Negotiating hairpin bends on steep mountain roads with a turbine blade in tow are among the challenges facing Iberdrola as it installs three wind farms in Spain’s Asturias region that are among the most complex yet seen in the country.
The Spanish developer is building the wind farms on sites at 800-metres of altitude in the mountainous northwestern region where unpredictable weather makes the task even more difficult – terrain it describes, perhaps with some understatement, as “very tricky”.
The 56-metre blades, towers of up to 93-metres and 126-tonne nacelles of the Siemens Gamesa 2.6MW SG114 turbines have to make their way along narrow, single-access roads with near-180 degree bends to reach the sites of the Cordel-Vidural, Capiechamartin and Panondres wind farms, totalling 92MW.
Iberdrola, which aims to add a fourth wind project later, said the effort and its €100m ($118m) of investment will be worth it as part of a transformation of Asturias’ energy mix that could create 1,000 jobs.
The company announced in August that it had been granted approval by the Spanish government to shut down the 355MW Lada coal-fired power station in Asturias, with employees being retrained to perform operations and maintenance work for the four wind farms.
Iberdrola's plan is arguably among the most advanced of the “just transition” programmes mooted in the EU as part of an effort to financially support workers and communities set to lose out through the closure of coal mines and associated industries.