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Spain

Spain

Going too fast for an accurate count -- Arriba, arriba

Installed wind capacity in Spain increased by about 85% in 1999. Estimates by CIEMAT, Spain's renewables research organisation, put new wind development at 705 MW, bringing the country's total to around 1539 MW. A discrepancy of some 130 MW exists, however, between the CIEMAT figure and that reported directly by Spanish manufacturers (table). Industry insiders suggest that some companies are exaggerating their operating totals. The official figure -- which was expected to be announced early this month by the state renewable energy agency, Instututo para la Diverisficaci—n y Ahoro de la Energia (IDAE) -- is otherwise expected to differ only slightly, if at all, from CIEMAT's.

End of year figures from the country's big three manufacturers led with Gamesa E—lica SA, the Spanish maker of Danish Vestas technology, which sits on 57% of 1999's market activity and 53% of total Spanish wind capacity. The company reports it had 1317 turbines up and running by December 31 with a total capacity of about 840 MW. Of this, 495 MW is from 1999, all with turbines rated at 660 kW. Gamesa recently received the largest single order for wind turbines ever, 1400 MW from utility Energ’a Hidroeléctrica de Navarra (Windpower Monthly, February 2000).

The runner up is MADE Tecnologias, the wind turbine manufacturing arm of utility Endesa. According to MADE, it installed 96.7 MW during 1999, with another 65.7 MW in construction. It claims its total installed capacity is 456 MW.

In third place, Ecotècnia reports 133.52 MW up and running, 70.61 MW from 1999. And Baz‡n-Bonus, the Spanish maker of Danish Bonus turbines, installed 21 MW in 1999, bringing its total to 85.2 MW.

Only two foreign manufacturers without Spanish ownership made significant contributions in 1999. According to a survey in Infopower, Spain's power sector magazine, Danish NEG Micon added 27.45 MW -- down from its 74.7 MW in 1998. German-Danish Nordex entered the market with 15 MW in the province of Zaragoza. German Enercon reports it added a smaller amount, 4.2 MW.

One time industry leader, Andalucia-based Desarrollos Eolicos, which built the Tarifa wind farms of Kenetech turbines, installed nothing, according to Infopower. Enron Wind of the US, however, did clinch a contract with EHN for 100 units of its 750 kW model via Tacke Energi‡ Eolica to be manufactured in 2000 in a new plant in New Castile (page 36).

Spain's first megawatt sized machines were also rolling off the factory belts by the end of the year. Gamesa installed three 1.65 MW variable pitch machines -- the G66 -- in Tarifa in December, but the company does not expect the unit to become commercially available until 2001. Gamesa's more immediate commercial future is tied up in its new G52-850 kW model, developed in conjunction with Vestas throughout 1999. The company's marketing department says it expects the first prototypes to be installed by May 2000.

Meanwhile MADE completed a fixed pitch 1.3 MW turbine toward the end of the year along with an 850 kW variable pitch model in conjunction with IDEA. Baz‡n also opened itself to orders for Bonus's 1.3 MW unit, which will be assembled and marketed in Spain under the name Baz‡n-Bonus. Baz‡n hopes to have one up and running in Galicia's showcase Sotavento wind farm by May.

Utility action

Spanish utilities elbowed their way into the wind plant development business in a big way last year and proclaimed massive investments to come (Windpower Monthly, October 1999). According to the Infopower survey, Spain's largest utility, ENDESA, built 62.2 MW in 1999, bringing its total up to 198.5 MW, with another 51.5 MW under construction. Electricity giant Iberdrola built 51 MW of wind last year, and Union Fenosa had developed 33 MW by mid November. The smallest of the big four utilities, Hidrocantabrico, bought 60% of wind plant developer Sinae, which already had nearly 42 MW up and running and 55.5 MW under construction.

The far smaller Energ’a Hidroeléctrica de Navarra (EHN) -- a renewables giant with 30% of the country's wind production -- was responsible for installing 211 MW in 1999, bringing its total up to 418 MW. EHN's overall investment last year was EUR 220 million and its greatest achievement was the massive 112 MW plant at Higueruela (Windpower Monthly, September 1999). The utility expects to install at least another 400 MW throughout 2000.

The Spanish wind boom has had its aftershocks, however, and one of them has been the sheer volume of license applications on the regional industry ministries' desks. In Valencia, this has resulted in a temporary halt in further development (Windpower Monthly, February 2000). Castilla La Mancha has been particularly avalanched following authorisation of EHN's 112 MW plant, with 13 strategic plans under study by the end of year comprising some 250 plant applications. And in Catalonia, 203 applications await approval (Windpower Monthly, January 2000).

Industry insiders say small and large developers alike are busy playing the market, following the movements of both serious newcomers and the larger more established companies, hoping to sniff out good wind resources, after which they bombard regional departments with applications. This kind of speculation has provided a breeding ground for curious and, at times, unfair practices. After EHN showed how excellent relations with the local town halls could ease the way for wind development, an increasing number of frustrated prospectors have since then tried to jostle for favourable positions in the eyes of the regional ministries. The resulting flurry of activity has created considerable confusion, particularly in poor areas, where a more critical eye is needed to discern between quality projects and financially attractive offers.

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