Preparing for offshore boom

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In anticipation of a Spanish offshore wind boom, the nation's dominant wind company, Gamesa, has taken the plunge into the sea, signing a deal to control 35% of Spanish developer Capital Energy, with an option to buy a further 35% for a total cost of EUR 1.5 million.

Nearly all the assets in the new joint venture, Capital Energy Off Shore, involve Capital Energy's 5700 MW European offshore development portfolio. Of this total, 3700 MW is planned for Spain, including an 816 MW development in the Mediterranean (Windpower Monthly, September 2004) and 250 MW for Spain's biggest offshore site, Cape Trafalgar. Capital Energy has also lodged an application for 270 MW off the coast of Ayomonte, bordering Portugal. The company will not disclose details on the rest of its portfolio.

Gamesa's step offshore comes less than two years after CEO Iñaki López Gandásegui declared the company would not "wet its feet" as it had "more than enough land sites to keep the company busy." Following the Capital Energy acquisition, however, Gamesa mentions attractive medium and long term growth opportunities in the offshore sector as the reason for its change of course. The Spanish government has also promised specific regulation and support for domestic offshore development. Capital Energy has also done a U-turn. The company previously insisted on the need for an offshore experienced turbine supplier. Gamesa Eólica has no such experience.

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