wind developments in Spain are proceeding at a frantic pace. Even the central authorities in Madrid are unable to keep up with what is happening where. Snippets of information reported in the Spanish press are denied one day, confirmed the next and then denied again. This has especially been the case over the past few weeks as competition for Spain's choice parcels of windswept locations has reached feverish proportions, forcing industry captains to protect their positions by keeping as quiet as possible about their plans. American wind plant developer SeaWest, wind turbine manufacturer Nordtank and utility-owned Elsam Projekt, both of Denmark, Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Ecotécnia and Spanish utility wind company Endesa-Made, along with a whole gamut of previously unheard of developers, are vying for a chunk of the market.
According to Juan Tena, a technology writer with Cinco Dias, Spain's daily economic newspaper, the wind swept Galician region in the northwest is currently the favourite stamping ground of prospective developers, with some 10-12 projects underway and new projects being "announced at the rate of one or two a day." The newspaper estimates that the immediate projected installed capacity of the region, traditionally known to seafarers as the "coast of death" because of its ferocious winds and rocky shoreline, stands at 256 MW, although the region's "wind ceiling" has been estimated at 1000 MW, by far the biggest area of potential in Spain. The most advanced project to date is a 15 MW farm at Malpica, to be developed by a consortium of companies, including the Spanish Institute for the Diversification and Saving of Energy (IDAE). Work on the wind plant -- to be made up of Ecotécnia turbines -- will begin in September. Other projects for Galicia, according to Cinco Dias, include three SeaWest wind farms, several Nordtank projects, a 25 MW scheme put forward by Elsam Projekt and a 16 MW Endesa-Made farm.
In America Ron Fawcett of SeaWest says: "We're monitoring a number of sites in Spain and trying to put a project together." He adds: "We'll go ahead with it when the economics look like they'll work." Fawcett, who will not identify the area of Spain his company is investigating, says SeaWest is not in "active contract negotiations" with any utility. SeaWest is on a reserve list for European Union support under the Thermie programme for a 5 MW wind farm of 500 kW Danish Bonus turbines in Galicia.