Grid improvement plan for Aragón -- Developers to shoulder most costs

The Spanish regional government of Aragón has published a grid infrastructure improvement plan which will be backed by an estimated ESP 205 billion (EUR 1.2 billion) in a combined contribution from wind and cogeneration developers. The Plan de Evacuación de las Energías de Régimen Especial 2000-2002 (PEREA) aims to find an outlet for development which has been kept on hold mostly due to local power line saturation.

Initially, the regional government expects the plan to help absorb a total of 1830 MW from wind and cogeneration by 2002. Developments either on-line or authorised total 800 MW -- far more than the region's 720 MW objective for 2005. The on-line total for wind by July stood at 226 MW, with 48 MW building and 332 MW pending the final go-ahead.

The plan was drawn up in close collaboration with national grid owner Red Eléctrica Española (REE) and the regional distribution collective, Eléctricas Reunidas de Zaragoza (ERZ). Overall investment of ESP 233 billion in grid improvements is expected, with REE and ERZ contributing ESP 28 billion.

The regional government promises to participate in the identification of viable wind resources and will be responsible for co-ordinating the plan. ERZ and REE will provide technical help. In return, all prospective developers must subscribe to the plan by the end of 2000, agreeing to pay an amount in proportion to the installed capacity of any given project.

PEREA has been presented as an organisational and co-ordination tool and not a "determinist" plan. Objectives will be readjusted periodically according to market variables, such as the central government's annual adjustment to the price premium it fixes for purchases of power from renewables producers.

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