Portuguese wind industry on course to break 1000 MW barrier

Portugal's wind industry is on course to well and truly break the 1000 MW barrier before the end of 2005. The country now has 944 MW installed, most of it online, though with some still undergoing tests prior to connection, reports Porto University's Insituto da Engenharia Mecanica e Gestao Industrial (INEGI). A further 763 MW is either building or with final permits. The projects are also big by any standards. INEGI identifies six wind clusters in excess of 100 MW, including one in Coimbra region where 250 MW is either up or building. Portugal is also making good use of multi-megawatt turbine technology. During 2005 the average unit capacity of new turbines coming online is over 2 MW, pushed up by 26, Vestas 3 MW machines installed at the 78 MW Candeeiros plant by developer Enersis, the renewables affiliate of the Secil/Semapa cement group. The trend will continue. Vestas is currently supplying 78 units of the same machine to new developments across the country, including the 111 MW Pampilhosa plant in Coimbra, also by Enersis, and the 54 MW Alvelos Pinhal project, being built by Generventos do Pinhal Interior, Energias Renováveis. The company is owned by Generg, a small-hydro power developer and a well established player on the Portuguese wind scene, with 15% of the market. Despite the string of Vestas orders, German wind turbine supplier Enercon continues to lead the market, powering 29% of operating capacity, 32% if new contracts are included. Vestas follows with 23% of online capacity, 26% if projects under way are included. Heading the developer field is traditionally top operator Enersis, which holds 30% of online capacity, 29% if new licenses are included. For a brief period, Enersis ran neck and neck with Enernova, the wind developing wing of utility monopoly EDP, but has pulled ahead again. Portugal has set a wind target of 4400 MW by 2010, with the government driving the market by fixing a lucrative wind power tariff.

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