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Spain

Spain

FROM BULLETS TO BLADES

An ammunition company in Toledo could easily be converted into a production unit for wind turbine rotor blades. This would bring more wind industry to Spain and save jobs in danger of being cut.

Spanish environmentalists have come up with a scheme to salvage a failing ammunition company by turning it into a manufacturer of blades for wind turbines. The plan, the brainchild of one of Spain's major environmental organisations, AEDENAT, and the communist Workers' Commission union (CCOO), would save 160 jobs likely to be axed.

The ammunition company is state-owned Composites (ICSA) based in Toledo, south of Madrid, one of several government companies of the National Institute of Companies holding. AEDENAT, a strong backer of wind power, says the company could easily convert to produce blades instead of ammunition components, for which demand has rapidly dropped in recent years. AEDENAT believes there is a growing market for wind power in Spain and says that rotor blades are one commodity the nascent industry has made no provision for. To date they are imported from Denmark.

The environmental organisation, CCOO and the Socialist General Union of Workers (UGT) nearly two years ago reached an agreement with national utility ENDESA to install some 750 MW of wind power in Spain by the year 2000 (Windpower Monthly February 1993). To reach this goal, AEDENAT says that between 4500 and 7500 blades would have to be built. A large percentage of these could be supplied by the ICSA firm, thus saving jobs and keeping much needed pesetas at home.

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