Worth the wait in La Rioja

The first commercial wind plant in Spain's small northern region of La Rioja is finally up and running. The developer, Eólicas de La Rioja, calculates that the 44 MW Yerga wind farm -- located 1000 metres above sea level in the River Ebro valley -- will produce 60 GWh/year from 67, 660 kW Gamesa G-47 Vestas turbines, which incorporate Gamesa's Ingecon variable speed system. Overall investment in the plant amounts to ESP 3400 million (EUR 20.434 million). The Yerga application was handled in November 1998 and involved lengthy negotiations with local authorities over the fees for use of public land, together with a legal entanglement over the rights to use the land and public rights of way. Further delays were caused by severe weather, tortuous access from a 16 kilometre forest track and the general work overload on the Spanish civil engineering sector. Utility Iberdrola holds a 67% stake in Eólicas de La Rioja, via its renewables arm, Iberdrola Diversificación. The other associate partners are Firsa, with 25%, and the regional government's holding company, Ricadi, with 10%. Iberdrola Diversificación is also pending regional government approval for a 50 MW Cabimonteros development in La Rioja, which it hopes to have on-line by December following an estimated overall investment of ESP 6500 million.

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