Special report by Technology Review (MIT) on the Spanish wind industry
A complete rundown of the latest developments and technologies in the Spanish wind power industry may be found in a new special by Technology Review. The report (by Cynthia Graber) may be downloaded as a pdf file here.
It tries to catch up with the fast evolution of the wind industry in Spain in the last two years, characterised by a dramatic growth. Installed capacity in the country doubled in only three years, from 2003 to 2006, and is expected to double again by 2010. Spanish companies rank in the world’s top 10 among both wind-farm operators and turbine manufacturers.
In the time since the last report took a look at things, the sector has matured. Legislators and companies have learned how to deal succesfully with the challenges of integrating such a large proportion of wind power into the system. Wind forecasting, a problem for grid operators everywhere, has been taken very seriously by wind farm operators in Spain, that need to give accurate predictions to the grid or risk paying penalties. This has led to Spanish companies taking the lead in microsite prediction. Real-time control centers make thing easier for operators, allowing them to manage wind farms that may be located all around the world, through fiber-optic channels and by satellite.
A great advantage for turbine and component manufacturers in Spain is having infrastructures such as the ones available at the Center for Renewable Energy Research (CENER). The Wind Turbine Test Laboratory (LEA) in Navarra, for instance, is a unique installation, the largest facility of its kind in the world.
Companies may test there all their components (Blades, Powertrains, Electrical, Nacelles, compound materials) as well as perform field tests in an outdoor experimental wind farm.
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