Utility Iberdrola approves major renewables budget

Spain's second largest utility, Iberdrola, has approved a budget of ESP 600 billion (EUR 3.6 billion) to back its renewables business plan for 2001-2006. The plan aims to bring 3000 MW of new wind on-line by 2006, together with a further 60 MW in small hydro. Two thirds of the budget will be for European developments, mostly for Spain, says Gonzalo Sáenz of Iberdrola's recently created renewables directorate. He confirms that Iberdrola considers France and several central European countries as attractive wind markets. The plan's remaining ESP 200 billion will go to projects in the US and Latin America and will be controlled by Compañía Americana de Energías Renovables (CADER), a joint venture between the renewables directorate and Spain's biggest wind developer, Energía Hidroeléctrica de Navarra. EHN's main shareholder is Iberdrola. "CADER intends to create companies with local partners to develop projects in the different countries," says Sáenz. So far there are two such companies, North American Renewables and EnerBrasil. Sáenz claims that 555 MW of Spain's on-line wind capacity is under the Iberdrola umbrella via shares in various developers, especially EHN. The company also claims to control a further 222 MW now building. Iberdrola's boost to renewables comes as part of an overall corporate strategy to double business volume by 2006 via investments totalling EUR 12 billion. The renewables directorate -- yet to be given a commercial name -- is one of nine new divisions.

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