Firm foothold secured in Spain -- Aragón 235 MW

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Danish turbine manufacturer NEG Micon has finally brought online the first 185 MW of its 235 MW La Muela-La Plana project in Spain's Aragón region. A further 39 MW awaits connection, while still more turbines are being erected. The project belongs entirely to NEG Micon via its Spanish division NEG Micon Unipersonal. The company expects to bring all of the remaining 50 MW online by November.

As of today, 524 MW of NEG Micon turbines are operating in Spain, with turbines distributed through the regions of Aragón (311 MW), Galicia (163 MW), Castile and León (44 MW) and Andalucia (6 MW). The company has also clinched supply agreements for Castile-La Mancha and La Rioja and it expects still more orders following recently approved wind regulation in Catalonia, where it has its head office.

The latest Aragón developments are 600 metres above sea level on two high plateaus -- La Muela and La Plana -- towering either side of the regional capital, Zaragoza. "Winds aren't what they are in Galicia region but they're good nonetheless," says NEG Micon's Spanish development boss, Luis Monge. When all 313 NEG Micon 750 kW turbines are up and running, annual production will be around 528,000 MWh, according to company projections. The projects are being developed at a cost of EUR 211.2 million.

"It's been eight years of hard slog," says Monge. La Muela-La Plana was first conceived in 1994, though processing began a year later. For its efforts NEG Micon has won the Amador Oliden Pérez prize, awarded by the regional college of industrial engineers to the region's most creative industrial projects.

Hard slog

Monge could not agree more with the term "creative," he says. "In 1994 nobody knew which way the wind was blowing for the industry. On top of that we had to deal with national and regional administrations as well as land lease agreements."

Negotiation for five substations and 43 kilometres of high tension power line were also "extremely complex" and tested the company's staying power, adds Monge. NEG Micon is producing the turbines for La Muela-La Plana at its Aragón facility, which has so far supplied over half of the region's installed capacity total of 567 MW. But the company is also the region's dominant developer with two strategic plans totalling 922 MW approved by the regional government. A third plan for a further 500 MW is currently on hold at the regional industry department while it sorts out grid improvement requirements for new plans.

Last year the department approved the region's first grid improvement plan, the Plan de Evacuación de Régimen Especial en Aragón (PEREA), to feed in wind capacity totalling 1500 MW (Windpower Monthly, November 2001). Under the plan NEG Micon clinched the largest concession of all regional wind developers with 422 MW, not including La Plana-La Muela. "The PEREA guarantees the company a strong presence in the region," confirms Monge.

Regarding NEG Micon's long standing affirmation that it aims to reduce any participation in plant ownership to a maximum of 5% Monge is more cryptic: "In such a dynamic sector, decisions on wind plant participation are adopted according to the circumstances in each case. To mention a concrete figure might not reflect reality." Whether this means that NEG Micon is on the scent of business opportunities in plant operation remains to be seen.

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