"It's all part of wind entering the mainstream and providing system security solutions," says Ramón Fiestas of national wind association, Asociación Empresarial Eólica (AEE). "We want to get rid of any notion, perceived or real, that wind contributes to system instability."
Wind is now the fourth largest contributor to Spain's power supply mix. "We met over 18% of demand a couple of weeks ago over a nine-hour period when wind production peaked to an all time high of 7200 MW. How can we remain at the margin of centralised system operations? Nuclear, gas, coal and hydro are all there." Failure to take on "the responsibilities of a main player" would only lead to REE resistance and slow the wind market down, Fiestas adds.
To set up the centre, REE has formed a working committee with both AEE and renewables association Asociación de Productores de Energías Renovables (APPA). The committee is working on the guiding principles of REE's operating procedure, Procedimiento Operativo 3.7, currently awaiting government approval. The procedure is being forged in response to December's government order, Royal Decree 1454, calling for central dispatch control of all generating facilities of more than 10 MW by January 1, 2007.
Wind operators can go directly through CECRE or through delegated centres under CECRE command, explains Duvisón. Utility wind operators like Iberdrola, Endesa and Hidrocantábrico are already equipped as delegated centres, as are big wind plant owner groups like Acciona and Preneal. Combined they own and operate nearly 70% of Spain's installed wind capacity.