The third wind station for the small single province region of Asturias on Spain's north coast has come online. The 47 MW La Cuesta wind plant belongs to Sinae, the renewables arm of Spain's fourth utility, Hidrocantábrico. The company has at least two other advanced projects for the region and a further three in the pipeline. La Cuesta's 71 Gamesa 660 kW turbines brings the region's wind capacity to 121 MW, a 60% increase on the end-year 2002 tally of 74 MW. The ceiling for wind developers in Asturias was lifted late last year from 300 MW to over 700 MW following a grid improvement plan between national grid operator Red Eléctrica de España and the regional government. For the time being an extra 90 MW of projects have been short-listed pending definitive licenses. Prior to the grid plan, the regional government clamped a freeze on the processing of new projects due to administrative bottlenecking. The lid will only be lifted once there is a clear idea of how many of the 61 projects already on the table are likely to go forward, according to Javier Mendez of the region's industry department.
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