Local News, Business News, Features, Sport, Spanish Politics, Politics, World Affairs, Financial, ...

Culture and Leisure
Arts, Out and About, Restaurants, Health, Motoring, Leisure, ...

Community News, Resident’s Advice Desk, Letters, Tenerife Photo Gallery, ...

Services & Travel
Accomodation, Rent a Car & Activities, Subscriptions, Notice Board, Classifieds, Horoscope, About us, Contact us, Links, ...


  Delta: impact and aftermath

Tropical Storm Delta left a trail of destruction, devastation and recrimination in its wake – and also highlighted the desperate need for an energy rethink in Tenerife. Or, as one influential business leader put it:

“Delta has shown up the obsolescence of Tenerife’s electricity supply infrastructure. The entire grid requires drastic improvements. If not, the development this island has enjoyed over the past decade – the greatest in the whole of the archipelago – will be stopped dead in its tracks.”
So said José Fernando Rodríguez de Azero, president of the CEOE-Tenerife business federation, who was speaking from the heart: his Santa Cruz office was still plunged in darkness four days after the passing of Delta.
He said he had been shocked to discover that a company as big as Unelco-Endesa does not possess a basic support and back-up system in Tenerife such as a warehouse to store equipment and replacements for use in the case of a major incident of the Delta kind.
This situation was all the more open to criticism, he continued, in view of the fact that the storm had been forecast in advance and the islands, being geographically isolated, should have merited special attention to ensure a guaranteed power supply as would be expected in the rest of Europe. As it was, thousands of homes were left without electricity as rusted pylons were blown down. Some homes and businesses had to wait the best part of a week for normal supply to be re-established.
The wind toppled or wrecked 39 high tension pylons and no less than 103 medium tension ones. The corroded condition in which the fabric of those structures were found to be in has since provoked little short of a major scandal and various institutions, chief among them Santa Cruz city council, have initiated legal proceedings against Unelco-Endesa.
Meanwhile, farmers in Tenerife are still counting the cost of Delta in terms of crops and infrastructure. The losses are immense with over half the island’s banana and potato harvests written off. The situation in the Güímar valley area, one of the worst affected by the winds, is described as “catastrophic” with 90% of bananas lost and practically all the early potato crop gone. Avocado trees were stripped of their fruit and walls collapsed.
In Adeje and Santiago del Teide the banana groves were less affected, but the area’s many tomato greenhouses suffered serious storm damage.
Crops in the north of the island largely escaped the full force of Delta. Farmers in Los Realejos, for instance, reported 20% of banana plants downed by the wind. Further west, however, it was a different picture with Isla Baja taking a direct hit. Some 70% of its bananas were lost and greenhouses battered beyond recognition. Plant and flower production in the area was decimated and 90%of the potato crop was destroyed.
The regional government put a provisional figure on agricultural and civil storm damage in Tenerife at around €108 million and €300 million in the whole archipelago, though that figure was expected to climb as more information became available. The cost of Delta to commerce and industry is still being evaluated.
Work to repair the crippled power grid is underway but is not expected to take less than six months to complete. For Unelco-Endesa it will be a case of starting over. Bereft of spare pylons, spare cable, spare parts even enough tools to carry out a job on such a vast scale, the company has been obliged to charter six freight planes to fly in thousands of tons of urgently-needed basic material. The costs of this emergency airlift will add significantly to the financial burden left by Delta’s damage to grid infrastructure, estimated at some €12 million.
And standing on the sidelines, biting back the words “I told you so” are the green groups, long-standing staunch opponents of electricity pylons in any shape and form. Ben Magec was one of the first to pronounce in the wake of the storm, accusing the regional government of being the real culprit of the island’s power meltdown for not keeping Unelco-Endesa in line and demanding proper grid maintenance.
Ben Magec spokesman Francisco Castro is calling for the setting up of a special commission to investigate the situation which led to the Delta power disaster.
“It has now been fairly conclusively proven,” he said, with grim satisfaction, “that the general public’s demand for high tension cables to be laid underground is right. Present and future autopista widening schemes should be modified to accommodate subterranean power lines.”

send this article to a friend

Search in our business directory

Search for:


Tenerife News Image




Readers Comments                      

[Local News | Business News | Features | Sport | Spanish Politics | Politics | World Affairs | Financial | ]
Culture and Leisure

[Arts | Out and About | Restaurants | Health | Motoring | Leisure | ]
Community & Service

[Community News | Resident’s Advice Desk | Letters | Tenerife Photo Gallery | ]
Tenerife News

[Accomodation, Rent a Car & Activities | Subscriptions | Notice Board | Classifieds | Horoscope | About us | Contact us | Links | ]

Copyright � 2005 - Tenerife News - Canary Wharf S.L.

Website by MaxEfecto Comunicaci�n