Sale allowed through

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The fair trade investigation into Iberdrola's purchase of 982 MW of wind power stations and projects from Gamesa was finally resolved last month. The deal can now go ahead, but a series of restrictions have been placed on related elements of a broader agreement between the two major companies.

The main restriction is that all 1100 MW of wind turbines that Iberdrola is pledging to buy from Gamesa Eólica, together with related O&M services, must be delivered within two years rather than the four initially stipulated. That means Iberdrola must develop a large number of projects in a short time frame, or buy the turbines on spec, or accept that it cannot squeeze as much out of the huge deal as intended.

Iberdrola and Gamesa have waited weeks to hear whether the agreement to align their respective businesses (Windpower Monthly, November 2002) could go ahead while it was scrutinised by the economy ministry's restrictive practices tribunal, Tribunal de Defensa de la Competencia. An initial report from the tribunal's fair trading office, Servicio de Defensa de la Competencia (SDC), expressed concern that Iberdrola's renewables division, IberRenova, would be given an "outstanding position in the sub-sector of renewable energies" while Gamesa's independence would be weakened. The restrictions placed on the deal indicate partial concordance with SDC's report.

The SDC also referred to a three-year old ban on generation acquisition by companies like Iberdrola, which own 20% or more of the national mix. Although the ban is only applicable to the broad power market and not renewables, SDC notes the concern of the national electricity board, Comisión Nacional de Energia (CNE), which points to the trend towards integration of the two markets under one set of rules.

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