Cantabria opens its doors to wind at last

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The small and single-province region of Cantabria, on Spain's blustery northern coast, is finally braced to open its doors to wind developers by way of a new regional wind regulation. It is due to come into force in October, says regional industry minister Javier del Olmo, ending a five-year moratorium on wind development. The document sets an objective for the region of 1200-1500 MW of installed wind capacity to 2011. Earlier this year, and to signal its commitment to wind, the regional government pushed through, as a special case, the 17.85 MW Cañoneras wind plant project, one of the region's oldest and developed by veteran Elecdey. Dating back to the late 1990s, the project had long since cleared all hurdles before the regional government clamped a moratorium on wind in 2003, following accusations of corruption (Windpower Monthly, May 2002) and opposition to wind from local environmentalists. The region, one of the most mountainous in Europe, lives largely from rural tourism and is one of the continent's last havens for the brown bear, as well as harbouring a variety of rare birds of prey. With the new regulation, the regional government claims to have reorganised land and property categorisation in order to boost industrial development while protecting the region's natural beauty spots and species.

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