Wind cap in Asturias lifted to over 700 MW

The cap on wind development in Asturias -- a small single province region in the north of Spain -- is due to be lifted from 300 MW to over 700 MW. The regional government and electricity grid controllers are putting the "finishing touches" to a grid improvement plan that will absorb the extra 400 MW by 2005, confirms Javier Mendez of the regional industry department. The region has 75 MW of wind capacity online with a further 45 MW building and 90 MW with initial permits. But there has been no clear signal, until now, for the remaining 61 applications. A moratorium was clamped on new applications in May last year as grid connection applications topped 1000 MW. The plan now is to upgrade an existing 132 kV distribution line in the north west of the region to 400 kV and to provide two large substations, one in Narcea and another in El Palo. The bulk of the investment will come from grid operator Red Eléctrica Esapañola and local distributors Viesgo and Hidrocantábrico, though wind developers will finance new feed-in lines.