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Lusa - Business News - Portugal: Sines coal-fired power station closure 'inappropriate - mayor




Sines, Portugal,Jan.13,2021(Lusa)-The mayor of Sines, in the district of Setúbal, Nuno Mascarenhas, said that in view of the existing situation the closure of the coal-fired power station in Sines, scheduled for this Friday, was not the most appropriate.

"The closure of this plant at the present time and given the existing situation was not the most appropriate and regardless of whether the decisions are political or economic, we believe that there was room for this plant to continue to work for some time because the country continues to import energy," the socialist mayor said in statements to Lusa.

The Sines thermoelectric plant has produced around 18 to 20% of the energy consumed in the country, which is curious, given that, according to the latest information, 20% of the energy we consume is imported, he said.

"It was a decision made by EDP, but we have to focus on what is most important and find alternatives for the workers who have worked directly or indirectly in this plant for many years," he said.

The mayor said it was not only up to the government to find alternatives for the workers who have remained unemployed but also local government, which must make its contribution towards finding solutions.

In a meeting with the government last November, several issues relating to the closure of the plant were addressed and some proposals were heard by the unions, said the mayor, who has questioned the government in the last week to know what measures have been taken in the meantime.

"We are also working with EDP and the IEFP [Institute for Employment and Professional Training] to find local solutions that can respond to these workers who will be unemployed for some time," he said.

Nuno Mascarenhas is also expectant about the future of the industry in this region since there are projects that could have tremendous importance in absorbing this workforce.

"I believe that a new cycle will emerge here, whether it be towards alternative energies or hydrogen, which are currently being addressed at various levels so that they can be implemented as soon as possible," he said.

With around 50% of the plant's workers living in the neighbouring municipality of Santiago do Cacém, the concern of the mayor, Álvaro Beijinha, lies with workers who are going to be out of work.

"From the very first hour we have expressed this concern because this issue must be seen on two levels: the first is the workers with a direct link to EDP, who will have their rights guaranteed from the outset, and the second is the workers of the service companies, with a precarious link," he added.

In the opinion of the mayor, if the option to close the Sines coal-fired power plant is with the greater objective of having a better environment, perhaps the country will have to pay for that cost and actually take on the social issues in relation to these workers, he argued.

The project for the new hydrogen plant could somehow absorb these workers, but investments of this magnitude do not come about overnight, and bringing forward the closure by two years has not favoured the process.

Adding that the Covid-19 pandemic may have aggravated this situation even further, the mayor said that the industrial and port complex of Sines will hardly be able to solve the problem of all the workers who are in a fragile situation, he said.

HYN/IMYN // ADB.

Lusa


Agency : LUSA

Date : 2021-01-14 09:48:00







 

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