Conflicting reports on sales agreement -- Gamesa strikes deal with Japanese

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Spanish wind giant Gamesa has announced the second deal to tie its strategic disposal of operating wind plant to a supply agreement for wind turbines from Gamesa Eólica, its turbine making division. The deal is with a Japanese joint venture comprising J-Power -- the commercial name for utility Electric Power Development Company (EPDC) -- and industrial group Marubeni Corporation.

The two Japanese firms take full control of a Gamesa special-purpose affiliate, Sistemas Energéticos Cando (SEC), together with its 62 MW of installed capacity in Spain's northern region of Galicia. Gamesa quotes the plant purchase at just over EUR 74 million.

The deal also commits the Japanese partners to buying at least 257 MW of Gamesa Eólica turbines for developments around the world, at least according to Gamesa. Marubeni's Hiroshi Toyoshima, however, says the purchase of turbines are just "possible plans." Gamesa has since confirmed that, "the turbine deal is firm even though no plant location, price or time-scales have been specified." Gamesa also confirms the deal is "completely independent" of an agreement late last year transferring Gamesa Eólica trading rights to Japanese engineering firm Toshiba.

Gamesa says the deal represents another major step not only in its international expansion program but also in its new strategy of selling off completed wind plant. Gamesa's first sales went to Spanish utility Iberdrola last year, culminating in a landmark agreement in October. The deal not only scheduled the hand-over of plant totalling 982 MW but also sealed a 1100 MW turbine supply deal (story page 66) for Iberdrola developments. Subsequently, Gamesa Energía has also sold projects, yet to be built, totalling 456 MW to Belgian utility Electrabel in Portugal and Italy. Gamesa's Italian activity includes a recent order for 181 MW from Italian utility ENEL.

Toyoshima says that Marubeni has experience as an independent power developer, with 5000 MW in operation around the world, and EPDC is well versed in electricity and wind power. The Gamesa deal is Marubeni's first venture into the overseas market, but it operates three small plant in Japan with a combined capacity of 32.5 MW and is developing two further projects of 13 MW and 4.5 MW.

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