Naturgy starts up a wind farm and a photovoltaic plant in Extremadura that will supply 55,000 homes with renewable energy

  • The Merengue II wind farm is the company’s second in the region and the Puerta del Jerte photovoltaic plant is the second of this technology.
  • The two new facilities, located in the municipality of Plasencia in the province of Cáceres, have created more than 860 direct and indirect jobs and will produce energy equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 54,500 homes.
  • By the end of the year, Extremadura will have nine facilities under development, under construction and in operation, a figure that makes it one of the autonomous communities with the highest concentration of new Naturgy renewable projects in Spai

This week, Naturgy has commissioned the Merengue II wind farm, the company’s second in Extremadura, and the Puerta del Jerte photovoltaic plant, the second of its kind in this autonomous region. Both installations allow the energy company to add 80 MW to those already in operation and reach 142 MW of renewable energy in the region.

The two facilities, which have created more than 860 direct and indirect jobs, will produce more than 190 GWh/year of energy, equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 54,500 homes. They will also contribute to reducing more than 120,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to taking 50,000 vehicles off the road for one year. During the lifetime of both projects, estimated at 30 years, the emission of more than 1.8 million tonnes of CO2 per year will be avoided.

For Ana Ruiz, Naturgy’s delegate for Renewable Development in Extremadura, “these new infrastructures are an endorsement of the company’s firm commitment to the Extremadura region as a benchmark in renewable energy”, as well as “evidence of the commitment to energy transition and decarbonisation, which is one of the company’s main roadmaps”.

With a total of 11 wind turbines and an investment of approximately 41 million euros, the Merengue II wind farm has a capacity of 50 MW. It will produce 128 GWh annually, and will avoid the annual emission of around 81,500 tonnes of CO2. It is Naturgy’s second wind farm in Extremadura, which, together with Merengue, has made the municipality of Plasencia the only one with this type of generation in that autonomous region.
For its part, the photovoltaic Puerta del Jerte plant has meant an investment of around 16 million euros. With a capacity of 30 MW, it will generate 62 GWh/year, avoiding the emission of almost 39,500 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Measures to protect biodiversity

The construction of these two facilities has also entailed the implementation of various environmental measures in the surroundings, in line with the policy of environmental protection and biodiversity in he areas where Naturgy develops its projects.

In the case of the Merengue II wind farm, work is being carried out on the design and execution of actions in different sections of the river Jerte as it passes through Plasencia, aimed at improving the state of conservation of the special protection area of the lesser kestrel colonies and the Plasencia ruff, and the special conservation area of the Alagón and Jerte rivers. These measures have included the elimination of invasive plants; the improvement and regeneration of vegetation on the “La Isla” riverside promenade, in areas where it is in the worst condition; and the installation of nesting boxes in the area. It is also planned to tag several black vultures with radio transmitters, in order to learn more about their use of space and territoriality.

In the case of the area surrounding the Puerta del Jerte photovoltaic plant, measures have been planned for the protection of amphibians, such as the creation of ponds for their reproduction; actions to protect reptiles, such as the construction of five refuges; and actions to conserve birdlife, such as the installation and maintenance of drinking troughs. As in Merengue II, it is planned to carry out radio-monitoring of species, in this case breeding red kites as well as black storks and their offspring, while a sampling and habitat analysis study of the black wheatear is also being carried out.
A study of the evolution of soil quality is being carried out by the University of Extremadura too. In addition, a holly recovery study and planting trials of other protected flora species are planned in the Monfragüe Natural Park.

Merengue II and the Puerta del Jerte plant join the Merengue wind farm in the municipality of Plasencia, which has become a benchmark in renewable energies and especially in wind energy, as evidenced by the fact that last September it won the Eolo 2023 Award of the Spanish Wind Energy Association (AEE) for the Rural Integration of Wind Energy.

Naturgy’s commitment to Extremadura

Extremadura is a region of high strategic value for Naturgy. In addition to the two facilities in Plasencia, the multinational energy company is building another photovoltaic plant, Las Jaras de Badajoz, in the municipalities of La Albuera and Badajoz, with an installed capacity of 59 MW. This facility will produce approximately 123 GWh/year of energy, which is equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of more than 35,200 homes, and will prevent the emission into the atmosphere of around 78,350 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Similarly, the El Encinar I along with the Los Naipes and Los Naipes II photovoltaic plants are under construction in Badajoz, which, with an individual capacity of 50 MW, will generate a total of 315 GWh/year, equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 90,000 homes.
To these must be added the Campo de Arañuelo photovoltaic plant, which is located between the municipalities of Aldeacentenera and Torrecillas de la Tiesa and which, with 300 MW of power and an estimated production of 514 GWh per year, will be the largest renewable energy project of all those promoted by the multinational energy company in Spain.

In all, Naturgy is developing nine projects in Extremadura, at different stages of development, construction and operation, with a total capacity of 651 MW and an overall production of more than 1,300 GWh/year, which will generate electricity equivalent to more than 377,000 homes and 838,000 tonnes of CO2 avoided per year. In 2022, Naturgy’s renewable production in Extremadura reached 128 GWh of renewable energy, an amount equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of 36,000 households.

Commitment to Energy Transition

Naturgy is working to boost its role in the energy transition and decarbonisation. The company boasts an operational renewable capacity of nearly 5.7 GW on a global scale.

In Spain, the company is currently constructing some 30 wind farms and photovoltaic plants. These initiatives will contribute nearly 1 GW of installed capacity to the group’s portfolio by the end of 2024.

Investments in renewable energies over the last few years confirm the company’s strategic shift towards a more sustainable energy mix and its commitment to the energy transition. All this without ignoring the fundamental objectives of value creation and growth for each of its businesses, or the ESG goals.