Galicia gets yet another wind plant

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By the end of this month Baz‡n, the Spanish manufacturer of Bonus wind turbine technology, expects to have all 32 turbines up and running at the Virxe do Monte wind plant in Spain's northern region of Galicia. This 19.2 MW plant is the fourth to be entirely supplied by Baz‡n-Bonus and, as with the previous three, is the work of up and coming wind developer Terranova. Baz‡n-Bonus has now installed 83.4 MW of wind capacity in Spain, consisting of 139 Baz‡n-Bonus Mk IV (600 kW) machines.

In 1997, Danish manufacturer Bonus signed over exclusive rights to Baz‡n to manufacture its technology in Spain. Since then, Baz‡n, a 50-year old Spanish company traditionally dedicated to naval shipbuilding and other areas of heavy industry, has supplied turbines solely to developments in Galicia. Indeed, two further projects in the company's pending tray are also in Galicia and will bring Baz‡n's combined wind installations in Spain to 110.4 MW. One is a 24.6 MW plant at A Runa, also developed by Terranova, due for completion this month. The other is a 2.4 MW addition to a demonstration plant in Sotavento, Galicia, which when complete in February will have a capacity of the 15.4 MW.

Baz‡n's Marta Cuartero says activity is concentrated in Galicia because it is the company's home region and so far has been the scene of greatest wind development in Spain. This is hardly surprising, given the steady winds of 9 m/s on its highest and less environmentally sensitive grounds. The state run energy diversification body, IDAE (Instituto para la Diversificacion y Ahorro de la Energia), expects some 588 MW to be installed in the region this year out of the 2750 MW total wind power it estimates will be developed by 2010.

Cuartero also points to Galicia's thorough and far reaching strategic wind power plan, which dates back to 1995, as a contributory factor to the region's wind power success. With Baz‡n's wind division being based in Galicia, together with its more than 100 employees, the company benefits from the regional government's rules that wind development must create local employment and wealth. She insists, however, that despite the vast demand in Galicia, Baz‡n has no exclusivity policy in the region. It is studying the potential for supplying turbines to many developments elsewhere.

Turbines to China

Nevertheless, so far Baz‡n's only customer outside Galicia is China. It has won contracts to supply ten 600 kW MK IV turbines to each of the wind farms of Dongsham and Pingtan. These plant are expected to be up and running by March and will bring Baz‡n's installed capacity up to a total of 122.4 MW (204 machines).

As far as new and larger models are concerned Baz‡n is confident that it will soon be receiving orders for the Bonus 1.3 MW turbines, to be commercialised in Spain under the Baz‡n-Bonus name -- although none have yet been manufactured in Spain. So far Bonus has installed 13, 1.3 MW turbines as part of total orders to supply 50 units to different developments throughout Germany by January 2000.

Back in Spain, Marta Cuartero holds that larger turbines will be required for new developments in environmentally sensitive areas or areas that have already been extensively developed. In Galicia, for example, as wind farms are forced to occupy geographically lower sites, with winds of 6.5-7 m/s, fewer machines of higher capacity will be needed in order to attenuate environmental and visual impact.

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