Alcanada power station. | Archive


Some time later this century, let’s say the 2060s or 2070s, a future Alcudia town hall administration will be inviting proposals regarding the transformation of a site occupied by a power station. What should be done with Es Murterar? Abandoned since the mid-2020s and left to rot next to Albufera and create a thoroughly unpleasant blot on the landscape, years will have passed during which there will have been arguments with Endesa, while the Council of Mallorca will have been poking its nose in and claiming industrial heritage preservation, to say nothing of the regional environment ministry, which will have commissioned report after report into land contamination and the unsustainable nature of a decaying energy plant in proximity to thousands of annual migrating birds.

With any luck, the town hall will only be inviting proposals for one ex-power station. Forty or fifty years from now, they may have resolved what to do with the one in Alcanada. But if they have, one feels certain that history will be repeating itself with Es Murterar. Let’s have a museum. No, make it a green space. Allow the land (once it has been decontaminated at huge cost) to pass back to nature and be a further extension to the Albufera Nature Park. Proposal after proposal, each one leading nowhere, the players in the arguments the same ones as in Alcanada.

For how long have there been thoughts about what to do with the Alcanada power station? Roughly forty years. Once it was decommissioned and Es Murterar was blowing out all those emissions across Albufera in keeping the lights of Mallorca on, thoughts there had to be, as thoughts there had no doubt been prior to the decommissioning.

Oh, how some of us recall the “clearing in the forest”, the architect’s plan for a museum of arts and sciences that would be gracefully integrated into the surrounding landscape. When was that? 2007, that’s when. It was to cost 21 million euros. 2008 followed 2007, financial crisis started to loom and then consumed the plan. There was to be no clearing in the forest, and there was to also be no reconsideration of the clearing, even once the crisis passed.

But the clearing hasn’t been totally forgotten, as the town hall has been receiving proposals, one of which would be an open-air museum with photovoltaic sculptures. This, say the group of local artists who have presented the proposal, would revive the essence of the clearing project.

Another proposal comes from a group of local businesspeople. They would part with hard cash and take the power station off Endesa’s hands. The chimneys would be preserved (which the clearing project had envisaged) and some buildings would be restored and used as coworking space for young entrepreneurs. Two underground warehouses would be for nautical companies. Everything would be solar-powered.

So, there we are. These are the latest ideas. Not that either might get off the ground as the Council of Mallorca has yet to decide whether to declare the power station a site in the cultural interest. It’s only taken them five years not to make a decision about that, while across the road from the power station there is the Poblat Gesa, sold by Endesa for 3.1 million to a developer and yet to be given a favourable report by the same Council of Mallorca heritage department.

These things do need to take their time. There’s no point rushing them. In forty or so years from now, it will be just the same.