Contracts prioritise new factories -- Andalucía tender

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One year behind schedule, Spain's southern region of Andalucía has granted 500 MW of concession contracts for wind, aimed at spurring economic growth by giving high priority to bidders investing in local industry. The regional government says the projects will result in 3200 new jobs and investments of EUR 600 million. The capacity will add to the 2.6 GW online or building in Andalucía and is part of the region's target of 4.8 GW by 2013. An invite for a further 800 MW is on the way, says Mariano Barroso of Andalucía's wind association, Aprean.

The 500 MW is spread thinly among 13 developers, unusual in Spain where big names and big projects rule. The biggest concession, 95 MW, goes to utility Endesa. Other concessions over 50 MW go to Proasego, Iberdrola Renovables, Enel Union Fenosa Energías Renovables (EUFER), and Orisol, part of the Synergy aeronautical engineering group (table).

Manufacturers have joined with project developers to form the required investment plans for Andalucía. New factories are promised. Aeroblade, part of the Synergy group, is planning a first factory near Cadiz, employing over 470 and producing 1200 blades a year, also for projects outside Andalucía. Despite a delay enforced by the credit crunch, Aeroblade hopes to commission its new plant by 2010. India's Suzlon recently unveiled a EUR 22 million project to build a blade facility near Almería. EUFER has promised to use blades from the plant, even though Suzlon does not form part of EUFER's bid. Indeed, EUFER's industrial payback for the concession has little to do with wind. Instead, it has promised to invest in food processing plants able to provide their own energy and a low-voltage cable factory.

"We're all for linking wind development with investments in other sectors," says Barroso. The wind sector has long complained that government requirements for local wind plant have not had wind companies' best interests in mind. "Demands by other regions oblige manufacturers to build factories where they wouldn't normally put them, raising installed capacity costs," he adds.

While part of Iberdrola's investment goes to a new factory for wind turbine control systems, more cash is promised for a solar thermoelectric research and development centre. Endesa promises investment in grid and telecommunications technology. Meantime, while Proasego has not said what technology manufacturer will build the factory linked to its development plan, the government has said the plant will go up in Jaen province in the south, and will also serve the US market.

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