Developer turns turbine maker -- Italian pre-serial production

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Italian company Moncada Costruzioni is upgrading its 750 kW prototype wind turbine to 850 kW prior to pre-serial production of ten machines later this year. The rotor span is being increased to 58 metres from 51 metres following testing of the single prototype since November 2005.

Moncada's Daniel Tuzzeo says the ten 850 kW turbines will be installed at a 34 MW wind plant owned by Moncada near the town of Cattolica Eraclea on Sicily, where the company is based and has concentrated wind development activity to date. "If they work well, we will use these turbines for the entire plant," says Tuzzeo

He expects the Moncada factory to turn out 50 turbines next year before getting up to what is foreseen as full speed production of about 150 machines a year in 2009. Should all go as planned, Moncada will be only the second company in Italy turning out utility-scale wind turbines. Vestas puts together its 850 kW turbines at a plant in Taranto.

As Moncada gears up for serial production, Tuzzeo says the company has no immediate plans to commercialise its turbines. "Moncada needs 500 of them for its own plants in Italy and elsewhere," he explains. Eventual sales to third parties could be five years down the road.

The turbines will be made at new facilities in Porte Empedocle, Sicily. The factory site was acquired last month. The company will make the nacelle, tower and blades. Moncada has acquired a licence for the blade moulds and production process from German company EUROS.

Based in Agrigento, Moncada diversified out of the construction business and into wind power in 2001. Its first wind plant was a 9.25 MW wind station of Gamesa 850 kW turbines at Monte Mele, where its prototype has also been running. Recently it inaugurated four further wind farms with a combined capacity of 96.05 MW. Like Monte Mele, these are also located in the Sicilian province of Agrigento.

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