Spanish utility Gas Natural buys major independent wind plant operator

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Spanish utility and gas giant Gas Natural has bought major independent wind plant operator and developer Desarrollos de Energías Renovables SA (DERSA) for EUR 272 million. Purchase of the Spanish company brings Gas Natural's operating wind capacity to 290 MW, including 232 MW solely owned by DERSA, which also holds shares in a further 410 MW. DERSA says it has 57.6 MW building and a development pipeline of 1228 MW. Gas Natural says it now holds 4% of Spain's electricity generation market, mostly coming from its purchases into the combined-cycle gas market over the past two years. It is aiming for 10% by 2008, with just over 1000 MW of that to come from renewables and cogeneration, the bulk from wind. The DERSA deal follows Gas Natural's purchase late last year of the entire wind power holding of Banc Sabadell, a Catalonian bank, which amounted to around 70 MW. The transaction also adds a further layer of complexity to the intricate web of wind plant ownership in Spain, putting Gas Natural into a breezy bed with utility Iberdrola, which is a partner with DERSA in 262 MW of wind plant in La Rioja. Gas Natural will also be sleeping with the Spain's second largest wind operator, Acciona, which owns half of the 110 MW it jointly operates with DERSA in Navarra.

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