On August 14, civil society organizations and birds, bats and hydrology experts in the states of Yucatan and Quintana Roo , as well as community members of Dzilam Bravo filed before federal environmental authorities an environmental impact assessment concerning the “Wind Farm – Dzilam Bravo” project, in which a number of shortcomings and elements that threaten the environmental value of the coastal zone as well as the possible negative impacts on the local population by the proposed location for the park are listed.
The Environmental Impact Assessment MIA filed by Eólica del Golfo 1 S.A.P.I. de CV for approval by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources SEMARNAT, states that the Wind Farm – Dzilam Bravo will install 36 wind turbines over 1,300 hectares on private land to be leased for the life of the project. The wind farm site is located 1.29 km from the coast and south of the town of Dzilam Bravo. The project will operate on the Yucatan coast, for a minimum period of 30 years, and each of the 36 wind turbines to be installed reach up to 175 meters in height.
The Mexican Center for Environmental Rights CEMDA as head of the institutions that participated in the Public Consultation Process on Environmental Impact Assessment stated: ” As representatives of the environmental sector, we are in favor of the promotion of renewable energy , which wind is one of the most profitable for Mexico. However, it should be very responsible selecting the sites for these projects to not cause environmental and social damages that exceed the potential benefits. The Yucatan coast is now of interest to various power generation companies, it is also an area of high ecological importance, rich biodiversity, and tourism importance, so it is suggested to place such projects beyond the first 5-8 km of the coast.”
The assessment file by CEMDA pointed out the following issues.
1. Afect the inhabitants of Dzilam Bravo by the continuous noise of the blades moving.
2.A coastal impact of the hydrological system caused by the foundations of the turbines, which could affect the availability of water to the inhabitants on the beach.
3.A impact on wetland salinity of Dzilam de Bravo and San Crisanto that may affect the availability of food for flamingos.
4.Affect of ecotourism in the region due to visual Impact as well as to the community of Dzilam Bravo for an impact of shadows or flicker effects that occurs with the movement of the propellers through the sunlight.
5. The endangerment of two endemic species, the Matraca ( Campylorhynchus yucatanicus ) and Mexican tailed Hummingbird (Doricha eliza), the first one only survives in Yucatan and the second with a small population in Veracruz, and they inhabit in the first 5 kilometers inland through the entire coastal area.
6. Mass death of thousands of migratory birds that each year enter the Yucatan coast at altitudes between 50 and 150m high that also come down to eat in the first 5 kilometers inland.
According to CEMDA, the first document submitted by Eólica del Golfo 1 S.A.P.I. de CV to SEMARNAT, revealed a substantial deficit of information required to perform a proper Environmental Impact Assessment to establish the effectiveness to protect the migratory bird species. There is not enough data concerning the follow points.
1.It does not show a continuous noise level study that the 36 wind turbines in operation would generate.
2.There is not a serious study of the impact on the bats in the area, only six hours were devoted to monitor this species with inappropriate techniques.
3.There is no monitor study of birds during the fall migration period. Experts consulted in the last Symposium on Wind Energy and Wildlife held in Merida in 2011 suggests a monitoring of up to two years.
4. No geo-hydrologic detailed study was presented to show the presence or absence of impacts in short and long term effectuations on the aquifer and groundwater flow .
5.For the foundation of each turbine it is necessary to excavate an area of 20 x 20 meters to a minimum depth of 2.1 meters. However, the maximum depth in other wind projects can reach up to 4 meters deep . The aquifer in Dzilam de Bravo can be reached between 1 to 2 meters.
6. There is no an impact study for 27 kilometers of new transmission line.
7. There is no a specific action plan to prevent risk to the population in case of hurricanes.
8. There are not direct benefits to the surrounding communities, since the energy generated in the wind farm will only supply power to the shareholders and/or co-owners of the park, and not to the 300,000 households in the region.
According to these points, CEMDA asks SEMARNAT that before issuing a resolution, a public information meeting needs to be conducted in order to answer all the concerns listed. Also the CEMDA ask to the owner of the project to improve the evaluation process of these projects to establish a real sustainable project for a positive development in the region.
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