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German utility RWE Energie is considering joining forces with Spanish utility Endesa to develop wind farms in the windy province of Galicia in northwest Spain. The two huge companies, together with a second Spanish utility, Union Electrica Fenosa (UEF), already co-operate on photovoltaics.

So far, however, Endesa has not moved beyond considering sites for wind farms in Galicia. The joint venture is looking to start its wind co-operation with a 16-17 MW development, to eventually be expanded to around 40 MW. No further details have yet been released.

The northwest of Spain is a prime wind region with average wind speeds of some 9 m/s. Together with UEF, Endesa already operates a wind test site at La Coruna in Galicia. The largest turbine there is a German MAN 1.2 MW plant, although the machine has been inoperative for the past six months or so after having been struck by lightning and may have to be dismantled. Endesa is also involved in existing wind power stations in other parts of Spain, at Tarifa and on the Canary Islands.

A formal working relationship between Endesa, Spain's largest utility, and RWE Energie began on May 21, 1992, when the two companies signed a co-operation agreement. The aim was to work together in realising projects in Spain, Germany and elsewhere. About a year later Endesa acquired a 2% stake in RWE's holding company. Long before the formal co-operation began, however, the two companies had already joined forces in the renewables sector. In 1990, together with UEF, Endesa and RWE set up a joint photovoltaic venture, PV Toleda, with each company taking a one third share. The first fruits of this company were celebrated two months ago when PV Toledo brought a 1 MW photovoltaic plant into operation at Toledo. It seems likely that the PV Toledo joint venture could provide a model for future co-operation in the wind sector.

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