Britain's Renewable Energy Systems (RES) has just brought its first Portuguese wind plant on-line. The 10 MW Malhadas-Gois plant in the central Coimbra region consists of 15 Vestas 660 kW turbines and brings Portugal's installed wind capacity to 127 MW. It also adds to RES's portfolio of 680 MW of operating wind plant, or projects under construction, according to the company. "We've been in Portugal for three years now and this is the culmination of a very steep learning curve," says Marc Groves-Raines of RES. He explains that the Portuguese wind market is not an easy one to crack due to complex bureaucracy regarding permitting and grid connection (Windpower Monthly, October 2000). "It is important to make yourself known as a serious contender that can come up with the goods," explains Groves-Raines of the process of obtaining permits from the central directorate general of energy and licences from local authorities. "This was a nice size project for us just to get our toes wet rather than jumping straight in at the deep end," he says. Now RES is in the final stages of permitting for a second 95 MW development, also in the Coimbra region, which the company expects to bring on-line in 2002, having already received a permit for grid connection. Hooking wind plant to the grid has been the major barrier to wind's progress in Portugal, but Groves-Raines believes a new power sector regulatory bill, due to be finalised in the autumn, will open the way to reaching Portugal's 2000 MW wind objective for 2010.
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