Local Daily News 8th September

The first solar plant of the Catral electricity cooperative sees the light after three years

The Catral Electric Cooperative has inaugurated its first solar energy self-production facility, with an investment of 1.4 million euros, to lower the electricity bill of its cooperative members in the town of Catral. With a power of 1.8 MW, it can generate almost 3 million kilowatt hours per year. The plant, which has been called “Villa de Catral”, has 4,116 solar panels, and is the first of the three planned phases, occupying an area of ​​37,000 square metres in the area of ​​La Cruz.

The cooperative had been working on the project for three years. In fact, its president, Antonio Irañeta, has pointed out that it has involved “a lot of effort”, explaining below that “many regulatory procedures have been necessary to obtain the authorizations and permits from the different administrations”. In this sense, he has detailed “the complexity in the elaboration of these projects, the adaptation to the environmental and landscape conditions of the territory, the change of land use, the building licence, the transfers and authorizations of passage and a long etcetera”. To reduce the impact on the environment, the cooperative has ensured that 80 palm trees and 180 lemon trees have been planted in the facility.

In the summer of 2020, when the plant began to be erected, the Generalitat modified the legislation in the face of the avalanche of photovoltaic projects, prohibiting them on land of great agricultural value and flooded areas, as well as in the surroundings of natural parks and landscapes protected, which affected this project and the Callosa de Segura cooperative, which, given the Consell’s refusal, has ended up buying a solar plant in Mazarrón for 2.3 million euros.

In July, the request for authorization of a photovoltaic plant in Albatera, which occupies 6.6 hectares, by the Cooperativa Eléctrica-Benefica Albaterense, with an investment of 1.3 million, was also submitted to the public. These are the only three cooperatives that operate in the municipalities of Vega Baja.

However, now the support of the Consell has materialised with the presence of the president of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig, at the inauguration, where he has underlined that “progress in renewable energies” is a priority, advocating speeding up the administrative process, providing resources and modify the legal framework to facilitate projects like this photovoltaic plant. “It is a great initiative that I hope would have many more implementations throughout the territory,” he added.

At the same time, he has spoken of Catral’s “innovative vision, cooperative spirit and social and ecological awareness”, which is thus “at the forefront of energy” with a management model for the rest of the Community.

In this sense, he has highlighted that Vega Baja already has 220 solar energy installations -27,570 active self-consumption installations throughout the Community-, in addition to another 29 plants in the pipeline in the region, which will add 718 megawatts to the network.

Irañeta, for his part, has influenced “the exceptional collaboration and support of the different bodies of the Generalitat”. On the contrary, he has criticised the limitations established by the royal decree of the central government for self-consumption, which restricts the maximum radius of influence to 500 metres, which prevents a more substantial reduction in the consumer’s bill: “It should be more flexible, at least for communities like those that we form cooperatives”. “It is a matter to review,” replied Puig, who has also advanced that he has already sent the plan with the Consell’s energy measures to the Government: “We have to spend less, families are already doing it, and also the institutions”, so that before 2025 all public buildings have photovoltaic panels to produce more efficiently and sustainably.

During the event, which was also attended by the Minister for Sustainable Economy, Rafa Climent, the president stressed that it is the way to achieve energy sovereignty. Thus, with this initiative, the cooperative, which celebrates its 95th anniversary, brings all citizens closer to the possibility of jointly self-sufficiency with sustainable energy, and it is a fundamental resource to be able to reduce the member’s bill. “We are studying the formulas so that during the production hours of this installation the price to be charged to the partner is minimal, up to a quarter of what it costs on the market”, explained Irañeta, who has announced “a special discount at the cost of the energy consumed.

This installation is the first phase, 35% of the planned total, of a project that will culminate in the generation of 9 million kilowatt-hours per year, which will mean the annual reduction of more than 8 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. In short, “renewable, clean and pollution-free generation, controlled by the families of the municipality,” concluded Irañeta.

