This decision is part of the German turbine manufacturer's global industrial investment plan.
The investment is in line with Enercon's strategy to maintain a strong focus on Europe, says Stefan Lutkemeyer, the firm's head of international sales. The company has identified Spain as the most promising European market for growth, he explains.
Enercon will pump EUR40 million into factories and service centres in Galicia, Spain's northernmost and windiest region. The company hopes to clinch at least 900MW of the regional government's 2.3GW tender, which was due to be decided as Windpower Monthly went to press.
Enercon's investment plan for Galicia includes EUR10 million for an aluminium nacelle factory employing 75 people, EUR20 million for steel-component facilities with 50 staff, and EUR10 million for plant construction, control, and operations and maintenance. Production will include the 3MW E-82 wind turbine with an 82-metre rotor, and Enercon's latest E101 model, a 3MW machine with a 101-metre rotor producing up to 50% higher power yields, according to Lutkemeyer. The first prototype of the E-101 will be erected this year, with series production planned before end-2011.
Juan Ruiz-Jarabo, director-general of Enercon Spain, says that 85% of the Galician investment is planned for 2011-12, giving a timely economic boost to the depressed region. The facility will also export to the Mediterranean region and Portugal, ensuring future continuity, he adds.
Enercon's move goes against current industry trends. US firm GE Energy has closed its Spanish wind turbine factory, and turbine majors Vestas and Gamesa have slashed Spanish production, favouring other markets, especially China and the US, to pursue global offshore opportunities.
But Enercon is not going into China or the US and is not doing offshore, says Lutkemeyer. "There is still a huge, accessible market onshore close to home in Europe, and Spain forms an important part of that," says Lutkemeyer. Rates of growth in wind power capacity have been slowing down in Spain, due to government caps on new projects to end-2012 (Windpower Monthly, March 2010). But Spain has about 18GW to build if it is to achieve its 38GW wind power target for 2020 and meet its obligation to source 20% of the energy it uses from green sources under the EU's renewable energy directive. "That's binding - there's no back-peddling," says Ruiz-Jarabo.