The Spanish wind industry is frustrated over lack of export incentives, strong foreign competition in countries where Spain already has a long-term trading history and lack of clear environmental guidelines.

Lack of export incentives, foreign competition, impact of wind energy on the environment and the ideal turbine model for Spanish sites were some of the key issues addressed last month at a round table discussion between major players in the Spanish wind industry.

Experts at the debate, organised by the government-funded Institute for Energy, Environment and Technological Research (CIEMAT), said a major effort was required to ensure Spain got a fair share of the overseas market, especially in north Africa and Latin America. The government, along with conservative commercial policies, were blamed for the failure to exploit these markets which were likely to be snapped up by foreign competitors despite enjoying a long-term trading history with Spain. The debate heated up over the ongoing controversy regarding avian mortality at Tarifa in southern Spain and conservationists and environmentalists were called on to close ranks so as not to tarnish the image of wind.

Technological aspects were also reviewed, including the most appropriate turbine model for Spain. Opinions were divided over small machines in the 100-200 kW range and the larger 500-600 kW category, especially regarding transport problems in areas where access to sites is difficult.

The debate came at the tail end of a week-long course on The Principles of Wind Power Conversion organised by CIEMAT's Institute for Renewable Energies.

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