Minorca is to become an important international and European centre for water studies and wind-power experiments. The Balearic government's director general for Energy, Joan Perches, announced a long term project yesterday as part of the Balearic Energy Plan, which involves the gradual installation of 100 wind-powered generators. The wind-mills will be 40 metres high with the wing-span of the blades being 20 metres, and they will be installed when permission is given for the projects. At the moment, permission has only been granted for the construction of the El Milá wind park in Mahon which features five electricity generating wind turbines. The majority of the new mills are to be installed in Ciutadella, but well away from any urbanisations so not to become a blot on the landscape. Technicians and engineers have calculated that the wind farm will be able to generate around 75 megavolts, nearly a similar amount to that generated by the power station in Mahon - however the wind turbines are very dependent on natural wind power which is why the wind turbines are only used for some 2'000 hours a year. The power generated by the turbines will account for six per cent of electricity consumed in Minorca - but Perches said yesterday that, combined with a more efficient energy saving plan, wind generated power will eventually account for seven per cent. While the wind power plan is developed, Minorca is also to become the international centre for a Hydrocontrol experiment to develop an automatic water management and control system. The IME Minorcan Studies Institute said yesterday that the experiment involves a project presented to the European Union and involves creating a system of automatic sensors in the water system which will collect a wide base of data and information in 12 different fields, including water supplies, contamination and salt content. The project is currently being examined in Brussels, which it is hoped will cover half of the cost of the 315 million peseta project. If Brussels gives the experiment the all clear, the project designers will know within a month and the project will be developed in three phases. The first phase, which will take a year, will be to locate the correct water deposits and wells while obtaining all the equipment, the second phase, which will take 18 months, will involve installing the electronic sensors in the supply network and the final phase will be a six-month trial period to make sure the system works. The Balearic Health Institute will also be participating in the project.

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