Taking the back door into Valencia -- Excluded players access 880 MW

The Spanish wind industry was taken by surprise last month when two of the country's key developers, Energías y Recursos Ambientales (Eyra) and Urbaenergia, clinched deals in Valencia. Back in January, the regional government portioned out Valencia's 2142 MW of concessions to just five companies, leaving out Eyra and Urbaenergia as well giants Sinae and Gamesa Energia.

Urbaenergia, the renewables affiliate of construction giant, Dragados has now entered via consortium Renomar, which has bagged 759 MW of the concessions. Renomar was founded, and is half owned, by Energias Eólicas Europeas (EEE), a joint venture between Spain's largest developers, utility Iberdrola and Energia Hidroelectrica de Navarra (EHN). Urbaenergia bought a 9% stake in Renomar from minority shareholder Banco de Valencia. The two have joined forces with Renomar's remaining two shareholders -- ceramic company Pemasa and turbine component manufacturer Fellar, each with 10% -- to create Med Wind.

With Renomar's new make up presenting essentially a consortium of two groups, EHN and Med Wind, the future balance of power remains uncertain. Previously, the combined might of the EEE partnership left no doubt it would be controlling the direction of Valencia's wind power concessions. But following Urbaenergia's entry, Med Wind gains a knowledgeable strategic partner.

Nevag crisis

Meanwhile, the 120 MW concession held by consortium Nuevas Energías Valencianas SA (Nevasa) has experienced two major changes since the summer. First, German developer Umweltkontor, holding a 45% share, bought a further 45%, from Sistemas de Energías Regenerativas SA (SERSA). Then last month Eyra bought 51%, leaving Umweltkontor with 44% and a regional business co-operative, Grupo Empresarial Cooperativo, with 5%.

The Eyra deal changes the whole flavour of the German dominated joint venture, one of the few developers with a major stake in regional wind development that had not been dominated by a Spanish company. Eyra, the renewables wing of Spanish construction giant, ACS, is fast becoming one of the heavyweights in wind development, not only in Spain but also in Portugal.

Perhaps the biggest change will be the scrapping of plans to create wind equity funds, a German speciality whereby investors participate as limited partners in small projects. Nevertheless, Umweltkontor's Oliver Scheld claims to be "delighted" with the Eyra deal, adding that Umweltkontor's former partner SERSA is an engineering developer, not an investor and was not expected to remain. SERSA's German mother company, Nevag, might have backed its continued stake in Nevasa, but Nevag's financial difficulties made this impossible.

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