Foul play fuss over wind development plans in Cantabria

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The approval by Cantabria of three strategic wind development plans for 136 MW has left another five plans for 391 MW high and dry -- giving rise to cries of foul play and calls for an investigation. The rejected plans include one for 132 MW from Spain's second largest utility, Iberdrola, which controls regional distribution and connection rights. The approvals follow five years of delays which have kept regional installed wind capacity at zero. The concessions go to Iniciativas Eólicas de Cantabria (41 MW), Eólica 2000 (32 MW) and Boreas Eólica (63 MW). The most vehement objection is from Alvaro Fernandez of developer Peña Labra, one of the losing parties. He says general wind measurements for the regional government's wind plan were carried out by Ocysa Medioambiental, an environmental consulting company headed by the boss of Eólica 2000, one of the winners. Fernandez also claims that specific wind measurements have not been carried out in some of the planned sites and that for others readings were taken from measuring towers without permits, rendering them legally worthless. Developers on the losing side are now considering appealing against the concessions, while Luisa Ortiz of the regional opposition socialist party, Partido Socialista Obrero de España, is considering an investigation. She suspects foul play, claiming the successful plans do not have complete Environmental Impact Assessments. "How could six specific sites be favoured above others without full information regarding impact?" she asks. The three wind plans earmark technology not yet used large-scale in Spain: Made's 800 kW turbine and DeWind's 1.250 MW machine.

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