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13th May 2019, 19:15

Government and GSD clash over New Harbours solar power project

The Minister for the Environment has admitted the solar panel project at New Harbours was awarded without a proper commercial tender process. Or so says the GSD Opposition, which believes the tax payer is entitled to ask how much the Government paid for the installation.

For its part, the Government says it has made it clear that the plant has come at no cost to the Government, in the same way as the Ecowave facility.

GSD Environment spokesman, Trevor Hammond, claims the Minister for the Environment, John Cortes, had a fit of pique when challenged on his progress in delivering renewable energy projects and the manner in which the New Harbours projects was ‘dished’ out to a GSLP party member.

Mr Hammond says the Opposition is willing to support improved renewable energy as a matter of urgency and that he looks forward to agreeing a cross-party roadmap for delivering targets to meet the global climate emergency.

But, he says believes it is important to be realistic about where we are in terms of progress, adding some of the claims regarding the amount of energy produced by the New Harbours project don’t stand up to scrutiny.

For its part, the Government says both the solar power plant and the Ecowave facility followed expressions of interest from the relevant parties. It says these were progressed at a time, in 2012, when it became clear the new government of Gibraltar was moving into renewables.

The Government accuses Trevor Hammond of failing to understand the maths behind the amount of solar power set to be produced. It adds in any case it is much more than has ever been produced before, and infinitely more than the GSD planned to produce - "zero".

John Cortes accuses Mr Hammond of trying to score political points instead of seeking technical clarification in a spirit of goodwill.