Spanish majors split Valencia spoils -- Enercon plans affected

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Acciona and Elecnor -- who joined forces in 2002 to form their Guadalaviar wind development joint venture in the now booming wind market of Valencia on Spain's eastern seaboard -- have agreed a parting of the ways, with assets being divided between them. Guadalaviar had been sitting on a 674 MW wind development concession in Valencia for the past four years, having won one of five concessions totalling 2300 MW awarded by the regional government in 2003. Under the divorce agreement, Acciona comes away with 318 MW of the concession and Elecnor takes 356 MW.

The split directly affects the fortunes in Spain of German wind turbine manufacturer Enercon. To meet the Valencia government's 70% local content mandate, Guadalaviar had teamed up with Enercon before bidding for the concession. The bid included a pledge from Enercon that it would build its first Spanish factory in Valencia. While Elecnor is sticking with Enercon for its 356 MW share of projects, Acciona says it plans to use its own 1.5 MW machines for its share, which it expects to start building at the end of the year with a view to completion in 2010.

As a result, Enercon is expected to downgrade its planned industrial presence from the fully-fledged generator and nacelle facility to producing components and plant services for machines imported from Germany. While Enercon declines to comment, a spokesman at Elecnor's renewables affiliate, Enerfin, says: "We're not at liberty to specify Enercon's exact plans but we can confirm it will be providing its latest 2 MW E-82 model and will integrate local suppliers and resources." From a base in Valencia, Enercon will cover its activities in the Mediterranean basin, according to Enerfin, which has used Enercon technology both for its 150 MW Osorio wind farm in Brazil and its 129 MW Faro-Farelo complex in the Spanish region of Galicia.

Enerfin intends to build out Elecnor's 356 MW fallout from the divorce in stages and will "stagger building on the first 169 MW over the next three months." The rest will follow progressively, with completion scheduled for 2012.

"The break up was long in the coming," says Luis Merino of renewables publication Energías Renovables. "Both companies were middling wind players when they initially formed Guadalaviar. But a lot of water has passed under the bridge since." Back in 2002, Acciona was primarily a construction and logistics company, operating a sideline wind division called Alabe, which had shares in around 200 MW of wind capacity. But in 2005 it bought the leading wind developer in Spain, Energías Hidroeléctricas de Navarra (EHN), and now says it is the world's largest wind developer, having completed 4357 MW across ten countries, 3133 MW of which it now still owns.

Acciona's purchase of EHN meant it also acquired 50% ownership of Valencian developer Renomar, which landed the largest of the five 2003 concessions, at 846 MW. This concession is now also the region's most developed, with over 300 MW commissioned since building began in mid-2006. All Renomar capacity is tied to using turbines from Acciona Windpower, which last year opened a turbine facility in Valencia. In all, Acciona now has two factories in Spain, one in China and another planned for the US this year.

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