Two wind plant licenses -- including one for the fully operational 30 MW Sía I wind plant online since November 2003 -- have been declared null and void by the provincial tribunal of Burgos in Castile and León. "We still don't know how this is going to affect us," says Servando Merino of Boreas Eólica, the developer of both projects. "It's not good news and our lawyers are going to appeal, but any question of dismantling Sía I is too far off -- not to say far fetched -- to consider." Even for the second project, the 14 MW Montejo de Bricia development, Merino is doubtful the tribunal's decision will prevent the final go-ahead. He says the annulment of the licences rests solely on late completion of both projects, which did not meet the deadline contained in the building authorisation granted by the regional government of Castile and León. "Delays in building power lines were unavoidable and the regional government understood this at the time," says Merino. The issue of breached deadlines has been raised by a local environmentalist group Fundación Naturaleza y Hombre working in conjunction with regional wind power watchdog, Mesa Eólica de Castilla y León. Together they have lodged similar cases against a series of wind projects in the region, many of which are already turning. Sía was the first formal case, dating back to 2000. "Resolutions will soon be appearing on other cases," says a Mesa Eólica statement. Furthermore, Sía is one of two operational wind plant involved in litigation with the government of Cantabria, which is calling for annulment of licenses for projects which lie on the border between the two regions (Windpower Monthly, March 2004).
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol