Wind plant orders flood in

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A privately owned Spanish investment company, Agrupaci— Energias Renovables SA (AERSA), has ordered nearly 136 MW of wind turbines from Danish manufacturer NEG Micon. It is one of the largest single orders yet placed with a wind company and follows on the heels of a series of smaller Spanish orders placed with NEG Micon and with German-Danish wind company Nordex over past weeks.

The 181 NEG Micon 750 kW turbines, worth some DKK 900 million, are destined for what will be Spain's largest wind development to date, located 20 kilometres south of Zaragoza, Aragon. From 24 to 32 machines will be installed at each of six sites in the mountainous area; power output is expected to be 275 million kWh a year. NEG Micon plans to begin work on the turnkey order in April and finish in June 2001. The company must provide 35 kilometres of grid interconnection, a condition of the building licence granted by the local authorities.

At a site nearby, Nordex is entering the Spanish market with the installation of 15 MW in another turnkey project. Commissioned by Spanish joint venture Desebro SA, the DEM 24 million order is for 25, 600 kW units. Nordex was to begin work last month in order to get the plant on line by August.

Low risks

The orders at Zaragoza come in the wake of the adoption of legislation known as the "umbrella strategy" for the entire region's wind development. The law protects developers rights to particular sites in a guarantee issued by the relevant regional government. The strategy allows a developer to seek rights for several sites at a time, greatly reducing risk and administration time, according to NEG Micon.

The grid interconnection requirement is part of the regional strategy and comes from an agreement forged by the Aragon government between competing developers. Local authorities had required AERSA to arrange for the extension before they granted their approval of the project. NEG Micon secured the order by agreeing to build the grid link. Future projects in the area will be able to connect to it without the need for further extensions.

The Zaragoza projects have yet to receive full approval and an environmental impact statement is pending. But NEG Micon explains that the whole development process is being treated as a first time guide on how to streamline administrative procedures for the benefit of future projects.

The AERSA order comes on the heels of two further Spanish orders for NEG Micon. In December, it received an order for 23 wind turbines in Sovia -- and last month the company received another order for 55 units in Galicia. The company has two manufacturing facilities in Spain and all the wind turbines will be made there, according to the company's Jens-Erik Kristensen.

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