May 17 - ESG Voice Concerns Over New Power Station

esgThe ESG has today voiced concern over the Government's proposed power station plans, which went out to tender earlier this month. In a statement released this afternoon, the Group explains that they feel it is important to state thier position clearly. They note, 'In broad terms we favour the decision by Government to construct a state of the art, environmentally friendly station based on best practice and best available technology and this is what we are supporting. There are a number of variables not yet known that could influence the environmental performance criteria: this include piston engines, combustion gas turbines, or steam turbines via a boiler heated by gas.

The ESG has proposed that combustion turbines with heat recovery from high temperature exhaust for desalination would be our preferred option and this has been submitted at meetings with Government. Combustion turbines are currently being used at the site with very clean exhaust emissions. This would make our new power station a “combined cycle power station” giving us electricity and virtually free desalinated water. The added benefit of this would be a further reduction of Gibraltar's electricity demand which at present is very high due to electrically run “Reverse Osmosis” plants.

This system would increase the efficiency of our power station dramatically as we would be extracting much more energy from the fuel used to produce electricity and water with the same fuel consumption used by the power station itself.

The location by the sea would be ideal for this set up. However there have been concerns raised about the location. Our preferred locations have been Lathbury or the old incinerator site due to pollution dispersal and distance from residential areas. However these were discarded due to cost and the proposed location is the next best available site. If best available technology is used with combustion turbines and urea scrubbers to remove NOx emissions, in proper acoustic enclosures, in a suitably sound proofed building, with flash desalination plant being run from the turbine exhaust, we could then get a very good and cost effective power station that is quiet and clean to operate. A massive improvement and a world apart to what we have at present.

If we get a piston engine power station with no scrubbers or inadequate sound proofing then we would have a power station which is better than what we have now but not as good as we could have had and an opportunity lost. From our discussions with Government this is not a likely scenario.

Our proposal will be that since the storage of gas is for emergency operation only and dual fuel engines are being requested that emergency storage should be for diesel and not for gas. Diesel storage is much safer and already happens in Gibraltar at our present power stations.

Another point that needs to be raised is that Government needs to prevent any further development of residential areas near the proposed plant site; otherwise we will end up with the same situation as at present with power stations surrounded by residential areas.

In our last press release we also urged Government to run a parallel renewable energy programme to ensure that it meets its carbon neutral target as soon as possible.'