The Ministry of Education trains teachers in digital competence to bridge the gap with the level of students

Teachers trained so that, in turn, they can transfer their knowledge to students who are well versed in the use of new technologies, but lack the necessary digital competence to defend themselves in an increasingly technological world.

It is the objective that the Ministry of Education has set itself within two years, making use of European funds, as specified by the regional secretary Miguel Soler, and number two of the department headed by the minister Raquel Tamarit. “A digital training plan is launched with all teachers, following the framework of European competences in digitization. In two years, more than 62,000 teachers will be trained” she highlights.

This generalised training, announced by the educational authorities on the occasion of the start of the 2022-23 academic year, is aimed at training teachers in schools and institutes in proper digitization, which requires precise knowledge of both language and practice, so that apply when teaching at all educational levels, from Infant to Vocational Training, including students with special educational needs.

The European framework of reference in the digital training of educators contemplates levels similar to those of languages: from the most basic or A1 to the most advanced or C2. The evolution of these levels stems from the ability to evaluate digital information and content, and progresses towards the ability to gather and process data, critically understand it, manage it, store it, retrieve it and interact with new technologies; up to the last level that involves digital self-development for the dissemination of projects and the use of team technologies.

Experts in educational innovation and sociological research on youth show that students are ahead of their teachers in the use of technology, but that they lack the necessary digital competence for the proper use of data and information. Education plans to reduce this gap so that teachers are the ones who go ahead and value their didactic training in a world that is advancing by leaps and bounds in digitization.

To complete this training plan, the Ministry of Education has also created a new Cefire (teacher training centre) that will accompany teachers with the expansion of thousands of interactive panels that replace traditional blackboards, up to 7,300; the implementation of broadband in more than a thousand centres, and 3,700 places for teachers in courses on educational methodology with ICT, information and communication technologies.

Among these novelties that point to a teaching that wants to go hand in hand with the 21st century, the ministry highlights that this course still adds more teachers despite the fact that there are no longer strict measures against covid that led to the hiring of more than 5,000 teachers extra.

Tamarit specifies that despite the fact that the cut in the birth rate is consolidated and the consequent decrease in students in the first educational levels, post-compulsory training in Baccalaureate and FP continues to increase.

These data also correspond to an increase in the number of teachers, 743 more throughout the Community, of which almost half correspond to the province of Alicante, which adds 340 more and reaches 28,482 teachers.

The display of figures displayed by the Minister to show the progress in the educational field during the eight years of the Botánic’s government, turned her debut in the position for the first school year into an advance of political management, with which both Compromís and the PSOE try to brace themselves against the constant criticism “from the right”, as Tamarit emphasises.

“In our territory we feel very comfortable with the application of the new state law,” she clarifies. “It proposes methodologies that have already been applied and that do not come new to the ministry or to the teaching staff: co-teaching, innovation methodologies, interdisciplinary work, support for students in socio-emotional development, a greater offer of FP and an increase in teaching staff”, he abounds.

Education officials also point out that the network of free books is a reality that this course saves 300 euros for each student among the 460,000 whose centres belong to XarxaLlibres; that 80% of the students have a lunch scholarship, 75% more than eight years ago, the minister remarks; and that 82.8% of two-year-olds are already in school, forty points more than in 2015.

Soler specified to questions from the media that the ministry is going to progressively follow its objective of educating all the little ones, but that they do not plan to open classrooms for one-year-old children in public schools as is done with two-year-olds. years.

“Those aged 1 to 2 years will not go to public centres but with the invaluable support of the private network”, through the distribution of children’s vouchers, she concludes.

