Italian firm favours Spanish suppliers -- Delivery of 200 MW secured

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Italy's Veronagest, a relative newcomer to the country's wind business, has turned to Spanish turbine producer Gamesa for a string of wind projects in southern Italy. Veronagest is paying EUR 205 million for 136 Gamesa turbines with a combined capacity of 202 MW. The deal is more good news for Gamesa in Italy, which was the leading supplier to the Italian wind market last year.

According to the terms of the deal, Veronagest's Eólica Maridiana unit is buying 26 of Gamesa's 850 kW machines for a 22 MW plant in the province of Palermo in Sicily stretching across land in Marineo and Cefalà Diana. Gamesa will hand over the key once the turbines are up and running.

The turbine supplier will also operate and maintain through 2010 an additional 35 of the Spanish group's 850 kW turbines -- destined for another 29.75 MW plant in Sicily's Palermo province -- and 75 of its 2 MW machines to be used on other projects. Work on both the Sicilian plants has begun, says Luciano Santi of Veronagest, and they are expected to become operational next year.

Veronagest will also soon begin construction work on two other Sicilian wind farms with a combined capacity of 114 MW. The company has not yet decided if it will use Gamesa's 2 MW machines on these projects, but it is also developing a number of other wind farms on which they could be used.

Veronagest, a unit of lender Banca Popolare di Verona e Novara, last year chose another Spanish group for a 70.5 MW plant in Sicily. Barcelona-based Ecotècnia's 1.5 MW turbines have now started to go into the ground at the site in the province of Catania and that plant is expected to be up and running by early 2008. While Veronagest has so far only announced projects in Sicily, it is developing others in the regions of Apulia, Calabria and Campania. Aside from wind energy, Veronagest also has hydroelectric investments in the Czech Republic.

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