Engie's controversial windmills on their way
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Images have appeared of highly controversial windmills on Canary Islands, in transit for Engie's project in occupied Western Sahara.

15 September 2023

The first batch of Engie's problematic windmills are these days arriving to a port in Tenerife. Western Sahara Resource Watch (WSRW) has obtained images of their arrival. 

The pictures show a first shipment that is being offloaded in Puerto de Granadilla, from the Antigua and Bermuda flagged ship BBC Elisabeth

In total, 12 windmills are going to be landed at the port during the coming weeks, all produced by Chinese company Envision Energy. 

According to an article published on the official webpage of Tenerife port Authority, once the cargo has arrived in Tenerife, "seven coastal ships will transfer the load to its final destination Laayoune port" [or download]. That is the capital city of Western Sahara, currently under Moroccan occupation. 

Once installed in occupied Western Sahara, the windmills will generate energy with a nominal power of 6 MW each, totalling 72 MW. The highly controversial project, set up by the Moroccan government, will produce energy for a desalination plant, which in turn will generate water for Moroccan settlers who will carry out agricultural activities in the occupied territory. WSRW last wrote to Engie on 17 May 2021 and 22 May 2023 asking about the operation, but the company has not yet responded. 

One of the Tenerife pictures (below) is particularly tragic. Right in front of the offloading operation, a pile of old, small wooden ships can be seen. Those have been used by African migrants to reach the Spanish archipelago. Such vessels often depart from Western Sahara. 

BBC Elisabeth, 9 September 2023, Tenerife. Download high resolution

Western Sahara Resource Watch believes that the reason why the windmills make this transit in Tenerife is that the cargo vessels that took the windmills from China are all too big to fit in the small ports in the occupied territory. Upon arrival to El Aaiún port, the cargo will be placed on trucks and carried 400 kilometers southwards, in the direction of Dakhla. 

The arrival of the ship was also covered on the Facebook page of Puertos de Tenerife on 4 September 2023. See pictures here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. The arrival to Tenerife was also covered by the daily El Día [or download]. 

The blades all carry the name of the manufacturer, Envision Energy. WSRW wrote about the Envision-Engie contract on 22 May 2023. 
BBC Elisabeth offloading windmill components in Tenerife, bound for occupied Western Sahara, 4 Sept 2023. Download high resolution. Free use, no credit needed.
BBC Elisabeth offloading windmill components in Tenerife, bound for occupied Western Sahara, 4 Sept 2023. Download high resolution. Free use, no credit needed.
BBC Elisabeth offloading windmill components in Tenerife, bound for occupied Western Sahara, 4 Sept 2023. Download high resolution. Free use, no credit needed.
BBC Elisabeth offloading windmill components in Tenerife, bound for occupied Western Sahara, 4 Sept 2023. Download high resolution. Free use, no credit needed.
BBC Elisabeth offloading windmill components in Tenerife, bound for occupied Western Sahara, 4 Sept 2023. Download high resolution. Free use, no credit needed.

 

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