First Andalucia wind factories

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The hard work of three of Andalucia's municipal authorities to attract the wind industry to their relatively poor doorstep has paid off -- the region is to get its first nacelle assembly facility and its first blade factory. The facilities, representing an investment of EUR 30 million, will produce German Vensys 1.2 MW and 1.5 MW turbines under license and operate under the commercial name Eozen, in which the municipalities share a 6% stake. Production is scheduled to kick off before the end of the year.

The factories will be built on the windswept plateau of Marquesado de Zenete in the province of Granada. The aim is to generate "jobs and wealth" in an area suffering 25% unemployment, says Pedro Jimenez, mayor of Huéneja, one of the three municipalities. Eozen's major shareholder is private renewables investor and developer Energías del Zenete, which owns 51%, with 43% held by semi-public savings bank Caja Granada.

The factories are going up in Ferreira, but taxes and profits will be shared equally with both Huéneja and Dólar, in accordance with a 2001 agreement signed between the three. At that time, the area was already inundated with wind prospectors. "We were determined to maximise the economic impact of development locally," says Jimenez. "Lease agreements and levies alone would never stop us being poor." So the municipalities secured an agreement with Energías del Zenete to link development with industrial investment.

Project rights have subsequently been sold to utility Iberdrola, with building licenses granted to four projects totalling 98 MW. Eozen confirms that it will supply "a part" of the 98 MW, without specifying how much. It is yet to reveal if it has further orders. But Jimenez is confident. Starting with 70 staff, he expects the company to ramp up to 200. With Andalucia planning to install 3500 MW of new capacity during 2006-2010, Eozen aims to supply as much of that as possible, he says.

Eozen marks Vensys' fourth strike at licensed manufacture of its direct-drive, synchronous generator turbine. The technology is also being produced at a facility in the Czech Republic and Chinese wind turbine company Goldwind is building a Vensys facility in China. Only a handful of the machines have been installed so far, including a single unit in Canada (Windpower Monthly, February 2006).

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