The northern region of La Rioja, with 104 MW on-line in three wind stations, has clamped a moratorium on further development applications following inauguration of the 30.6 MW Yerga II plant. The moratorium, however, does not affect a further four wind projects approved last year (Windpower Monthly, June 2001) or a further nine sites opened to tender by the regional government in December. The government is citing concerns about possible grid saturation, together with concerns about the combined environmental impact of the 16 plant scheduled for 2004, for its clamp down. The regional ecologist group, however, says environmental concerns are no more than an excuse for the slow down; the government's only real concern is about grid saturation. The small agricultural region has a population of just 263,000. It opened to wind power after a massive wind measurement campaign by its dominant developing conglomerate, Energías Renovables de La Rioja. This is made up of Navarra developer Desarrollos de Energías Renovables SA (DERSA), utility Iberdrola and a local investment group, Fersa. The same partnership is behind all the region's on-line wind capacity as well as two of the four authorised developments, with Gamesa Energía securing the remaining two, thereby getting a 70 MW foot in the door of the La Rioja market. Energías Renovables, however, looks set to take the lion's share of the December tender. So far only two developers have so far received initial approval for their bids: a developing subsidiary of turbine manufacturer NEG Micon for the 29.7 MW Grávalos development; and newcomer Energías Alternativas Eólicas Riojanas, which is developing 40 MW at Raposeras.
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