Spain

Spain

Aragón developers join in grid fix -- Grabbing the problem by the horns

Aragón looks set to boost its grid for the connection of 72 new wind plant totalling 1520 MW by the end of 2002. Seven working groups made up of developers and electricity transport and distribution companies -- co-ordinated by the regional government -- finalised the details of grid improvement agreements in a meeting late last month. The negotiations have been ongoing since September, when the regional government implemented its grid improvement plan, PEREA (Windpower Monthly, November 2000). The government estimates overall investment in the 72 developments at ESP 230 billion (EUR 1.38 billion), with ESP 30 billion of this for grid improvements.

Saturated local grids have brought wind development in Aragón more or less to a halt at 225 MW. Only 31 MW went up last year, while a further 631 MW with government approval is waiting in the wings and applications for another 6310 MW are piled up at the industry department.

A GRAND PLAN

PEREA aims to lift the obstacles by clearly defining the physical and economic possibilities of exactly what local distribution improvements can be made and where in the seven wind zones defined by government last year. The wind industry is part of the PEREA process along with national grid owner Red Eléctrica Española (REE) and local distribution companies.

The main potential area for contention was national grid owner Red Eléctrica Española's 1900 MW declared limit of new wind and cogeneration plant. The regional government threatened to intervene if the working groups could not collectively decide which plant would go ahead in the first phase of PEREA and which would have to wait. That threat did not have to be carried out.

Segio de Otto of the regional wind association, Asociación de Promotores de Energía Eólica de Aragón, explains that in each of the seven areas the main criterion for decision was plant viability. Developers who were prepared to finance their respective proportion of grid improvements had to prove that wind viability studies had been carried out and that all investment requirements were obtainable.

On the whole, developments that had already received authorisation from the regional government were considered priority cases, unless they could not share a feed-in line with other developments. Furthermore, De Otto explains that the list of priorities goes far beyond the 72 plant listed at the top. "If any of these developments eventually falls through, then the next development on the priority list will step in," he explains.

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