Orders for direct drive turbines -- New thinking in Spain

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Two as yet minor Spanish wind turbine manufacturers specialising in turbines without gearboxes, Eozen and MTorres, have together scored orders for a combined capacity of 200 MW for their home market. The choice of technology in which a low speed generator is directly driven by the rotor has as much to do with customers looking for simplicity as the shortage of conventional turbines in a market where demand is outstripping supply, says Juan Ramón Jiménez from MTorres. "You only have to look inside the nacelle; it's simplicity itself; no complex, vulnerable gearbox with all those fast moving parts that have caused so much maintenance and retrofit trouble," he says. Jiménez was formerly boss of turbine maker Gamesa.

The bigger of the two agreements was secured by Eozen, a EUR 180 million, 120 MW deal that nearly triples the volume of all orders so far. The 80, 1.5 MW turbines with permanent magnet generators are to be supplied over the next three years to Spanish developer Enerpal for projects in the Palencia province of north-central Castile and León.

Eozen started turbine production last year, at Ferreira in the Andalucían province of Granada. Its turbines are made under a licence from Germany's Vensys. Eozen says more orders are being negotiated, but declines to name the potential customers. In June, Iberdrola boss Ignacio Galán said he planned to use Eozen machines for at least part of a 300 MW extension of the utility's 198 MW Marquesado de Zenete plant of Gamesa machines running next to Eozen's Ferreira factory. Iberdrola has already ordered 15 MW from Eozen. Enerpal is developing a 1000 MW wind portfolio.

MTorres is to deliver 80 MW to Unión Fenosa-Enel Energías Renovables (EUFER), owned by Spanish utility Unión Fenosa and Italian utility Enel, for three projects next year. The orders represent the first step by MTorres towards "industrial scale operations for third parties," says Jiménez. The first 33 MW is for the El Molar project in the Mediterranean region of Murcia, which MTorres developed before selling it to EUFER with a turbine agreement attached. The second deal, for the remaining 55 MW, is for two EUFER projects -- Oencia and Corullón -- in the northern province of León.

Jiménez hopes to be announcing a further deal for 70 MW soon with "an equally large customer."

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