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30 September 2010

Spanish windmill makers tilt overseas

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Spain's economic crisis is sucking the air out of the windmill business
Once a booming sector of the Spanish energy industry, manufacturers now face an uncertain outlook for demand and state subsidies, industry leaders say.

Increasingly, windmill manufacturers are tilting for business in countries such as Scotland, China and Brazil.

"The inadequate regulatory framework, the plunge in energy demand and the difficult financial conditions have created a climate that has pushed Spanish business to accelerate development internationally so as to survive," said Jose Donoso, president of the Association of Windmill Businesses.

In just the past few weeks:

-- On August 27, the Iberdrola energy group, the world's number one producer of wind energy, won a contract to build nine windmill parks in Brazil.

-- On September 13, the group launched a 4.8-billion-euro (6.5-billion-dollar) investment plan in the United Kingdom, mostly in Scotland, up to 2012.

-- On September 14, Gamesa, one of the world's leading windmill manufacturers, decided to triple investments in China from 2010-2012.

The flight overseas could place at risk Spain's position as the world's fourth largest producer of windmill energy, which accounted for 12.5 percent of its energy in 2009 fuelled largely by a policy of active support in recent years.

Windmills stretch across large sweeps of the Spanish landscape, providing a dramatic reminder of the investment to travellers.


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