Thursday, June 06, 2013

You Light Up My Industrial Fire

In Alcúdia there is an industrial estate. It is an industrial estate without any industry. In fact, it is an estate with absolutely nothing, save for some roads and street lights that can't be lit. They've wanted to light the street lights for years, about as long as it has been since the estate's basic layout was finished, but they haven't been able to.

The industrial estate does have something that other industrial estates which are in use tend not to have: a barricade that prevents vehicles getting into it. They put the barricade up because the industrial estate without any industry had an unfortunate habit of losing copper cabling. But the theft of this copper was not the reason for the street lights not being lit or for the entire estate having been left in a white-elephantine state.

Behind the non-industrial estate, the non-polymerous polígono with not even one part, there is what the Germans call the "Kraftwerk". This is the power station, one that can drive "Neon Lights", "Elektro Kardiogramm" and any other titles you care to think of from the discography of the electronic-synth-pop-übermeisters from Düsseldorf. Yes, a ruddy great power station that is responsible for keeping a significant part of the Balearics alight, air-conditioned, tuned in and turned on. Except, that is, the industrial estate that just so happens to be right next to it.

The industrial estate is monikered Ca na Lloreta. Can Lloreta? No, it most definitely cannot. And that's because it doesn't have any electricity. It never has had. For all the years that it has been there, not one spark has there been. You might have thought that someone could have gone and knocked on the door of the power station and asked if they could borrow some electricity, but I guess this isn't quite how it works. In fact, I know this isn't how it works.

Ca na Lloreta has been a poligono with an ongoing polémica. There is very little in Mallorca that isn't subject to a polémica; it is an island pastime. As in English, it refers to a controversial argument, just that in Mallorca and Spain, the polémica often becomes the sole purpose for something existing (or not, and I draw your attention to the Palacio de Congresos in Palma as a prime example). For years, the controversy has surrounded who should actually supply the juice to the industrial estate. And finally, after all the arguments, the matter does appear to have been settled.

Red Eléctrica is the company which runs the entire Spanish network of high-voltage electricity supply. It doesn't distribute electricity so much as makes it available. The name Red doesn't mean "red", it means network. It's like the National Grid therefore. But Red Eléctrica and Endesa, which transmits medium-voltage electricity, have been unable to come to an agreement as to which of them would actually supply the industrial estate. Now, they have, and the agreement will involve what has long been there, right next to the industrial estate, namely a receiving substation. All that has been needed has been the amplification of this substation and the laying of lines. Oh, and 33 million euros. Red Eléctrica is going to cough up.

The enhancement of the substation (two in fact; the other is in Alcanada) will bring improvements to the electricity supply service in the area and not only to the industrial estate, for which any supply does of course represent an improvement. So, we should all, I suppose, be extraordinarily grateful to Red Eléctrica for having put its hand in its pocket. But it is an extraordinary matter that the fundamental issue of energy supply was seemingly overlooked all those years ago.

Work on the industrial estate started back in late 2006. The basic layout has now been in place for almost six years. When its creation was first announced, there was an almighty great stink, as you can well imagine, given that it is next to Albufera. But this was to be an industrial estate that was to be "greener" than any other industrial estate. It was to be the first to receive European environmental certification. Rainwater was to be collected and so supply 50% of the estate's water consumption. Materials used in construction were to be recycled. All in all, therefore, it was an industrial estate for the modern day. Environmentally sound, but so environmentally sound that they forgot about the energy supply.

By the middle of next year, the estate should just about be up and running. Most of the lots are said to have been sold. But how long is it since they were sold? Times have changed. Other industrial estates in the area are hardly full to capacity. The electricity may have been sorted out, but will the wait have been worth the sorting-out?

Any comments to please.

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