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Only two years behind schedule – new power station in refuelling test

The new power station is due to start servicing Gibraltar this year after being scheduled to be ready for mid-2017.

The power station is not the only public infrastructure to be delayed either with some of the Island Games facilities looking like they will not be ready in time for the event itself.

Only this week, LNG tanker ‘Coral Methane’ made a test run for refuelling the natural gas at the new terminal on the North Mole that gave staff the chance to use the loading arm and safety measures. The achievement, albeit two years behind schedule already, will be the crowning achievement of former environmentalist John Cortes who came to office in the narrow GSLP/Liberal 2011 election victory over Peter Caruana.

Optimism

“This has been another exciting step on the way to producing our energy in a much cleaner and more efficient way,” said Minister for the Energy John Cortes. “Last night gave us the chance to take on some gas, thus testing our unloading systems and procedures in the most realistic manner possible and I am delighted to say that everything went extremely smoothly.

“Over the weeks ahead, we will continue to test and evaluate all the systems in both the terminal and the power station.”

Background

The LNG power station was commissioned only after the GSD government under Caruana failed to modernise Gibraltar power generation facilities for 16 years. This could have been one of the causes for a major explosion and fire at the North Mole power station in April 2014 which forced the current government to rent costly emergency diesel engines for the last four years.

French multinational Bouygues was chosen to build the LNG power station which will provide 80 megawatts of power at a cost of £77million. The new power station, which will feature a dual-use engine apart from the LNG generator expected to cover Gibraltar’s energy needs for the next 30 years, represents another big investment in local infrastructure.

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