Aluminium giant Alcoa urges the Spanish government to speed up permission process for wind farms

AL Circle

According to our report from Europe, the Spain-based works council of Alcoa Corp’s San Ciprian aluminium smelter is pressing the government body to lessen the duration of the permission procedure for new wind energy projects that generate the fodder for the power-consuming facilities.

Alcoa urges Spain's government to speed up permitting for wind farms

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After years of toiling with high electricity bills, prevailing labour disputes and profit losses, Alcoa is now taking time to renovate its plant and get hold of more effective power purchase agreements (PPAs). Its San Ciprian smelter in the Galicia region, northwest Spain will remain downsized until January 2024 to give Alcoa some to restructure its courses. 

The quest for renewable energy PPAs had begun in late December 2021; right after the US aluminium producer signed a new labour agreement to retrench the San Ciprian smelter for two years while providing the employee salaries.

After the council’s scheduled meeting with the smelting unit management, the works council President, Jose Antonio Zan conveyed that Alcoa is also thinking about solar PV as a power yielding option but it is essential to build wind farms and keep them operating for infinite power contracts of the community.

Alcoa agreed upon the initial pact of reserving 2,297 GWh of power each year from new wind farms in the Galicia region with Spanish renewables group Greenalia SA. After this pre-agreement, similar agreements surfaced with developer Capital energy and utility provider Endesa SA the agencies promising to supply wind energy from projects based in the Galicia region.

Among the three, only Greenalia could proceed to make its pre-agreement into a PPA, proposing to supply 183 MW of wind power until the end of 2023 to meet 45% of the smelter’s need in San Ciprian.

Antonia Zan and the workers are now committed to promoting more wind projects so that the plant might secure stable long-term power prices by 2024 when resumes its production.

During the end of May, the Alcoa San Ciprian works for the council discussed with Galicia’s regional government about wind energy permitting and other issues that the plant was facing. The government’s statement then assured that it could fast track projects meeting the environmental requirements of indulging 50% of their power production for industrial activities in the Galicia region. Anyhow, permitting power projects of 50 MW and above is under the jurisdiction of the central government of Spain.

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The regional government is definitive about the PPAs as a solution yet points out that the region requires a proper energy framework catering to the need of the energy-intensive industry.

Alcoa is presently dwelling with the companies with which it has signed the pre-agreements and is also scheduling meetings with other suppliers, as was quoted by the local media outlet La Voz de Galicia from a released company statement. The media outlet specified that there was no mention of deals with PV power suppliers.

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