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Electrical Highway Sama - Velilla, Spain


The project of building a high-voltage power line between the towns of Langreo (Asturias) and Velilla del Río Carrión (Palencia) through the Cantabrian Mountains is known as the electrical highway Sama-Velilla. This project aims to build a double circuit of 400 KV power stations connecting Lada and Velilla, which means running for almost 124 miles through a total of 19 municipalities. The project would cross protected areas, the habitats of endangered species such as the brown bear and the Cantabrian capercaillie. Proponents of the project appeal to the need to export the excess energy out of Asturias. For the coming years it seems that various current electricity generation projects will have excess capacity and according to the proponents, the two existing lines are insufficient.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Electrical Highway Sama - Velilla, Spain
State or province:Asturias, León, Palencia
Location of conflict:From Sama de Lagreo to Velilla
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Other
Specific commodities:Electricity
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Affected municipalities: Langreo (Asturias), San Martín del Rey Aurelio (Asturias), Laviana (Asturias), Aller, (Asturias), Cebanico (León), Cistierna (León), La Ercina (León), La Pola de Gordón (León), La Robla (León), La Vecilla (León), Matallana de Torío (León), Prado de la Guzpeña (León), Santa Colomba de Curueño (León), Valderrueda (León), Vegacervera (León), Vegaquemada (León), Villamanín (León), Guardo (Palencia), Velilla del Río Carrión (Palencia).

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Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2007
Company names or state enterprises:Red Eléctrica Española (REE) from Spain
Relevant government actors:Asturias Regional government, Castilla y León Regional government, Ministry of Industry, All the affected Town councils
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Plataforma «No a la Sama Velilla», Plataforma en Defensa de la Coordillera Cantábrica, Unión de Concejos para la Defensa y Desarrollo de la Montaña Central Leones, Experts from León University, Fundación Oso Pardo
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
- autonomous activists
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Other Health impactselectromagnetic emissions are a concern
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Institutional changes
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Withdrawal of company/investment
Project temporarily suspended
Some of the people claim to have a different route for the high power lines. This is also used as a strategy to earn time.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Currently the project is frozen due to the economic crisis. The Spanish government says it is not urgent.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

REAL DECRETO 223/2008, de 15 de febrero, por el que se aprueban el Reglamento sobre condiciones técnicas y garantías de seguridad en líneas eléctricas de alta tensión y sus instrucciones técnicas complementarias:
[click to view]

Ley 21/2013, de 9 de diciembre, de evaluación ambiental:
[click to view]

Ley 54/1997, de 27 de noviembre, del Sector Eléctrico:
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

- Julio Lago, an economist from Leon University points out 10 main reasons about the unneccesity of the project:
[click to view]

Newspaper article: Vivas, J. (12/01/2014). Las plataformas contra Sama-Velilla reavivan en Europa la oposición a la línea. La Nueva España:
[click to view]

Newspaper article: Romero, M (17/05/2010). Dos millones de ciudadanos luchan en España contra tendidos de alta tensión. Diario de León:
[click to view]

Newspaper article: García, J. A. (25/01/2013). El Gobierno aplaza la ejecución de la línea de alta tensión Sama-Velilla. El Comercio:
[click to view]

Web with lots of information:
[click to view]

Wikipedia: Polémica en torno a la línea de alta tensión Sama-Velilla: émica_en_torno_a_la_línea_de_alta_tensión_Sama-Velilla
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Part 2:
[click to view]

Part 1:
[click to view]

Part 3:
[click to view]

TV program: El escarabajo verde. Short Documentary about the Sama Velilla Conflict:

Meta information
Contributor:Amaranta Herrero
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:83
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