Eco-Corruption In Spain’s Solar Gardens
In ingeniosa Spain, the global warming industry is proving big hit for the corruptable:
Powerful wind turbines churned the air above La Muela last week but the stir in this small Aragonese town was caused by the arrest of the mayor and 18 other people on charges that reveal a new phenomenon in Spain: eco-corruption.
Windswept La Muela, with its 500 giant windmills, has become one of Spain’s richest towns on the back of what is the new gold for rural communities – renewable energy… Generating companies pay €1m (£940,000) a year to the town hall in rent and taxes. Private landowners, many of whose families worked the hard, unforgiving land for centuries, share a further €0.5m a year. Planting windmills has proved far more lucrative than cultivating crops….
While it was the construction boom that accompanied the wind turbines which led to the arrest of Pinilla and other officials alleged to have demanded backhanders, the renewable energies explosion was already leaving a footprint of sleaze elsewhere in Spain… Inspectors are also busy looking at a sudden boom in solar farms, where subsidies assuring a 12% annual return on investment over 25 years sent Spain’s notoriously corrupt real estate developers into a frenzy…
When Spain’s National Commission for Energy decided to inspect 30 solar gardens, it found only 13 of them had been built properly and were actually dumping electricity into the network.