The accord paves the way for the completion of the crucial Estudio Especial de Ordenaci—n de las Instalaciones E—licas de Tarifa, or Special Study for the Management of Wind Power Installations, which provides for what experts are calling "sustainable wind development of the area."
The study was one of the conditions laid down by the Spanish -- and later European Union (EU) -- authorities for the continued development of wind power at Tarifa in the wake of the early 1994 controversy surrounding raptor deaths. The cash-strapped town hall of Tarifa refused, however, to pay for the report, demanding that the regional government and wind developers foot the bill. A bird study, also linked to further development of wind at Tarifa, was finished before the summer.
The arguments over who would or would not pay for the second study came to a head in August when the regional government threatened to usurp the town hall's authority in granting permission for new wind farms. It gave Tarifa six months to produce the study and warned that if the town hall refused, the regional government would start granting its own licences to prospective developers. As a result Tarifa would forfeit its chances of negotiating better deals with potential developers.
But for reasons unexplained, the regional government backtracked, last month announcing that it will be funding the study, extending it beyond Tarifa to the surrounding areas -- also of interest to developers because of good winds and sites.
According to sources at the Andalusian Environment Agency (AMA), the study will be ready for publication by the end of the year and is likely to herald the release of much-needed EU subsidies and Spanish government funds for the development of wind energy at Tarifa. It is also likely to open the flood gates to dozens of developers with designs on Tarifa which experts estimate has a wind ceiling of 800 MW given the expanse of open areas and steady high winds which blow for yearly averages of 3000 hours.