The born again wind region of Andalucia is soon to see the first installation of Vestas 3 MW wind turbines in Spain, the largest series-produced wind turbines yet to go up in the country. Developer Wigep confirms it has placed letters of intent with Vestas for four 3 MW turbines and seven 1.65 MW turbines for its 23.5 MW El Pino project in the Los Barrios area of Cadiz. Wigep says building is to start in August with commissioning by mid-2006. "We have already ordered the transformer and now we are putting the finishing touches to the turnkey contract with Vestas," says Wigep director, Mariano Barroso. The project's technological features also includes grid fault ride-through capability, which means the machines can remain connected and support the network with reactive power during temporary grid voltage drops. In an effort to improve wind integration into the grid, the Spanish government introduced a financial incentive last year to encourage operators to provide grid ride-through capability, though failed to identify the exact requirements (Windpower Monthly, November 2004). The government is now expected to produce a technology standard this summer. Wigep has jumped the gun and Barroso is convinced the Vestas machines will meet the new requirements when published. Barroso says El Pino stands as a "model project" in a socio-economic context as it involves minority participation by Iniciativas Eólicas de Los Barrios, a joint venture between Wingep and Los Barrios' municipal holding company. Wigep is developing two other projects totalling 40 MW in Los Barrios and hopes Iniciativas Eölicas will be able to raise its stakes in both. El Pino comes on the heels of a deal clinched by Vestas in February to supply 1.8 MW machines to the 49 MW Pedregoso project, a joint venture between Wigep and renewables investment group Fersa Energías.
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