GESA, the gas and electricity board, has started to close down three of the five groups at the Sant Joan de Deu power station in Coll den Rebassa so that the plant, which is considered obsolete, can be dismantled. The two remaining groups will be dismantled before October 2002, under a commitment assumed by GESA at the request of the Balearic ministry of innovation and industry. Gesa will also have to install three new gas turbines in Son Reus and two engines in Ibiza. In a communique, the ministry said that the dismantling of the power station in Coll den Rebassa would put an end to the serious problems of smoke pollution which residents of the area have had to put up with for many years. The ministry also stressed the need to apply energy saving measures so that Majorca can see the summer through without energy problems, unlike last year when there was a major blackout. Campaigns and saving plans are now being drawn up, with the emphasis on renewable energies. They will be brought into operation as soon as the master plan for energy is approved. The plan is due to be approved next month. In its communique, the ministry pointed out that while previous Balearic governments “had talked a lot about the need to close down Sant Joan de Deu, it had been the Progress Pact government which had made the agreement to dismantle it effective.” Environmental groups have been calling for the closure of Sant Joan de Deu for several years, but GESA has always claimed that, unless it could build a new power station, it was essential for ensuring electricity supplies, particularly during the summer, when the population rises and the widespread use of air conditioners puts an extra strain on the system.

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