches on ground previously and currently worked (with the Pistruellos group) by the Matienzo Caves Project. (There is also a threat from the Quebraduras wind farm.)
Key points:
   • The Garma Blanca wind farm runs for about 5km approximately N-S to the west of Alisas along the ridge and peaks, with a spur to a single generator on the peak about 550m to the NW of Alisas.
   • 13 wind-powered generators (model 145-3.92 MW), each tower 90m high with a 3-bladed rotor diameter 145m. This gives a ground to blade tip height of 162.5m.
   • The generated electricity is cabled underground to a sub-station at Las Piqueras (west of Alisas)
   • Pylons and cables take the electricity from the Las Piqueras sub-station to the Solórzano substation at Fuente las Varas. This is actually an annex to the southwest of the main substation.
   • A 14.2km network of access roads is planned - about half on existing routes, the remainder, new routes across farmland. Entry to this network is at Barrio de Arriba and all the access roads will need to take the huge and heavy vehicles transporting the machinery, the towers and the blades.
   • Over 250 000 cubic metres of ground will be excavated with over 200 000 cubic metres of embankment.

   More than 740Mb of public documentation goes into great detail about the project: vehicle sizes; route from the motorway; access road specifications (including curve radius); volumes of ground to be excavated and filled; drainage; quantities of concrete; generator and substation positions; pylon and cables to the Sol√≥rzano substation, etc., etc.
This documentation (3 files) is currently available for download at https://ssweb.seap.minhap.es/almacen/descarga/envio/f0e10857db9c877b4445d36e50d3c9272e5ab1d5 and also available via three downloads from the Matienzo Caves site: zip file 1 (223Mb)  zip file 2 (438Mb)   zip file 3 (66Mb)

    An aerial photo shows the proposed works plotted within our QGIS map
the generators (GB01 - GB13),
access roads (yellow dash)
and the pylons (11 - 1 - 27) and cable-run (red dash on white) to Fuente las Varas.
   Also, the corresponding map.

   The effect of the ground works will be considerable and many of the best views in the area will be ruined. Various sets of photos within the public documentation show the current vistas where the works will occur. The energy spent in the construction of the windfarm needs to be offset against the green energy produced - is it worth it?
    There appears to be a small number of direct risks to cave entrances or known passages although there are certain to be some short-term issues with washed-in sediments during the works. If anyone wishes to use any maps generated from the Matienzo Caves Project in support or against the windfarm then feel free. I'm also happy to produce other maps at whatever required scale, with or without cave entrances and passages - just ask. (The official notice can be found here: https://boc.cantabria.es/boces/verAnuncioAction.do?idAnuBlob=358108 and comments and/or objections can be sent in before the end of the month.)
    Some of the access roads, excavations, embankments, drainage works and pylon/cable erections pose a risk to documented cave sites. There doesn't appear to be maps of any access routes required to erect these pylons.

*** These at-risk cave sites are listed with maps here. ***

    Although there are many photos and plans of the routes and installations in the public documentation, there is an apparent lack of artist's impressions showing the generators in situ. A couple of kmz files have been produced for loading into Google Earth which show the 13 generators (to scale) and associated works, with the pylon/cable run (guessed 20m tall) to Fuente las Varas.
   • A stand-alone "Garma Blanca" file showing the generators, cable run, access roads and sub-stations.
   • An updated Matienzo Caves kmz (156Mb) which includes the "Garma Blanca" information plus all the cave entrance positions, surveys, etc, etc.

Here is a set of screen shots for those without Google Earth showing
   the view to the NW of Alisas;
   to the west of Alisas and
   views from the main Alisas-La Cavada road: 1 2 and Las Calzadillas.

JSC 25/2; 21/3/2021