Visit windpowermonthlyevents.com for the latest on our upcoming conferences and webcasts

Spain

Spain

Boom in Catalonia around the corner -- Endesa the final obstacle

Spain's national renewables lobby group, Asociación de Pequeños Productores Autogerneradores (APPA) has welcomed a decision by Catalonia's parliament to rubber stamp both the region's wind plant siting plan and wind regulation. With the new siting plan extending no-go zones for wind development, APPA is confident that local opposition on environmental grounds will be reduced. All eyes are now on distributor Fecsa -- a subsidiary of Spain's Endesa, which has been accused of holding up interconnection of wind plant long since authorised.

"It's hard to believe but it looks like wind regulation in Catalonia will be a reality by June," says Oscar Romero of Spain's national renewables lobby group, Asociación de Pequeños Productores Autogerneradores (APPA). With no more than 84 MW up and running in what was once considered a wind pioneering region, such words of optimism are rare. But on April 4, Catalonia's parliament decided that both the region's wind plant siting plan and wind regulation should be rubber stamped within two months. With the new siting plan extending no-go zones for wind development, APPA is confident that local opposition on environmental grounds will be reduced -- and that the recent surge in political support will overcome any other opposition that remains.

All eyes are now on distributor Fecsa -- a subsidiary of Spain's largest utility, Endesa. It is widely seen as the main obstacle to reaching Catalonia's 1000-1500 MW target for 2010. Fecsa is blamed for holding up interconnection of wind plant long since authorised. But while parliament has urged the Catalonian authority, the Generalitat, to sort out the problem with Fecsa, politicians have not demanded a specific grid improvement plan. Much now depends on the Generalitat's response to parliament's plea.

The new boss of the environment department, Ramón Espadaler, is pushing for an immediate go-ahead to a handful of projects in non-sensitive areas. One such project is Eólic Partners' 120 MW Coll de Moro development, which plans to put up 60, 2 MW machines, reportedly from German supplier DeWind.

Nuclear and gas

But the Generalitat's industry department is giving the sector few signs of encouragement. Catalonia is one of Spain's largest generators of electricity and has three nuclear stations and a fondness for combined cycle gas plant to meet fast growing regional energy needs. This appears to be what Fecsa is saving its limited grid space for. "I don't know what Fecsa's intention is but there are many connection applications that have not received any response," APPA's Manuel de Delás said recently.

Developer Ecovent -- partially owned by Nordex -- is a typical example. It has all permits in hand for its 48.1 MW Tortosa plant, barring those from Fecsa. In 1997 Ecovent applied to connect 34, 1.3 MW turbines to the grid, but Fecsa says there is not sufficient grid capacity.

The wind sector's main hope for progress is now pinned on the recent surge of parliamentary support. In a recent presentation to the Catalonia energy commission, APPA's De Delás pointed out that of the 3400 MW of wind plant on-line in Spain, only 2.5% is in Catalonia, a region otherwise known for its leading role in industrial innovation. Catalonia, he pointed out, is in danger of missing out on one of the energy sector's most job intensive industries, even though many of Spain's leading renewables companies are based in the wind rich region. Among these companies are wind turbine manufacturer Ecotècnia and project developer Terranova, as well as the Spanish divisions of leaders like Nordex and NEG Micon. De Delás warns that these companies could abandon the region completely and head for more lucrative pastures elsewhere in Spain.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Windpower Monthly Events

Latest Jobs