The regional government of Andalucia has given environmental clearance to 20 wind projects totalling 401 MW in Malaga province on Spain's south coast. "It's a giant step, and is the result of renewed political impetus behind wind from the regional government over the past year or so; but there is still a long way to go," says Mariano Barroso, president of Andalucia's wind developer association, Asociación de Promotores de Energía Eólica en Andalucia (Aprean). Regional grid saturation remains the main hurdle. Last summer, the Andalucian government forced all projects without licenses to group together in five regional grid zones -- Zonas de Evacuación de Energía Eólica (ZEDE) -- to negotiate connection priorities and joint financing for grid improvements. If developers fail to reach agreements, the regional government will establish connection priorities based on a points system (Windpower Monthly, June 2003). The Guadalteba ZEDE affecting Malaga has not yet formed, due to the sheer number of developers involved -- over 100, including giants such as Gamesa, Spanish utility Endesa and Dutch utility Nuon's Spanish acquisition, Desarrollos Eólicos SA (DESA). Barroso hopes the Malaga ZEDE will form soon. "But even then new grid infrastructure will take two years to build at the very least."
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