Friday, December 8

The fire in a solar thermal plant forces the confinement of two towns in Extremadura

The residents of Valdecaballeros (1,794 inhabitants, Badajoz) and Cañamero (1,634 inhabitants, in the province of Cáceres) have spent part of Saturday afternoon until early this Sunday confined to their homes due to the fire that originated in the Casablanca solar thermal plant, in the municipality of Talarrubias (Badajoz).

An oil leak in these facilities has been the reason that has caused the fire, which the firefighters have taken more than 12 hours to put out. The toxicity of the huge column of smoke led to the 112 Extremadura asking the residents of the two towns to remain in their houses with doors and windows completely closed.

The Valdecaballeros City Council informed the neighbors through social networks that there had been “an oil leak, which when combusted is generating a column of smoke, which could be toxic by direct inhalation.” “It is not foreseeable that this column will reach our town, but in a preventive manner, the Emergency Department and the Government Delegation recommend that the residents keep their windows closed and not walk the streets, if possible, until they consider the incident under control,” he said. warned.

The fire started around 5:30 p.m. and three crews from the Herrera del Duque and Don Benito parks, in addition to a Red Cross emergency unit, moved to the scene. Late on Saturday the fire was controlled and perimeter, and damping and cooling work was necessary while waiting for the oil that had burned to be consumed. At the same time, firefighters have been aware of the decrease in pressure to be able to close a 300-millimeter valve of the branch through which the liquid had come out.

According to the website of the company that owns the plant, Grupo Cobra, it has an installed capacity of 50 MW with an approximate production of 175 GWh/year. It generates electricity from solar radiation, by heating a thermal fluid (thermal oil or HTF) up to 390ºC, which, in turn, heats water that, by generating steam, moves a turbine connected to an electric generator.

Five years ago, a leak of 1,000 and 1,500 liters of thermal oil at a solar thermal power plant in the town of Navalvillar de Pela in Badajoz forced the residents of Madrigalejo (Cáceres) to lock themselves in their houses with doors and windows closed for two hours.