Puig announces 343 million from the Government in projects to prevent floods

The president of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig, announced that the central government will allocate a 343 million item to finance a set of actions aimed at preventing floods in the Vega Baja. Specifically, the Council of Ministers will approve the execution of 11 projects within the framework of the new Flood Risk Management Plan of the Segura Hydrographic Confederation (CHS) for the period between 2022 and 2027. The investment, according to the chief of the Consell, represents 1,500% more than what was contemplated in the current plan, that of 2016-2021, in which it was agreed, “while there were other governments in Madrid”, that the region would only receive 1.7 million. With the new assignment, the head of the Consell trusts that the definitive impulse can be given to one of the strategic lines of the Vega Renhace plan, devised by the Generalitat to revive the south of the Community after the DANA that devastated the territory three years ago. Precisely, within the framework of this strategic program, the Autonomous Administration will inject 108 million this year to advance in the improvement of irrigation systems, flood plans and infrastructure development for the purification and reuse of one of the most precious assets in this area, as is the water.

The regional leader went this Wednesday to the capital of the Vega Baja to participate in the “Conversations of the future” meeting, organised by Prensa Ibérica, the Orihuela City Council, and the Generalitat in the La Lonja auditorium. The forum served to look back, especially to September 2019, when the worst floods in the last 140 years were recorded, with the aim of analysing the evolution of the strategy deployed to promote a new economic and social development, while it is about shielding the region against torrential rains.

Taking the pulse of the Vega is essential to be able to activate a long-sighted look with an eye on the challenges in the medium and long term. That was the role of the guests who accompanied Puig in the debate, which was opened by the mayor of the municipality, Carolina Gracia, and in which different socioeconomic agents participated. Among them Mario Martínez, president of the Orihuela Chamber of Commerce; Enrique Riquelme, president of Empresas del Sol; Ricardo Abadía, director of the Higher Polytechnic School of Orihuela; Rocío Pajares, CEO of Panter, and Pablo Serna, CEO of TM Grupo Inmobiliario. The event was led by the director of the INFORMACION Club, Toni Cabot, and was attended by the Minister of Sustainable Economy, Rafa Climent, and the Minister of Innovation, Josefina Bueno. Various mayors, and provincial and regional deputies attended, as well as senior officials of the Generalitat and businessmen.

“Three years ago we had a Valencian Community that was too disconnected from Vega Baja. Now we have a Generalitat more anchored than ever to this region”. That was the main message on which the intervention of the head of the Consell pivoted, who defended the paradigm shift that has been experienced in the south to respond to structural problems and, at the same time, put an end to hyper centralism, which, he asserted, is not positive neither with regard to Valencia nor with Madrid, he said in line with his usual speech in favour of decentralisation. He highlighted three Vega Renhace initiatives that are already underway and that synthesise the spirit of the plan: the improvement of the irrigation infrastructure, with 12 million to condition ditches and irrigation channels; the approval of flood plans and works on drainage systems, the second phase of which will shortly go through the plenary session of the Consell; and the reinforcement of the treatment and reuse capacity, with projects such as the construction of the new Almoradí treatment plant, for 20 million and which will be awarded at the beginning of 2023; the remodelling of the collectors of the Orihuela Costa WWTP, for 6.3 million and whose work has already been awarded; and the next tender for the adaptation works for tertiary uses of 16 more treatment plants in Vega Baja, with 12 million.

Puig also put emphasis on employment, the protection of the territory and infrastructures. He called on the CHS to undertake “immediate, urgent and priority” action on the river to condition the old and new channels, and to expand its evacuation capacity in anticipation of new DANA episodes. In terms of endowments, he announced that this month the expansion works of the Vega Baja Hospital will be awarded, with 70 million, and that the Consell will begin the administrative procedures to unfold the CV-95 between Orihuela and Torrevieja, which would cost 20 million euros.

Maintaining a permanent claim to guarantee the water from the transfer was a common claim by businessmen, who stressed that without water, one of the fundamental engines for the Vega, such as the agri-food sector, is at risk. They also demanded more control mechanisms so that producers are not harmed by the import of products from outside the EU that do not meet the same food safety requirements and solutions to avoid the endemic evil of the countryside, such as low prices. in origin. In his speech, Puig highlighted the work that has been done in this regard in front of Brussels to request greater control of the oranges that arrive from South Africa. He reiterated his commitment to demand “water forever and at the same price” and stressed that “the Tajo-Segura transfer is not touched”, also asking to avoid “water wars”. However, he defended that in a climate change scenario, the focus should be on all resources, including desalination.

