The President of the Island Council of La Palma, Anselmo Pestana Padrón, accompanied by Vice President Carlos Cabrera Matos, and the General Manager of System Operation Division for Red Eléctrica de España, Andrés Seco García, have today signed a collaboration agreement for the coordination of actions regarding training and the prevention and fighting forest fires. This agreement, which will be coordinated through the Environment, Security and Emergency Services of the Corporación Insular, defines action and coordination procedures in the event of forest fire-fighting actions, as well as the establishment of the necessary coordination and methodology for the carrying out of vegetation management under electricity lines.
The agreement deals with highly important aspects regarding the intervention of fire-fighting teams, civil protection and emergency services in the case of forest fires, which is a particularly sensitive matter in La Palma, establishing a protocol for taking power lines offline and/or de-energize substations should incidents of this nature occur.
The General Manager of System Operation Division for Red Eléctrica, Andrés Seco, emphasised that such agreements are important "due to their preventive nature and for establishing protocols that have already been successfully tested by Red Eléctrica in other areas and woodlands characterized by high biodiversity and high fire risk".
Mr. Seco added, "Experience indicates that preventive action is essential for training fire-fighting teams and forestry personnel in all aspects regarding knowledge of energised power lines or substations in the case of fire". Mr. Seco also indicated that actions like these are essential "to avoid personal risks and guarantee the continuity, quality and security of the electricity supply".
The President of the Island Council, Anselmo Pestana, stated that the signing of this agreement is another step towards dealing with a subject of concern, such as fighting forest fires, which is a high priority for the Government of the Island Council.
"The reality of La Palma, being a particularly green island, makes us a specially vulnerable area, so all efforts for the prevention of fire are crucial and today this has materialised by signing this agreement with a company of reference nation-wide, another sign of the Island Council’s commitment to prevent forest fires", stated Mr. Pestana.
For his part, the Vice President, Carlos Cabrera, recalled that the Island Council continues to promote coordinated work with other entities and government administrations "and today we have, in the signing of this agreement, a clear example of this cooperation".
"Only the conviction and the help of everyone will we have a much safer territory and be able to take stock of a summer, like this year’s, where though it is true that the weather conditions have been key, significant prevention work has also been carried out", said Mr. Cabrera.
According to the agreement, Red Eléctrica will provide cartographic information on the electricity transmission grids located in priority forested areas and areas protected by the Environment, Security and Emergency Service of the Island Council of La Palma, which will provide information on areas of high fire risk and will inform Red Eléctrica of the existence of dangerous situations that may be detected in the normal course of their duties.
Red Eléctrica will work with the Island Council of La Palma on the organisation and delivery of courses regarding electricity lines and forest fires in the transmission grid facilities, aimed at forestry agents, staff of the Corporación Insular or any other personnel that the Island Council wish to invite.
This agreement regulates the forest fire prevention works to be performed on electricity installations and implies that Red Eléctrica will inform the Island Council of La Palma of its Five-Year Action Plan for Forest Fire Prevention regarding the electricity transmission grid. Also, the Environment, Safety and Emergency Services of the Island Council will send Red Eléctrica the authorisation for the execution of this Plan accompanied by a technical-environmental statement specifying the terms and conditions under which the different actions must be performed.
The assets of the Canary Islands’ transmission grid were acquired in 2010 by Red Eléctrica de España for their exploitation as sole transmission agent and system operator. At present, the Canary Islands’ system has a total 1,292 kilometres of electricity line with a voltage equal to or greater than 66 kV and has 54 substations.
Red Eléctrica de España is the company responsible for transmission and the operation of the national electricity system, being the first company in the world dedicated exclusively to both functions. As system operator, it guarantees the continuity and security of the electricity supply, maintaining the constant balance between generation and consumption of our country; all under the principles of transparency, objectivity and independence. As manager of the transmission grid, the Company acts as sole transmission agent.
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