IIDMA gets the Balearic Government to lower emissions allowed to the thermal power plant of Son Reus (Palma)

  • For IIDMA, it is a priority to ensure that combined cycle gas plants operate in line with the requirements of current environmental legislation.

The Son Reus Combined Cycle Power Plant, located in the municipality of Palma de Mallorca and owned by Endesa, will have to comply with stricter environmental conditions thanks to an appeal filed by the International Institute for Law and the Environment (IIDMA), as resolved by the Environmental Commission of the Balearic Islands. The decision is particularly relevant because it has a direct impact on the maximum levels of nitrogen oxide (NOx) that the plant will be allowed to emit into the atmosphere. This type of gas causes highly harmful effects on human health and the environment.

The Son Reus plant is considered a Large Combustion Installation (LCI) because it has a rated thermal power of more than 50 MWt. This means that certain obligations of the Industrial Emissions Directive (Directive 2010/75/EU) apply to it. In addition, this same directive establishes that relevant authorities have a period of four years to review and, if necessary, update the conditions of the Integrated Environmental Authorization (AAI) of this type of installations to adapt them to the document of conclusions on the Available Technical Improvements (BAT). The latest conclusions for BAT (Implementing Decision (EU) 2017/1442) were published in the Official Journal of the European Union on August 17, 2017, so the authority of the Balearic Islands (Environment Commission) had to review the AAI of the Son Reus power plant by August 17, 2021 at the latest.

On May 27, 2021, the Commission published in the Official Gazette of the Balearic Islands (BOIB) the Plenary Agreement granting the revision of the AAI of the plant. This Agreement established, new Emission Limit Values (ELV) to the atmosphere for NOx, to be applied as of August 17, 2021. However, due to an error in the calculation of the nominal thermal power, the established ELVs were not in line with the provisions of the Implementing Decision (EU) 2017/1442, as they were more permissive.

For this reason, IIDMA filed an appeal for reconsideration requesting the modification of these ELVs in order to apply the correct and stricter values seen in the European regulations. Finally, and despite the allegations presented by Endesa, the Environmental Commission of the Balearic Islands upheld IIDMA’s appeal and ordered the modification of the content of the agreement, lowering the NOx ELVs.

“For IIDMA, ensuring that important sources of air pollution, such as combined cycle power plants, operate with a permit that is in line with the requirements of current environmental legislation is a matter of particular relevance given the difficult context of climatic and environmental emergency in which we find ourselves,” notes Massimiliano Patierno, environmental engineer at IIDMA.