Case study in Spain
LA MORERA DEL MONTSANT WIND FARM
|1. Geographical situation, origin and context of the project
La Morera de Montsant is located at the Montsant mountain area (Priorat Comarca). Since a year ago, the main part of this area is protected as Natural Park. In this area, four years ago started a big controversy when some big developers announced big wind projects in the Priorat Comarca.
The small wind project of La Morera de Montsant started in June 2nd, 2000, when a group of small rural villages mayors approached Dr. Josep Puig, at the end of a public debate about wind energy in Reus (Tarragona, South Catalonia). They asked for help because there were many wind energy projects in their villages and they didnt have any capacity to deal with. Also they were worried about the opposition organised by outsiders not living in the villages and about the lack of support from Regional Administration.
The initiative was a real convergence between maunicipalitys mayors, worried about big wind projects to be developed in their municipalities, and a small group of people interested to push small wind project at local level.
This has been the beginning of a process to make it possible to start a new kind of wind project: a small wind project (3 wind machines of 750 kW each), owned by local people. This decision has been made after discussing deeply with La Morera de Montsant local residents. The municipality organised some meetings with local residents. The municipality asked Ecoserveis to act as a consultant and to provide public information to local residents. The process started in Autumn 2000 and the last meeting took place on June 22nd, 2000, when it was presented the project to install a 40 m. higth wind measurement tower.
The small wind farm will be located at less than 1 km distance from the village of La Morera de Montsant, just near the main local road and not far from the medium voltage line.
2. Legal Frame and investment schemes
The project will consist in organising a wind cooperative to manage the wind project inviting local residents to own shares in it. Because La Morera de Montsant is a small village (only 100 inhabitants), other residents in the neighbourhood villages will be invited to join the project, which, in addition, will have an innovative social approach. The goal is to involve people living outside the area (for example, in other cities in Catalonia), who wants to practice a new form of solidarity from urban to rural areas (investing in local wind projects for rural sustainable development), but without having decision power over the project. The decision power will remain on local residents.
Both the municipality and the majority of local residents are interested to be partners of the project. Also other people, living outside the area expressed their interest to be part of the project.
Ecoserveis, acting as consultant for the municipality, asked three wind manufactures in Spain to provide a offer to build the 2,25 MW wind farm. After analysing the offers received, finally it was decided to accept the Ecotècnia offer. The total cost of the project will be: 1,731,606 Euros (770 Euros/kW), as a turn key project.
The project will be developed using the common financial approach used in Spain (70% bank loan 30% equity). A contact has been made by Ecoserveis with Triodos Spain (a Dutch bank now starting operation in Spain) and it is interested with the project. The subscription of shares will be opened when the results of wind measurements will be available. In the case that all of the shares will not be sold, the wind developing company Vendaval (Mondragon and Ecotècnia) will buy the remaining shares.
3. The consultation process
The consultation process started in spring 2001 with a meeting held in the town hall, attended by more than 20 local residents. In it, people from Ecoserveis explained the basics of wind energy, showing projects around the world and focusing on the Danish local experiences of financing wind projects. At the end of the meeting, local residents expressed the interest to explore the feasibility to develop a small wind farm near the village.
In April 2002, the Municipality of la Morera de Montsant signed an agreement with Ecoserveis. With this agreement, Ecoserveis will help the municipality to make possible the use of a local resource, the wind, to create local wealth in a sustainable way. It comprises not only consultancy with wind measurements, wind technology, etc. but also the social process to involve local people in the wind farm ownership.
4. Difficulties encountered
In June 2002 a tower was erected to make wind measurements in the selected site. The chosen location was at 1 km distance from the village, just near the local road, at less than 500 m. distance from the electricity medium voltage line (15 kV) and not far from the transforming station (15 kV 220 V), supplying the village. But during the second month of measurements (August 2002) the tower was knocked off by opponents to the project and the registering equipment was stolen.
The project was slowed down because at fall 2002 the political scenario started to move: local elections (May 2003) and regional elections (November 2003). Now (February 2004), it has been agreed to install a new measurement tower (protected against vandalism) and to organise, at the same time, a public event with support from local residents, inviting regional politicians.
5. Solutions identified
The main solution to these difficulties will be the public expression of a clear political will in favour of wind development from the Government of Catalonia.