Europe counts the advantages

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Enron Wind operations in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands are looking forward to what General Electric (GE) will bring as their new owner. "We are very happy that GE is taking us over," says Herbert Peels, Enron Wind's European general manager. "The company has more the range of activities that we have than Enron, in particular the manufacture and installation of generating plant. We fit very well together. GE has a good reputation, it operates worldwide and is a well-liked employer."

Peels says he has no doubts that Enron Wind's alliance with Siemens in the Netherlands will continue, assuming Siemens agrees. GE and Siemens are otherwise competitors -- and sometimes acrimonious rivals -- on the power equipment market. But Enron-Siemens contracts, says Peels, will certainly be fulfilled.

It will be business as usual for the 280 employees at Enron Wind's blade production division in the Dutch town of Almelo, says director Dik van der Hoek, who has high expectations of the new owners. GE has taken over all the staff and commitments. When trading as Aerpac before its takeover early last year by Enron Wind the concern had been failing.

The mood among Enron Wind's 180 employees in Spain has clearly improved since the deal was announced. Enron Wind has rapidly been extending its reach in Spain, with 113 MW of wind capacity running, 193 MW in firm orders and 1000 MW more in its sights. Insiders are suggesting the entry of GE to the Spanish wind market could present Gamesa Eólica with its most serious competitor. GE has a strong presence in most of Spain's regions and GE Power has supplied a total of 23 large turbo-generators and 50 auxiliary feed pump turbines in Spain, as well as ten gas turbines and the turbo-generator reactors and nuclear fuel for the Cofrentes and Santa María de Garoa nuclear power plants. All this is backed by what GE describes as "a wide range of services for operation, maintaining, and modernising plants."

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