Six new wind plant from key player

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Spanish power plant developer Sinae Energia y Medioambiente is to finance six wind plant in the central regions of Castilla y Leon and Madrid in a deal closed in December. Total investment for the 92 MW of wind development amounts to ESP 15,600 million (EUR 93.8 million), ESP 13,260 million (EUR 79.7 million) of which is backed by the Instituto de Credito Oficial and Spanish savings banks Caja Madrid and the Caja Espana. Caja Madrid is an old hand in the wind financing business, having funded several projects.

The six plant will bring Sinae's total number of wind developments to ten. The company's first grid connected wind plant venture was a 5% participation in the 13.20 MW Enix development in the southern province of Almeria, commissioned in December 1997. This was followed by a 42% participation in each of two plant (14.85 MW and 13.86 MW) in Sierra de Madera, Soria (Old Castille region). All three use 330 kW turbine technology from MADE, the wind division of the power conglomerate Endesa.

For the new wind plant, however, Sinae is buying 138, 660 kW turbines from Gamesa, the Spanish maker of Vestas technology, at a cost of ESP 1989 million (EUR 12 million). Sinae estimates the turbines will produce about 227,000 MWh/year over the six sites. At the old premium price of ESP 11.02 /kWh, annual income would have been ESP 2,502 million (EUR 15.04 million). But under the reduced premium rates from the start of the year (page 17), combined annual earnings appear to fall by around ESP 137.1 million (EUR 824,000) to ESP 2,365 million (EUR 14.2 million).

The 138 Gamesa turbines are part of an order by Sinae for a total of 166 units. The remaining 28 machines (48 MW) are destined to cover, in part, another 43 projects that will bring Sinae's total installed wind capacity to 744 MW by 2003, requiring an investment of an estimated ESP 111,600 million (EUR 670.7 million).

The affiliated company set up to develop all six wind farms is called Parque Eolico (PE) Altos del Voltoya and is made up of Sinae Inversiones Eolicas (36%), Union Fenosa Energias Especiales, the energy-diversification arm of utility Union Fenosa (30%), the regional government's Sociedad para el Desarrollo Industrial de Castilla y Leon (10%), Capital Riesgo Madrid (10%), the state run renewables institute IDAE (7.5%), Barlovento (4%) and Grupo Bitrebol (2.5%).

Started and pending

Construction on the three plant in the province of Avila - 14.5 MW at Cruz de Hierro, 14.5 MW at Ojos Albos, and 11.9 MW at Avila - is already underway. The second development phase, however, the Parque Eolico Madrid in Santa Maria de la Alameda (9.24 MW), in the Madrid region, is still pending local government approval, as are the two projects that make up the third phase, 14.52 MW at Villacastin and 15.84 MW at Segovia, both in the province of Segovia.

All six plant are scheduled to be up and running by the end of the year when PE Altos del Voltoya expects to execute the fourth phase, a 10.56 MW extension to the Segovia plant. Sinae also has a seventh 14.52 MW plant under construction by another developer affiliate in the province of Avila.

Aiming high

Sinae is aiming this year to consolidate its reputation as one of the key players in the Spanish wind industry. The company currently dominates developments in the increasingly important north central region of Castilla y Leon (Old Castille) and intends to produce the lion's share of wind power in the as yet unexploited region of Asturias.

Sinae, founded in 1988, focuses on energy diversification projects. To date it has participated to varying degrees in 140 MW of power plant development, including 20 cogeneration plant. By 2003 it plans to have installed a total of 1175 MW, including wind and cogeneration stations, mini-hydro, urban waste and biomass plants.

In July 1999, 60% of Sinae Energia y Medio Ambiente was bought by Spain's fourth largest utility, Hidroelectrica del Cantabrico, from Spain's leading insurance group MAPFRE, which maintains a 20% share. The remaining 20% belongs to the country's second largest savings bank Caja Madrid - also an investor in the six new wind farms. Turnover in 1998 was ESP 4,500 million (EUR 27.05 million), bringing a positive balance of ESP 312 million (EUR 1.88 million), while Sinae's own figures for 1999 show takings of ESP 16,000 million (EUR 96.16 million). Although the exact balance for 1999 is unknown, the company's earlier profit prediction of ESP 1,460 million corresponded to an estimated turnover of ESP 17,000 million (EUR 102.17).

Strategic plan

The company's more immediate plans for wind power following the six PE Altos del Voltoya developments focus on its strategic wind power plan (Plan Eolico Estrategico) of 208 MW in six wind farms in Spain's northern region of Asturias. This regional plan was drawn up by Generaciones Especiales (GENESA), which belongs to Grupo Hydrocantabrico, and will be developed by Sinae.

Overall investment is calculated at ESP 31,200 million (EUR 187.5 million) and, if approved, the development will account for more than three quarters of the total capacity of 300 MW that IDAE (Instituto para la Diversificacion y Ahoro de la Energia) estimates to be installable in the region by 2005. The areas targeted for development are in the sierras of Lagos (45 MW), Acebo (20 MW), Cuesta (9 MW), Curiscao (capacity not known), Pumar (40 MW) and Carondio (47 MW).

The plan foresees the creation of 2600 jobs a year in the region during the design, development and construction of the six wind plant. So far no wind plant has received regional government approval in Asturias.

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