Gestenga, a state company which is acting as an intermediary between power companies, developers and manufacturers, has released a list of seven developers competing for contracts for about 20 wind farms in Galicia. These plans come immediately after announcements by the state utility Endesa of its own extensive development plans for wind power in the same region.

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Major development of Spain's northwestern Galician region by domestic and foreign wind power developers could turn the area into the biggest cluster of wind farms in the European Union by the turn of the century. Plans revealed last month show seven developers -- four from Spain and three foreign firms -- vying to erect a total of 1192 turbines with a combined output of 422.90 MW in the region's Lugo and Corunna provinces. Overall investment is estimated at nearly ESP 71 billion.

The news of this hectic activity in the northwest of Spain comes on the heels of announcements by state utility, Endesa, of its plans for extensive development of wind power in the northeast (Windpower Monthly, September 1994).

A list of seven prospective developers in Galicia has been provided by Gestenga -- a state company which acts as an intermediary between power companies, the regional Galician authorities, developers and manufacturers. On the list are Ecotècnia, Endesa, EEE, Abengoa, and Ecocentive from Spain, SeaWest of the US and Danish utility firm Elsamprojekt in partnerhsip with Nordtank. At least two of the 22 projected wind farms -- at Malpica in Corunna province to be developed by Ecotècnia and at Cariño, also in Corunna, to be developed by Endesa -- are in an advanced stage of planning and expected to be connected to the grid by 1996.

Desarollos Eā€”licos SA, another Spanish firm and closely connected with Abengoa, has presented proposals for eight wind farms with a projected output of more than 200 MW -- half the total 423 MW applied for. The company plans to erect 697 of its still-untested A-300 prototype.

Whether or not all the proposed wind farms get off the ground depends largely on the developers winning access to the grid and power purchase contracts with regional utility Union Eléctica Fenosa. Also pending in the majority of cases are permits for the rent or purchase of the public, private and communal land earmarked for the proposed wind farms.

Room for 1300 MW

But the mere fact that the developers have registered with Gestenga shows they are serious about cornering part of Galicia's large wind potential, estimated at 1300 MW. The Galician authorities are equally serious about developing the region's wind potential. "Galicia has been on the back burner for a long time," says Manuel Lara, managing director of Gestenga, an acronym for Energy Management of Galicia. "Now it would seem that the region has come of age as far as wind power is concerned."

He also believes there will be room for all, even though there have been some casualties as a result of the cut-throat business practices recently adopted by some concerns. Wind turbine manufacturer Nordtank of Denmark and SeaWest of the US have had areas they were prospecting for years wrested from them by one Spanish company. "Nothing illegal was done but the existing gentleman's agreement regarding wind sites on a first come first served basis has been broken," says Lara. Galicia's current output stands at a meagre 3.86 MW, the third largest in Spain after Andalusia in southern Spain (around 30 MW) and the Canary Islands (24 MW).

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