German developer success in Spain -- An outsider finds its feet

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Spain's first wind plant by a non-Spanish developer is due to come on- line this month. The 13.5 MW plant, called Grisel, is located in Aragón, a landlocked region stretching from the French border to the edge of Valencia in the east. Development is tied up in a complicated deal between Germany's BBB Umwelttechnik Erneuerbare Energien GmbH and Germania Windpark.

BBB Umwelttechnik's project manager, Joachim Binotsch, says his company developed the project from its very beginnings in 1997. He explains that BBB was too small in 1997 to finance the entire project alone which is why Germania Windtechnik -- headed by Markus Tacke of former turbine manufacturer Tacke Windtechnik -- was brought into the deal. It financed successive stages of the development. In return, Germania acquired project rights as BBB executed each stage. Prior to connection, Germania sold the plant to client Harpen AG, an affiliate of German utility RWE.

Binotsch says the Spanish market is undoubtedly tough for a non-Spanish company, pointing out that it is essential and time costly "to get to know the ropes." BBB seems to have found its Spanish feet, however, as the development took about five years to reach completion -- bang on the Spanish average.

Grisel is powered by 18 NEG Micon 750 kW turbines. Binotsch expects production to be about 33.9 GWh/year at the windy 7.8 m/s site. The plant cost ESP 2 billion, including a two kilometre grid interconnection. It was financed jointly by neighbouring developers Elecdey and regional giant Compañía Eólica Aragonesa SA (CEASA). The plant has since received approval for a 3 MW extension.

BBB has also presented a 220 MW strategic plan for Aragón which is currently awaiting approval. Binotsch says that BBB is developing in other regions in Spain, too.

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