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Spain

Delays blocking progress in Castile-La Mancha warn regional developers

Castile-La Mancha might be Spain's third largest wind power region, but further development is looking increasingly unlikely. "Delays in processing applications, the impossibility of guaranteeing new industrial investments, difficulties in determining and approving connection points and inflated economic demands by certain parties," are blocking progress, warns Alberto Ceña of the regional developers association, Asociación de Promotores de Energía Eólica de Castilla-La Mancha. Two and a half years after the region enforced its wind power development strategy, just 500 MW is on-line -- only 50 MW more than before the plan was approved. Indeed, it was not until January this year that 464 MW was approved for construction under the 1999 strategy. Although Ceñas estimates that 101 wind plant will go up by 2010, it seems that grid restrictions will be the main reason for Castile-La Mancha not meeting the 4000 MW potential developers had set their sights on. As a result, the economic boost that this wind activity was expected to bring to the region, based on development concessions granted so far, may well not happen. To stave off an exodus of the wind business from Castile-La Mancha, the regional government is apparently considering a 1% levy on production from each wind plant, instead of insisting on large scale industrial investment in manufacturing capacity in return for development concessions. The first 450 MW of wind power in the region was developed by Energía Hidroeléctrica de Navarra (EHN) before the wind strategy was passed.

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