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Spain

Utility and gas giant Gas Natural enters wind market

Spanish utility and gas giant, Gas Natural, has finally entered the wind market after several months sniffing at potential purchases. It has bought the entire stakes held by Catalonia's Banc Sabadell in five wind plants totalling 140 MW. The shares range between 20%-60%, averaging out at 50% overall, according to Gas Natural. Neither company will reveal the price tag. The deal follows more than six months of negotiations with Sabadell and comes as part of an aggressive bid from Gas Natural to corner 10% of Spain's electricity generation market, mainly through the purchase of combined cycle gas (CCG) plant. In its strategic plan 2004-2008, Gas Natural aims to

produce 1045 MW from renewables and cogeneration, mainly from wind, and has its tentacles out for further wind plant acquisitions. The company confirms, however, that it will not bid for the 700 MW of installed wind capacity that Gamesa is expected to put up for auction soon. Other than the recent wind deal, Gas Natural's current 800 MW online capacity comes from CCG plant, with a further 800 MW about to be commissioned. The company claims a CCG project pipeline in Spain totalling 2800 MW.

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