Skip to content

Iberdrola, the dirty hands of “clean” energy

own »” src=”″ width=”720″ height=”480″/>

Wind turbines built by Iberdrola in northern Poland.

Splann !, Breton investigative media, publishes this Tuesday, March 29 an investigation dedicated to Iberdrola, world leader in wind electricity. In 2012, this Spanish multinational won the public contract for the wind farm in the bay of Saint-Brieuc, a highly contested project.

Iberdrola, when energy “own” has dirty hands. » This is the title of the long survey published this Tuesday, March 29 by Splann !, NGO Breton dedicated to journalistic investigation in Brittany. The team of journalists, already author in June 2021 of several articles on ammonia pollution in the region, this time looked at Iberdrola’s activities in Latin America. The Spanish multinational is one of the largest producers of solar and hydraulic energy in the world. But its actions in Latin America have harmful consequences, both for people and for the environment.

But why was the Breton association interested in the world’s leading wind electricity company, with 39 billion in turnover in 2021 and 62 billion in stock market listing (still double Engie’s after the Express) ? Quite simply because Iberdrola, a company founded in 1992 and now employing 37,000 people, was awarded the public contract for the wind farm in the bay of Saint-Brieuc (Côtes-d’Armor) in 2012, through its subsidiary Ailes Marines.

© Gaelle Sutton/Reporterre

This was then designated by the Ministers of Ecology and Industry to receive 62 wind turbines 205 meters high, under the nose and beard of the competing company Éolien maritime France, yet chosen by the Regulatory Commission Energy. The Côtes-d’Armor fisheries committee, denouncing moreover alongside theNGO Sea Shepherd the discharge of polluting substance » and the damage to the conservation of non-domestic animal species »had thus seized in August 2021 the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office for concealment of favoritism ». An investigation has since been opened, knowing that the award of this public contract to Ailes marines has already been judged irregular » by the Council of State, in 2019. While the commissioning of the project was scheduled for 2023, the site has therefore fallen behind schedule.

Thus, at a time when Iberdrola is also proving to be a candidate for a floating wind turbine project in the south of Brittany, Splann ! wanted to lift the veil on this who hides behind the communication of [cette] business » who prides himself on having ethical commitment and respect for the environment » for Fundamental principles ». Its journalists investigated several emblematic projects “green energy” » carried out by the multinational in Mexico and Brazil. They conducted interviews and searched existing documentation and work published by local journalists, at their own risk ». They thus refer to accusations of human rights violations »a slaughter of migratory birds »from dead fish » and even activists fearing for their lives » in these two countries.

The fishing port of Erquy, in the Côtes-d’Armor. © Hortense Chauvin/Reporterre

In Mexico, Splann ! for example, worked on the two large onshore wind farms of Iberdrola encircling the municipality of La Venta, near the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. In service since 2007 and 2012, these two parks would have many deleterious effects for the inhabitants of the area, but also for the animals: the World Bank thus evokes the fact that in 2011 nine thousand nine hundred birds and bats would have died by collision with the wind turbines » from one of the two parks. From oil leaks » and an disrupted hydrography » are also mentioned. Indigenous peoples, for their part, denounced in 2011 unbalanced and illegal contracts » with Iberdrola (and EDF) or even permanent damage to their land which they attribute to wind turbine activity ». Contacted about this by Splann !Iberdrola did not respond.

In Brazil, journalists investigated three hydroelectric dams in which Iberdrola is a co-shareholder or co-builder and co-manager. Environmental licensing issues », Problems of food and access to drinking water for the natives » or repression of opposition » and biodiversity loss and water pollution » are evoked pell-mell concerning these different projects. Revelations (mostly commented on by Iberdrola) to read in their entirety on the site of Splann !.

📨 Subscribe to newsletters for free

Subscribe in less than a minute to receive a selection of articles published by Reporterre.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.