The president also highlighted the commitment of the Generalitat to strengthen vocational training educational programs to adapt curricular content to the needs of the productive sectors and getting students to carry out internships from the first day, a measure that was applauded by employers, who assured that they await them with open arms to face present and future challenges. They also asked to take firm steps to favour the reindustrialization of the region, accelerating the procedures to provide industrial land, and launching the Logistics Activities Zone of San Isidro and the Mediterranean Corridor, in order to speed up distribution and be more competitive. All to prevent production from going to other countries and, therefore, losing employment and wealth.

The Ministry of Health plans to match the fourth dose with the flu vaccine in mid-October

A small spike in covid infections just before starting to give out the fourth dose. That is what the Ministry of Health has found both in the Valencian Community in general and in Alicante in particular. The province has registered 307 cases of covid this week, 3.02% more than a week ago, when 298 were registered in the same period. The news has come a few weeks after the vaccination of the fourth dose begins, which will be carried out first in those over 80 years of age and from the Ministry of Health they expect it to begin in the coming weeks, so it could coincide with the flu, which is scheduled for mid-October.

The Ministry, however, has not dated exactly the day the fourth dose begins and has maintained the forecast made by Minister Darias: “mid-September”. Health sources have indicated that the start day cannot yet be confirmed because it will depend on the arrival of the vaccines, a task that depends on the Ministry.

What they have ruled out is reopening the vaccination centres, such as the one in the City of Light in Alicante, as long as the inoculation is only administered to those over 80 years of age, who will be the first to receive it. This group of the population, being also vulnerable to the flu, could receive the covid booster dose at the same time as the flu vaccine, since it is scheduled to start in mid-October, although Health maintains that they must match both punctures depending on the arrival of the vaccines.

The fourth dose is going to arrive at the same time that an important sector of the population, that of those under 40 years of age, continues to show its reluctance to the booster vaccine. Almost half of the population between 18 and 40 years of age in the Community, 45.4%, have not yet taken the third dose, despite the fact that 87.2% of the same age group have taken the complete regimen with the first two vaccinations.

The covid situation in the province is, however, positive. At the Doctor Balmis Hospital (former General of Alicante) there are currently no covid patients in its ICUs, and those admitted to covid barely account for 2% of the total, according to sources from the hospital itself. In the province, those admitted to covid account for 0.37% of the ICUs, a figure slightly above the regional figure (0.28%).

Monkeypox has suffered a slight rebound both in Alicante and in the Valencian Community in the last week. In the recent seven days, the Ministry of Health has reported 14 new cases in the province and 41 in the entire autonomy, while in the previous week only 3 new cases had been reported in the province and 14 in the Community. In total, there are already 176 cases of monkeypox reported in Alicante and 473 in the Valencian Community.

José Miguel Sempere, president of the Valencian Society of Immunology and professor at the University of Alicante, has indicated that the rebound is explained by the fact that the summer has ended and is due to the time it takes for the infection to incubate: “It is completely normal taking into account which has just ended in August, and more so in Spain, where many people come from other countries. In summer the number of contacts between people increases, the exchange of fluids and the virus, which has an exposure from the moment you get infected to symptoms for 1 to 3 weeks, it’s normal for it to show a rebound.

The virus is spread as a result of close contact, although going back to school should not be a problem since minors are not a risk group: “Unless they live with people at risk, in principle it should not be noticed”, Sempere has indicated.

The immunologist has stressed that precautions must be maintained and “learn the lesson of the coronavirus, which is not over”. Sempere has indicated that covid “is an emerging disease while sporadic cases of the other had already been detected in other years.” The UA professor has pointed out that it is still important to notify Health of an infection as soon as possible and maintain precaution at home: “If you live with other people and have doubts about whether you have been infected, you have to try to isolate yourself if possible in a room and if not, then take measures such as putting a washing machine apart from the rest of the cohabitants and avoiding contact”.



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