Spanish grid operator Red Eléctrica de España (REE) is warning that small wind plant operators are dangerously behind schedule for meeting new rules for dispatch centres. By December 24 they must funnel their output through centralised control centres, provide real-time production data to REE and demonstrate they can ride-through faults on the grid without dropping off line, says the company's Miguel Duvisón. Large corporate and utility operators, such as Iberdrola, Endesa, Unión Fenosa, Acciona, Enerfin and Prenea, running about 80% of Spain's installed capacity, have already set up dispatch centres, but "others have yet to act," says Duvisón. While there are no direct economic penalties for non-compliance, only through centralised control of power dispatch can Spain meet its target of 21 GW of wind power without jeopardising security of supply, claims Duvisón. As well as possibly slowing down the issue of grid connection permits, the lack of dispatch centres means REE might forcibly pull the plug on small operators if there is any danger of congestion on the grid, he warns. Without real-time precision control, REE cannot guarantee security of supply and will not take risks. Duvisón says it would be "unfair" to use dispatch centres for spot curtailment of operators who have complied with the rules, while those who have ignored them carry on producing. REE has established its own Renewable Energy Control Centre (CECRE) to offer dispatch control services to companies, but many operators say it is too expensive. CECRE requires supervisory control and data acquisition equipment to be installed at each individual wind farm's grid connection point. Several small operators say they are considering a cheaper interim alternative, which would involve aggregating production within neighbouring dispatch centres run by large operators.
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