Barricades and fear in As Pontes (A Coruña) for the thermal shutdown of the Endesa thermal power plant

Twelve hours were enough since Endesa's announcement of the advance of the closure of the As Pontes thermal power plant (A Coruña), the economic epicenter of the area, so that the latent tension resulted in the establishment of barricades with tires burning at the entrance of the location.

Thirty minutes from Ferrol by highway, the economic lung of the interior of this Coruña region fears for its future after the power company communicated this Friday to the National Commission of the Stock Market that stopped operating all in its coal plants in the peninsula , which also affects the Galician plant to that of Litoral (Almería), among others.

Burning tires cut the accesses on two roads to the town after 2:00 AM on Saturday, a sign of an uncertainty that seems to inevitably lead to a resurgence of protests in this municipality of 10,000 inhabitants where the stoppage months ago Power plant production had already triggered protests from carriers.

As in the case of Litoral, which also uses imported coal, Endesa made investments of 200 million euros in its As Pontes plant to comply with European environmental regulations and thus be able to operate at most until 2030.

The Coruña facility consumes external coal since in 2007 it ceased to operate what was once the largest open-pit mine on the peninsula, which now occupies a lake after being flooded.

But now the high prices of CO2 emission rights have questioned the future profitability of power plants, which are at a loss.

Although clinging for many decades to the economic support energy plant in the area, the city has opted for more than twenty years for a gradual economic diversification of the municipality, which lived close to the power plant and the coal mine.

The establishment of new companies of complementary sectors made their polygons flourish and enrich the work of a thriving trade and hospitality industry, but the stoppage of the plant has installed a climate of malaise.

In the first place, among the transporters that drive the coal that Endesa feeds from the outer port of Ferrol, which had to invest to adapt the vehicles and keep confinements since the beginning of the month in the consistories of As Pontes, Ferrol and Vilalba, axes from an area of ​​more than 300,000 people in vilo.

The group has had the support of one of the local government councilors, Ana Pena, to "improve their spirits," spokesman Manuel Bouza told Efe.

The political scenario is no stranger to the future of the case because As Pontes congregates several peculiarities.

Its mayor, Valentín González Formoso, of the PSOE and who has one of the strongest absolute majorities in Galicia, has to face an Executive of the same acronym with a delicate problem in his hands.

The seriousness of the matter has caused, however, political movements of the draft: the head of the local group of the BNG, Francisco da Silva, has put aside the notorious disagreements between both parties to act as councilor "special delegate" of the Department of Industry as a citizen block gesture.

The spokesman of the carriers asks for "forgiveness to the people harmed" by the burning of wheels but warns that it is the beginning.

"It will be more difficult; it will intensify," he advances, to report that the so-called "crisis group" that was formed a few weeks ago earlier this Sunday is scheduled to make mobilizations.

They had already set a caravan of trucks to collapse traffic in the city of A Coruña, but now expects to be many more than 300, as expected, vehicles displaced.

In any case, he argues that the future of the plant "is not lost, we must fight and go further."

Values ​​that the official announcement of Endesa does not speak of "total closure" in the short term, but when in doubt about the nearest time horizon, he answers with a "we have to keep fighting". In just one day the fog has passed a storm threat in the once major electrical center of the peninsular northwest.

Raul Salgado

. (tagsToTranslate) Barricades (t) Pontes (t) Coruna (t) thermal (t) Endesa

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