The Island Council of La Palma and Red Eléctrica coordinate actions for the prevention, extinction and fight against forest fires
  • The President of the Council, Mariano Hernández Zapata, and the Councillor for the Environment of La Palma, María Rodríguez, also received a donation of material to equip fire-fighting personnel.
  • Red Eléctrica deployed a special action plan during the Cumbre Vieja volcanic eruption to guarantee the good condition and operation of the Island’s transmission grid, which was not affected by the volcano’s activity.

The President of the Island Council of La Palma, Mariano Hernández Zapata, and the Councillor for the Environment of La Palma, María Rodríguez, have signed an agreement with the Chairwoman of Red Eléctrica, Beatriz Corredor, to coordinate actions in the prevention, extinction and fight against forest fires. The signing ceremony was also attended by the CEO of the Company, Roberto García Merino, the General Manager of the Transmission Division, Ángel Mahou, and Red Eléctrica’ delegate in the Canary Islands, Ainara Irigoyen.

Mariano Hernández highlighted the importance of this new agreement, which renews the one already reached in 2014, and which has an allocation of 80,000 euros and will last for four years. The agreement will allow action procedures to be coordinated and will enable collaboration in fire extinction efforts, as well as in the establishment of precise methodologies for conducting vegetation management procedures beneath electricity lines.

The President indicated that “We continue to work on prevention and to anticipate possible problems that may occur on the island with another of the emergency situations that, unfortunately, occur on La Palma, such as forest fires, the latest one regarding an urban forest that affected El Paso and Los Llanos de Aridane.” 

For her part, the Chairwoman of Red Eléctrica has valued the continued collaboration with the Island Council of La Palma very highly because “with this agreement, we are once again deepening the culture of prevention and self-protection against forest fires, and we also continue to support the relevant and necessary training of professionals.”

Beatriz Corredor also highlighted the importance of the methods and practices established in the agreement for the management of vegetation beneath electricity lines because it is essential “to ensure the proper functioning of the lines and, therefore, for the electricity supply.”

The agreement between the entities contemplates aspects of great relevance for the actions to be performed by fire fighters, civil protection and emergency response teams in the event of a forest fire, establishing a protocol that allows shutting down the operation of electricity lines or substations in the event of a fire.

Following the signing of the agreement, the representatives of Red Eléctrica presented the President and the Councillor with a donation of material to equip fire-fighting personnel: high-visibility, flame-resistant and antistatic fleece jackets, bags to carry the material, backpacks, personal protection equipment (clothing and footwear).

The Island's Councillor for the Environment, María Rodríguez, thanked Red Eléctrica for its involvement in this regard in order to continue jointly improving fire prevention measures and actions to fight forest fires on the Island. "This year we are extending the fire campaign and increasing the number of staff to continue making progress in this regard in the prevention and fight against fires," she explained.

Cumbre Vieja volcanic eruption

During the event, the Company's Chairwoman, Beatriz Corredor, highlighted the efforts made by Red Eléctrica de España, in its dual role as electricity system operator and manager of the HV transmission grid, during the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, with the implementation of a special action plan that was put in place to guarantee the good condition and operation of the transmission grid on the island.

The Chairwoman stressed that the grid maintenance and system operation teams were prepared and on call at all times to mitigate any contingency that might have arisen, although “the volcanic eruption had no impact on the transmission grid, which withstood with resilience and continued to fulfil its mission for the citizens of the island.”

Among the lines of action included in the plan, the Company carried out intensive monitoring and inspection of its infrastructure (lines, towers and substation equipment). “We ensured that the transmission grid operated without incident, and we also prepared ourselves thoroughly to carry out, if necessary, maintenance work or cleaning of insulators, we increased our team of professionals and we equipped ourselves with specialised gear”, she said.

The Chairwoman also stressed that, in its role as operator and manager of the electricity system, “as always, we conduct the supervision of the electricity system in real time in full coordination and communication with the power generating companies and the distributors.”

Similarly, another of the actions has been to process the installation of emergency back-up diesel generators to ensure supply in the areas of the distribution grid where the lava caused damage. The power generating company has already connected the first 9 MW of capacity at the Valle de Aridane substation, which will be commissioned once all the authorisations have been obtained. In addition, another 4 MW are being installed in the Puerto de Naos area. Beatriz Corredor stressed that these back-up diesel generators could help cover up to 30% of the peak demand that was registered on the island in 2021.