Megawatt turbines enter market -- Contracts galore

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Spain is becoming fertile ground for large wind turbines despite the complications of transporting them over complex and mountainous terrain. The latest to join the trend -- and the first Spanish company to do so -- is Made Tecnologías, the turbine manufacturing arm of utility Endesa. It entered the new year with its Medina del Campo factory turning out its new 1.32 MW model, the AS 61, a considerable leap in size from Made's 660 kW workhorse.

The first Made AS 61 turbines are destined for the 18.5 MW Sierra del Cortado project in Castile and León being developed by Parque Eólico Sierra del Madero, which is part owned by both Endesa's renewable energy division, Ecyr, and by the renewables affiliate of utility Hidrocantábrico, Sinae. Sierra del Cortado is set to become the third plant in Spain to use machines rated above 1 MW. At more than 1200 metres above sea level, it is also among the highest wind farms built on the Iberian Peninsula. Made says it has adapted the turbines for Sierra del Cortado to optimise production in the site's extreme winter conditions and lower than average air density.

Nordex's 1.7 MW Cabeço Alto plant in Portugal is the only other plant built above 1000 metres in the region. It was also Nordex that first put up megawatt machines in Spain, at the 19.5 MW Desaguila plant using 1.3 MW turbines (Windpower Monthly, December 2001). Enron Wind is also putting up 79, 1.5 MW machines in Navarra for Energía Hidroeléctrica de Navarra, the largest wind plant operator in Spain.

Danish machines

Meantime, Gamesa Eólica is to supply 50, 2 MW units to Wind Iberica's project in Tarifa and is currently putting up a V-80 2 MW prototype for Corporación Eólica in Castile and León. Danish owned Wind Ibérica is also negotiating an order for 60 turbines from NEG Micon, the majority rated at 2 MW. NEG Micon has not announced any further orders for megawatt machines but confirms it has put up a 1.5 MW prototype in Castile and León.

Apart from its new Desaguilas plant, Nordex has gained approval to build 48 MW in Catalonia using 1.3 MW turbines, though grid problems are keeping the brakes on construction. Nordex also clinched an agreement in 2000 to supply 2 MW machines to Eólic Partners' massive 120 MW Coll de Moro development in Catalonia, still pending approval, and has at least two agreements for supply of megawatt scale turbines in Castile La Mancha. The company is to supply German affiliate WindSolar with "between 30 and 50" 2.5 MW turbines, while Japan's Mitsui has reserved around 27, 1.5 MW machines.

Enron Wind has sealed contracts for 145, 1.5 MW machines. Apart from the 79 machines for EHN, a further 66 go to DerRioja for two developments in the small northern province of La Rioja. Enron has also tied much of its fortunes up in Valencia with a 492 MW plan from Sinae in which it earmarks the use of 95 Enron 1.5 MW turbines together with 408, 900 kW units. The choice of the smaller turbine is to cope with sites in complex terrain.

Meanwhile, all other Spanish suppliers have developed their own megawatt technology (table), while a chain of non-Spanish manufacturers is waiting in the wings to supply their big turbines -- perhaps most notably Enercon of Germany. Most of these companies are waiting on approval of strategic development plans put forward by developers for approval under new regional regulation laws, especially in Castile la Mancha, Castile and León, Valencia, Murcia and Catalonia.

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