Pressure on Valencia for wind project approvals

Valencia's Generalitat (regional government) has granted initial approval to an 81.2 MW wind project proposed by ECOVASA, 80% owned by Spanish utility Iberdrola via its renewables arm Iberdrola Diversificacion. The rest of ECOVASA belongs to various ceramics manufacturers who have established cogeneration agreements with the utility. ECOVASA intends to invest ESP 9,349 million (EUR 56.19 million) in the project, which is split into two developments, Los Corrales and Moixacre, in the municipality of Morella, Castellon. The split is to avoid the 50 MW limit for eligibility for the premium price for wind kilowatt hours of ESP 11.02/kWh (EUR 0.06/kWh). The supplier of the 123, 660 kW turbines is Gamesa, the Spanish manufacturer of Vestas technology. According to ECOVASA's Antonio Canas, three years of wind measurements at the site, which is 1000 metres above sea level, have established average winds of around 7 m/s. Much of the land is privately owned grazing and Canas says the land owners are "delighted" with ECOVASA's rental fee offers. Most of the land will continue to be used for grazing after the turbines are installed. Canas declines to say how much ECOVASA is paying the farmers. The project still has a long way to go before it obtains final approval. So far only one wind farm has successfully run the full permitting gauntlet in Valencia, the 2.8 MW Bunol development (Windpower Monthly, September 1999). Only a handful of the projects presented to the Generalitat have reached even the lowly stage of "public provision" ("disposicion publica") reached by the ECOVASA proposal, which involves the public announcement of the company's intentions followed by the formal reception of comments and reasons for opposing the project.