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Spanish authorities are on the verge of releasing Tarifa's much awaited wind power plan, paving the way for some 400-500 MW to be added to the regional grid in southern Spain. According to Tarifa's mayor, Jose Fuentes Pacheco, regional environmental officials are about to publish the document which has been delayed for months for lack of funding.

"It's just a question of weeks before I have the plan on my desk," he says. "Hopefully we'll be able to get down to some real work once we have it." According to Pacheco the plan will allow him to authorise the installation of some 400-500 MW in his municipality. Tarifa currently has 60 MW installed, one half of which was put in the ground by US firm Kenetech last year.

The execution of the wind power plan for the sustainable development of Tarifa was demanded by European Commission officials, environmentalists and some developers in the wake of an environmental upset in 1993 when a number of raptors were killed by wind turbines. The wind project is on a major avian migration route. Protests by environmentalists paralysed the flow of cash to the area from the European Union.

Meantime, the delay in the release of the Tarifa plan has not stopped Pacheco from negotiating contracts with possible developers. He says he is discussing plans for no less than two factories for wind turbine manufacture which could employ hundreds of locals. At the same time he is demanding a share of all future wind farm profits from projects built on public land.

"The town hall will be earning ESP 400-500 million annually within a couple of years," Pacheco forecasts. "That's twenty or thirty times what we have been getting up to now with 60 MW installed." Pacheco is one of the first mayors to obtain substantial revenues from the wind power business in Spain. He claims that existing wind project owners have agreed to pay him ESP 1500 a year for each kilowatt of installed wind capacity on municipal land and ESP 1000 for plants on private land. He adds, though, that he will stick to his ceiling of 400-500 MW for Tarifa to keep the visual impact to a minimum.

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