Grid access blocked claim developers -- Catalonia standstill

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An attempt by six developers in Spain's north-eastern region of Catalonia to jointly finance grid connection of 400 MW of new wind capacity proposed for the Terra Alta area of Tarragona province is being cold-shouldered by national grid operator Red Eléctrica de España (REE). A year after lodging the grid interconnection application, the development group, Asociación de Energías Renovables de la Terra Alta, has heard nothing from REE.

The silence is despite support for the EUR 5.3 million grid link from the regional government and from the 13 municipalities along its route. For wind developers, REE's lack of action has become symbolic of the grid operator's foot dragging on wind power. In Catalonia, it is accused of blocking around 1300 MW of wind projects.

The regional government has no direct authority over REE, so it is now applying pressure on the energy ministry in Madrid to take action against the grid operator. If REE is deliberately obstructing grid connection for no good reason, it would be an illegal action. REE declines to comment on the situation.

Catalonia's strategic development plan for wind power amounts to 1000 MW, but no new capacity has come on line since the plan was approved last year. Once a pioneering region, Catalonia now lags near the bottom of Spain's regional wind table with just 98 MW turning.

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