Catalonian wind development map sent back to drawing board

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Party politics has forced the long awaited strategic development map for wind power in Catalonia back to the drawing board. Last month the Catalonian parliament voted against the map's immediate enforcement, despite a parliamentary majority in its favour. The vote to redraft the map hangs a huge question mark over the future of Catalonian wind. The industry had hoped that the map would usher in a rapid verdict on more than 100 wind plant applications that have accumulated in the region for 3000 MW. Currently wind capacity is stopped at 58.8 MW for lack of a siting strategy (Windpower Monthly, January 2001). According to Manuel Bustos of the renewables producers association, APPA, the vote was not really about the map itself but about the central government's controversial National Hydrological Plan (NHP), which also came up for regional parliament approval last month. The NHP is one of the main hobbyhorses of Spain's governing party, the conservative Partido Popular (PP), which also forms a coalition government in Catalonia with the Convergencia i Unió (CiU) party. But CiU voted against the NHP. According to Bustos and others, the PP took political revenge by joining the opposition in voting for a redraft on the wind map. "It seems we're back to square one," says Bustos.

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