Wind lobby challenge in Galicia may result in two-year market freeze

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A potential two-year freeze faces project developers in Spain's mighty wind power region of Galicia, brought about by their own planned legal challenge of a new regulation proposed by the regional government. While the government has backed down on a controversial proposal to force developers to hand over 10% of all new projects to public ownership (Windpower Monthly, June 2007), its latest draft of the regulation says it will look favourably on offers to hand over a share of ownership to local communities when appraising projects for planning permission. If the regulations come into force, Iñigo Muniozgurren of the Galician Wind Association (EGA) says developers will seek legal redress, even if it means a two-year market hiatus. EGA cites a report on the draft law by the government's own judicial body, stating public ownership in the liberalised generation sector cannot legally form part of project processing criteria. Muniozgurren also says the draft regulation removes 300 MW of development rights already granted under the existing law -- and would instead favour new developments from less experienced companies. The current law, in place since 1995, granted 3500 MW of development rights to a dozen selected developers. The new law instead clears the way for 2500 MW of new projects to 2010, in addition to the 2700 MW already online and a further 500 MW authorised. The government has vowed to pass the new law by year's end.

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