Friday, September 24

Justice guarantees that the State limits hydroelectric production to safeguard the flow of rivers

The Superior Court of Justice of Castilla y León has refused to compensate Iberdrola with the 265,000 euros it was claiming as compensation for the decision of the Duero Hydrographic Confederation to reduce the flow of the Leonese Porma and Torío rivers for ecological reasons. According to the company, with the reduction of the flow, its energy production decreased in the Ambasaguas and Vegacervera falls. The sentence, which corresponds to a decision of the CHD of 2016, 2017 and 2018 comes weeks after the Confederation has opened a file against this same company for the emptying of the Ricobayo Zamorano reservoir.

The Contentious-Administrative Chamber resolves that the clauses of the concessions show “the subordination of hydroelectric exploitation to the public interest in general and to the maintenance of a sufficient flow for fish farming in particular.” Iberdrola wanted the Administration to be sentenced to compensate it for the imposition of the so-called “ecological flows” and demanded from the State 74,229.45 euros for 2016, 78,310.68 euros for 2017 and 112,670.58 euros for 2018 Furthermore, it requested that the CHD be obliged to pay compensation for the following years until the expiration of the concession title based on the calculation formula established in the expert reports provided with the claim.

The Chamber resolves that the limitation imposed by the Confederation is within the concession and does not depend “on the mere will of the Administration but on the Law, the Water Laws and the National Hydrological Plan.” According to the magistrates, the 17th condition of the use of Vegacervera indicates that Iberdrola is subject “to all the obligations established in the laws and regulations.” A precept similar to that established for Ambasaguas, which indicates that the concessionaire is obliged to comply with the “River Fishing Law, for the conservation of species, which means that it had to respect a minimum flow”.

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