The small town of Petra is taking part in a European project on the use of alternative energies promoted by the European Union. It is the only town in the whole of Spain to be involved in the pioneering experiment called Suncities. The experiment will involve 50 houses in the municipality. Tomeu Gual, the councillor in charge of the agricultural department, had travelled to Germany to study the Suncities project and he returned full of enthusiasm for the possibilities. It is a project for saving energy, boosting solar energy and the generation of electricity. Negotiations are also underway with Gesa the gas and electricity board. Initially, each of the households taking part will have to pay 7'000 euros for the solar plaques, but Gesa will pay each one about 1'442 euros a year for electricity, so that the initial investment will have been covered within five years. The Balearic ministries of the environment and industry are also involved. The buildings which will be involved in the project include several municipal buildings such as the Escoles Velles, the town hall and the sports facilities. Other towns involved in the project are Dortstem in Germany, Heerhugowaard in Holland and Kirkless in Britain. About 50 newly built homes will be involved in the project in Dortstem, an urbanisation of 1'410 buildings in Holland and two textile factories which will be converted into apartments in Kirkless. It is hoped that thanks to the project the use of renewable energies in Europe will have increased by at least 12 per cent by 2010.


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