Blade factory plans for Galicia

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German turbine manufacturer Enercon intends to build a blade facility in Galicia, Spain, following a framework deal with utility Endesa under which Enercon would supply an 850 MW extension to Endesa's strategic plan for the northern region. The deal is pending formal approval of Endesa's plan, which the regional government is processing. Both companies are confident about a positive outcome.

Enercon is looking at several sites around the port town of El Ferrol, says Manuel Gago, regional boss of Endesa's renewables wing, Endesa Cogeneración y Renovables (Ecyr). He says the blade factory would employ 300-500 people. The nacelle and most of the components would come from Germany, but Enercon would seek to forge agreements with local companies for some component supply and will seek to have towers made in Galicia.

Enercon confirms the framework deal, but declines to provide further details. The company's manager in Spain, Peter Hartschuh, promises an "official statement soon." The Galicia factory would be Enercon's first in Spain, though it has been waiting over a year for starting orders on a blade facility in Valencia to supply a 608 MW agreement there.

Galicia has just increased its wind target for the region to 6500 MW by 2010, up from 4000 MW. To date, about 2000 MW is turning in Galicia, of which Endesa operates about 450 MW. It has a further 100 MW ready to build. Endesa secured a concession in 1996 to build 586 MW in Galicia over a wide area. Gago says the entire 850 MW extension to that concession which the company has applied for is within the same area. Technology advances over the past decade have opened up sites previously ruled out as not windy enough. He also argues that Enercon's technology is welcome in the region because it can contribute to grid stability. Ecyr will use Enercon turbines rated at a minimum of 2 MW.

The deal deepens relationships between Endesa and Enercon. The utility recently bought Finerge, an Enercon dealer and project developer in Portugal. Furthermore, while Enercon will be able to supply other developers from El Ferrol, Gago says the utility may also demand Enercon machines "for Endesa installations in other regions and countries: hence the importance of a port town location."

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