Distributed wind plants of three or four turbines each developed by small municipal authorities could soon be a reality for Castile-La Mancha. In October, the regional government promised regulation this year for fast tracking and subsidising such projects. Although there is still no draft document, the small municipality of San Pedro, with a population of under 1400, has taken the regional government at its word and has already lodged an application for a 1 MW wind project. The town hall is currently in the process of contracting wind measuring studies to verify resource potential. It is also setting up a developing consortium and aims to offer 50% control of the plant to a private developer. Part of the town hall's own 50% will eventually be offered to local shareholders. Castile-La Mancha is Spain's second largest producer of wind power, with over 1000 MW online. This has put a heavy strain on regional transport lines and large projects, totalling thousands of megawatts, are being held up pending further grid improvements. The plan to promote small municipal plants -- which emulates existing regulation in Galicia region -- aims to take advantage of under-exploited, low capacity distribution lines in order to help nudge the region towards its 4000 MW wind power target. Municipal plants will involve locals more directly in wind power, possibly helping to reduce any opposition from conservationist and neighbourhood organisations. Local wind power development "is undoubtedly a matter that will interest almost all of Castile-La Mancha's municipalities," says San Pedro mayor Gonzalez Cabrera.
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