Spain Mulls Offshore Wind Farms

Farms will help Spain meet goal of producing 20% of power production from renewable energy sources by 2020.

As a way to boost its use of renewable energy sources, Spain is looking at building several offshore wind parks along its vast coastline, an industry ministry spokesman said April 24. The government plans to table a law to allow wind turbines to be built offshore before the end of the year and it will then identify the best places where they can be installed, he said. Though more expensive than land-based wind farms, offshore wind parks can take advantage of stronger, steadier coastal breezes.

"This will clearly help Spain to meet the European goal of producing 20% of power production from renewable energy sources by 2020," he said.

But critics fear the parks, which would be located three miles from the coast, would blot the landscape and hurt fishing. Spain has some 4,000 kilometers of coastline which draw millions of sun seekers each year.

The possibility of setting up offshore wind parks in the southern coastal Cadiz region of southwestern Spain has already been studied and it is a likely candidate to receive one of the nation's first such facilities.

The Netherlands opened its first major offshore wind farm earlier this month and several similar projects are in the works for Britain, Germany and the United States.

Spain, which along with Germany and Denmark, is among the three biggest producers of wind power in the 27-nation EU, plans to triple the amount of energy it derives from renewable sources by 2020.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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