The island of Gran Canaria has an electrical power deficit of 120 megawatts and runs a serious risk of suffering blackouts such as those that have recently affected La Gomera and Tenerife. The president of the Cabildo, Antonio Moraleslaunched this Wednesday a warning message regarding the “great fragility” of the Archipelago’s energy system due to the lack of investments to replace the Endesa company groups that have become obsolete.
Faced with this insecurity, he demanded “urgent and regulated” measures to Government of the Canary Islands and to Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (Miteco) to guarantee the security of supply to the population. «We are facing a risk that is the result of inaction, ignorance and forgetfulness of Canary Islands; We cannot continue depending on a Ministry, it does not matter the time and the political color, which ignores our reality and our singularities, she stressed.
Morales assured that this fragility had been “hidden” from the councils until the general blackout occurred this summer in La Gomera. All the island governments, he added, had “absolute ignorance” of this electricity deficit, which in the case of Tenerife is 180 megawatts, as confirmed at the last meeting of the Canarian Federation of Islands (Fecai)who is going to meet on October 4 with the counselor Mariano Zapata to convey the demands of the seven councils. The situation in Tenerife is even worse, with a deficit of 180 megawatts. Throughout the Archipelago there are a hundred electricity generation groups and 60 of them have already become obsolete.
The councils allege that REE hid the fragility from them until the ‘energy zero’ of La Gomera
The president of the Gran Canaria corporation criticized the attitude of the state operator, Spanish Electrical Network (REE), by refusing to deliver to the councils the latest audit of the Canarian energy system, arguing that “it contains very sensitive information”, when that report should be public and, in fact, many of its conclusions are already known.
For example, that audit details the problems of the Endesa power plant in Jinamar, which is “practically inoperative” due to the age of its facilities. Thus, diesel equipment 1, 2 and 3 are already classified as unavailable. Diesel groups 4 and 5, of 20.5 megawatts each, are still operational, but they have already been in operation for 33 years. Steam units 4 and 5 are working, but have a limited number of hours in operation due to emissions. The latter, having been in operation for 40 years, are too polluting and continually exceed the emissions limits established by the European Union. Finally, Jinámar gas turbines are also available, but one is 40 years old and two others are more than 34 years old.
On average, the useful life of these electric generators is 25 years, but many far exceed that time. According to the data known by the councils, there are a hundred groups throughout the Archipelago, of which 60 are already obsolete.
Morales explained that the problem has been going on for a decade, after the enactment of Law 17/2013 to guarantee supply and increase competition in insular and extra-peninsular electrical systems, which prevents Endesa from incorporating new power equipment. to prevent that company from maintaining a monopoly on generation in the Canary Islands.
“The intention of that Law was not bad, to avoid monopolies and open the electricity market to free competition, but the effect is perverse,” stated the island president, since that regulation “considered the call for tenders for the renewal of generating groups that has not been done yet.”
Endesa, Morales stated, “disregisters these teams when it is impossible for them to continue functioning, but Miteco has not held the tenders and that causes a delay of 10 or 15 years in the Canary Islands system.”
The Jinámar and Caletillas plants, in Tenerife, “are at minimum levels, practically inoperative”, so in the case of Gran Canaria they depend on the Endesa plant in Juan Grande lacking a storage network until the Salto de Chira hydroelectric plant is commissioned, which within three years will be able to provide 200 megawatts and boost renewable energy.
It is estimated that the deficit of Gran Canaria and Tenerife in 2024 will total more than 300 megawatts, so to guarantee the electricity supply of the entire Archipelago in the coming years, 1,000 megawatts would be needed.