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Shell secures La Muela deal

Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has entered large scale wind power in Europe by buying 40% of the 99 MW La Muela wind complex in Spain's north-eastern Zaragoza province. "It is an excellent asset in the second largest wind market in the world," says David Jones, boss of Shell WindEnergy. The La Muela deal "provides us with a solid platform on which to expand our business within the Spanish market and elsewhere in Europe," he adds. Shell's purchase from TXU Europe Energy Trading puts it at the head of La Muela's operating consortium. The remaining shares belong mainly to Germany's BVT Energie und Umwelttechnik AG (30%) and Gruppo Falck (26%). Jones expects Spain "to see strong and steady growth over the next few years." Elsewhere in Europe, Shell WindEnergy has a 50% share in the NoordZee Wind consortium selected to develop the 99 MW Egmond aan Zee offshore project in the Netherlands, though Shell says the project is pending "a final investment decision." Until now, the US has been Shell WindEnergy's hotbed. Here it owns four wind stations -- two in California, one in Wyoming and one in Texas. Shell has also just taken a 50% share in the 160 MW Brazos wind plant in Texas, which it claims will bring its gross installed world wind capacity to 500 MW.

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