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  • ESG Radio Newsletter 210116

    ESG Radio Newsletter 21st January 2016 – Renewable Energy and Threat of New Refinery

    As 2016 begins to start rolling the ESG reviews its areas of priority that it intends to take up with Government. Naturally one of these is on Renewable Energy, a challenge facing communities everywhere that will succeed as a measure of the drive and investment made by each governing authority.

    In Gibraltar you often hear: why aren’t we moving faster on green energy? Doing more? Certainly we have shared that view since we first formed as a group over 15 years ago. It must be said however, that renewable energy, legislation, plans and infrastructure has started becoming more visible in recent years and we shall be discussing these issues again with Government to see how its Renewable Energy programme is being driven and what timelines in fact are in place. We hope to see significant investment and large scale projects set up soon to harness our bountiful renewable energy sources via solar, wind, wave and current power.

    The EcoWave pilot study being set up on the East side disused jetty should provide a green light on that technology and allow it to establish itself on a greater scale – with underwater current technology hopefully, also tested soon. The appearance of solar panelling at various corners of the Rock provides many with a peace of mind that Gibraltar is moving forward and supporting the drive to meet the challenges posed by climate change. However, with a new LNG plant, Sewage and Waste Plant soon to be built and run on fossil fuels, the bigger picture in terms of meeting our major energy and desalination needs sustainably remains open.

    The ESG will be having these discussions and more when it meets with Government next week.

    Of course major fossil fuel use needs refineries and this brings us round to the very alarming threat exposed this week by the Spanish Foreign Minister, Margallo, that Spain is working with Iran to invest in a major new refinery. With the Bay announced as the Ministers favourite location alarm bells have been ringing loudly throughout communities on both sides of the border. Petitions and surveys abound and environmental NGOs have been quick to condemn this possibility with the ESG, Verdemar, Agaden and Plataforma Social all voicing strong objections via media outlets.

    It is quite shocking and hard to believe that a second refinery could ever be built in the Bay when the present one has over decades created such a toxic load in the region strongly linked to clusters of cancers and other diseases. Not to mention the environmental degradation that follows massive heavy industry such an Oil Refinery.

    Late last night news broke that Huelva provides more land for the project and will be the first to be properly assessed over the coming weeks. Of course Huelva has its own fair share of environmental and health problems due to a massive petrochemical complex and no doubt citizens will also fight to resist a new refinery there too.

    We have been in talks with a number of the groups in the Bay and will be monitoring the situation very closely.

    Visit our website esg-gib.net for our press statements and other links to this critical story.

    Thanks for listening