Iberdrola Renovables presents its ?Catalonia Wind Power Innovation? project under the regional wind energy tender

The company’s initiative is the most cutting-edge proposal presented in a wind power tender in Spain to date, accompanied by an R&D-based socio-economic plan that will make Catalonia a global benchmark in offshore wind energy.

To develop this project, Iberdrola Renovables signed a number of collaboration agreements with Catalan entities such as Alstom-Ecotecnia and the BSC, the national supercomputing centre.

Iberdrola Renovables, the world’s leading wind power company, and Spain’s leading developer of clean energy sources, aspires to safeguard its unique market position in Catalonia’s latest renewable power expansion

Iberdrola Renovables, the world’s leading wind power company, has presented its bid for 489 megawatts (MW) of wind energy capacity in five of the seven areas designated by the regional government for development as part of its new wind power ambitions.

The company appended to its bid a pioneering socio-economic plan, which it has called Catalonian Wind Power Innovation. This plan is the most avant-garde developed by any renewable power company in Spain to date. The programme, to be largely executed alongside local companies, will make Catalonia a global benchmark in the field of offshore wind power.

Among the most noteworthy agreements already secured by Iberdrola Renovables with local players are those arranged with Alstom-Ecotecnia, the only sector manufacturer with an operating base in Catalonia, for the construction of 82% of the wind turbines to be awarded as part of the tender.

Alstom-Ecotecnia is one of Iberdrola Renovables’ top suppliers worldwide; together, the companies have been developing innovative solutions for more than 10 years, since Alstom supplied the first pieces of equipment for the company’s Badaia wind farm in Álava, Spain.

Indeed, Iberdrola Renovables plans to expand the Whitelee wind farm complex in Scotland, already the biggest in Europe, using Alstom-Ecotecnia technology. With the installation of next-generation Alstom ECO 100 wind turbines, with unit capacity of 3 MW, this wind farm will cement its position as one of the most important renewable energy complexes in the world, with installed capacity of 539 MW.

The Scottish expansion project falls under the umbrella of the master agreements reached between the company and Alstom-Ecotecnia, which include, on top of the planned addition of 217 MW at Whitelee (where 322 MW are already fully operational), supply of equipment for several wind farms in Spain and the UK.

Offshore wind power and the role of R&D

Moreover, with the goal of boosting offshore wind power technology in Spain and abroad, the two companies have agreed to work together on related R&D projects leveraging technology developed by Alstom.

Against this backdrop, both companies have recently signed the so-called Floating Platforms and Offshore Wind Turbines initiative, which entails the development of a floating platform to host the 6 MW offshore turbine currently being developed by Alstom-Ecotecnia at its R&D facility in Barcelona, slated for completion by June 2013.

Under the umbrella of its strategic commitment to the development of offshore wind power in Catalonia Iberdrola Renovables has been supporting the IREC (Catalan Energy Research Institute) since 2009 in its work to develop a test platform -the Zefir Test Station Project- in a bid to advance on research into the specific requirements of this source of power.

Elsewhere, the company is also pursuing a very important initiative with the Barcelona-based BSC (National Supercomputing Centre) designed to improve the layout of onshore wind farms with high turbine density, those installed on physically challenging sites and large-scale offshore wind farms.

Lastly, Iberdrola Renovables has rounded out its pitch for the Catalan wind power tender with initiatives designed to stimulate the use of the electric vehicle at several points throughout the region, as well as opening several interpretation centres, promoting energy savings and efficiency plans and awarding training scholarships in the renewable energy field.

Along these lines, the company has offered to implement in Catalonia its most successful educational initiative to date: its energy classrooms. These centres will provide visitors – schools, associations, etc. – with practical information on the key characteristics of renewable energy. The company has already installed five of these classrooms across Spain.

The leading player in Spain

Iberdrola Renovables is the leading developer of renewable energy in Spain, with installed capacity of 5,593 MW at the end of September 2010. The company aspires to safeguard its unique position in Catalonia’s latest renewable power expansion.

The company has 5,199 MW of wind power capacity at 178 wind farms. It also has 342 MW of small-scale hydro capacity in Spain, 50 MW at the solar thermal plant in Puertollano, Ciudad Real, and 2 MW at its first forestry biomass power plant in Corduente, Guadalajara.

One of the main factors that make the projects undertaken by Iberdrola Renovables stand out is the promotion of local job creation. Ninety per cent of the people operating the company’s wind farms in Spain (where the headcount has jumped from 50 to close to 800) come from the towns where the facilities have been developed, while almost half of the jobs generated in Spain have been created in rural areas.

It is worth noting that in the last three years alone, the company’s business operations have generated over 15,000 indirect jobs nationwide. Furthermore, since 2001 more than 3,000 companies, most of which are local, have collaborated with Iberdrola Renovables in Spain.

With operations in 23 countries, Iberdrola Renovables is the world leader in its sector by both installed capacity (12,006 MW at the end of the third quarter of 2010) and output (18,091 million kWh in the first nine months of 2010).