The government of Spain's huge southern region of Andalucia is permitting 281 wind projects with a combined capacity of 869 MW -- nearly double Andalucia's existing wind capacity -- to proceed to the next stage of the environmental approval process. Finalisation of avian studies is the main hurdle left, says regional environment boss Fuensanta Coves. All the projects have grid connection permits, but all still require licences from local municipalities. Cumulative capacity in Andalucia now stands at 448 MW, just over 4% of the national total. Ten projects currently building will push the figure to 659 MW, just a third of the way towards the 1800 MW scheduled for end-2006 by the regional government when it granted connections for 2400 MW in 2005. Administrative delays, which have slowed the building of transmission lines to absorb 600 MW are mainly to blame. Nevertheless, over a dozen projects have recently clinched full licences. At the same time, the regional government has launched a campaign called "The Force of the Wind" to inform the municipalities responsible for final building permits of the environmental and local socio-economic benefits of wind.
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