The regional energy ministry and the FICA-UGT union disagree about the cost of closing down two production lines at the Es Murterar power station in Alcudia.
The ministry's plan to close the two oldest lines by 2020 is part of the drive to increase the use of renewables and cleaner energy (natural gas). Eventually, Es Murterar will be closed down completely, with the government targeting 2050 as the year when there will be zero emissions in the Balearics.
The union reckons that the closure of the two lines will entail an additional cost of 35 million euros to the electricity network. The government says that any cost would be distributed among all users of the Spanish grid. Any increase in charges to Balearic consumers would be tiny.
The energy ministry explained yesterday that there is no legal mechanism whereby additional costs are specific to a region because of political decisions taken to close part of a polluting power station. It might be noted, though, that the national industry ministry has yet to actually give the go ahead for the closure.
The immediate goal is to increase renewable supply from the current two per cent to ten per cent, and the ministry suggests that it is any event more economical in the Balearics to generate electricity with renewables than with fossil fuels. This does, however, seem somewhat at variance with earlier statements.
Another issue for the union is jobs. Some 800 will be affected, either directly or indirectly. The ministry said yesterday that it will continue to work to find a solution, having previously indicated that there could be job relocation to photovoltaic plants. The union, needless to say, doesn't see it like this.
At present, Es Murterar supplies 50% of Majorca households with electricity. A further 35% comes from the mainland. The remainder is produced from natural gas plants such as Son Reus and then there is the 2.5% of renewables.