Another key aim of the project, initiated by the Xunta's industry and commerce department, is to raise public awareness of wind power. The plant, due to be connected to the grid in February, incorporates a lavish visitors' centre complete with didactic media and demonstration areas of the maintenance engineering section and control room.
Sotavento Galicia SA was founded in July 1998 as a public company to develop the project. It is 51% backed by public money, with private sector utility money making up the remainder. The public shareholders are: SODIGA, the industrial development wing of the Xunta's Department of Economy (20.5%); the state run energy diversification body, IDAE (20.5%) and GESTENGA, the Xunta de Galicia's energy development arm (10%). Private participation comes from the renewables' wings of four utilities: Union Fenosa Energias Especiales (18%), ENDESA Diversificacion (18%), Iberdrola Diversificacion (8%) and ENGASA (5%). Planned investment in the wind plant over the next two years is calculated at ESP 2.4 million (EUR 14,400).
The turbines will take up three kilometres of a ridge bordering the Galician provinces of La Corruna and Lugo within the municipalities of Monfero and Xermade. At an average height of 650 metres, the ridge is swept by winds of 8 m/s. GESTENGA estimates the wind farm will produce 34,408 MWh a year.
Each manufacturer is supplying four units of one model within its 600-700 kW range. The technologies are: MADE (660 kW), the wind arm of utility ENDESA; Catalonia based Ecotècnia (640 kW), part of the Mondragon Corporacion Cooperativa; Gamesa (660 kW), the Spanish manufacturer of Danish Vestas technology; Danish NEG Micon (750 kW); Baz‡n-Bonus (600 kW), the Spanish manufacturer of Bonus technology; and Andalusian based Desarrollos Eolicos. Space has also been reserved, and permission granted, to install four prototypes at some stage in the future.