Wind kissed islands in the sun

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French company Aerowatt, which specialises in the development and operation of wind power plant in French overseas départements, recently inaugurated two facilities on the islands of Réunion in the Indian Ocean and Guadeloupe in the Caribbean.

First online was the 3.85 MW La Perrière installation, near Ste-Suzanne on Réunion, which is owned and operated by Aerowatt. Vergnet supplied the 14 GEV MP 275 kW turbines which are specially adapted for use in cyclonic regions. Of the total investment of EUR 7.1 million, 20% came in the form of support subsidies from the regional authority and the European Fund for the Development of Renewable Energy. The regional authority has set targets of 40-60 MW of wind energy by 2013 and 100 MW by 2025. So far, just 10.175 MW has been installed: La Perrière and a 6.325 MW plant 50% owned by EDF Energies Nouvelles at Ste-Rose. Aerowatt believes the target is achievable. The company has a handful of other projects under development and expects to bring between three and six megawatts online a year over the next few years. The island has a population of 720,000.

In Guadeloupe, Aerowatt commissioned seven Vergnet GEV MP 275 kW units at its Terre de Bas plant. Again, the regional authority co-financed the project. Guadeloupe's population is about 400,000.

Over the last 14 years, Aerowatt has established 40 wind facilities totalling 52 MW in the French overseas départements. Now it is looking to the French mainland, where it is about to file siting applications for 10 MW at Redelles in the northerly Ardennes département. In total, Aerowatt has over 150 MW in development.

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