BALEARIC minister of commerce, industry and energy, Josep Joan Cardona, said yesterday that plans for electricity links between the Peninsula and the Balearics were not in danger, as the project was fully guaranteed by the central government under its National Energy Plan.
His claim came following reports which surfaced over the weekend, when the Republican Left of Catalonia tried to block links with the nuclear power station at Vandellos.
Cardona said that one of the options was to make the link via Vandellós and the Republic Left had questioned the project because it involved a nuclear power station. But the problem has been fully solved, said Cardona, as in the end, the project which is being studied is to make the link via an electricity sub-station also situated in Vandellós.
I think the matter has been solved and it was a confusion on the part of the Catalan minister Josep Bargalló, who thought that it was going to be connected via the nuclear power station.
There were no other problems, Cardona said, adding that there would be no damage to the environment as the cables would be buried.
The opposition by Bargalló, at a meeting with Balearic leader Jaume Matas, came as a complete surprise to the Balearic government. In May, the Catalan leader Pascual Maragall had promised to give the Balearic government every facility for establishing the links via Vandellós.
Maragall later apologised to Matas for the radical posture of his minister.
However, he did not explain the real motives behind the disagreement.
The other option for the Balearics would be via Castellón, although this is not in the best interests of the Balearic goverment. Vandellós is a nuclear power station in which Endesa has a major shareholding, while the Castellón plant belongs to Iberdrola. It is Endesa which runs the electricity market in the Balearics.
Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero also gave assurances to Jaume Matas that the Vandellós power station would be used to link the Balearics and the Peninsula.
He promised to support the Vandellós option at a meeting with Matas in Madrid last week, prior to the Barcelona meeting.
Three options are being studied: starting from the nuclear power station of Vandellós in Tarragona, the power station of Castellón and the power station of L'Eliana, close to Valencia.
If the Vandellós link is confirmed, Endesa would continue to have the monopoly on energy in the Balearics.
Endesa has reported a 3.9 percent drop in demand in the Balearics in July compared to the same month last year.
A company report said that consumption in Majorca was 420'331 megawatt hours, 4.2 percent less than July 2003. The drop in Ibiza was only 1.6 percent and in Minorca 5.2 percent.
This was attributed to lower temperatures, which meant less use of air conditioners and fans than July last year, considered one of the hottest on record.