The European Investment Bank is providing EUR 150 million to support investment by Viesgo Generación, SL, a Spanish subsidiary of Italian ENEL. The project involves the construction and operation of a large-scale natural gas-fired combined cycle generating plant located in Escatrón (Zaragoza), in Spain's Aragon region.
The new 800 MWe power plant responds to the objective of the Spanish national energy plan 2002-2011 to increase domestic electricity generation capacity and to expand electricity and gas transport networks. Growth of electricity consumption in Spain has been rapid and is expected to continue. The electricity markets of Spain and Portugal are being merged to create a competitive pan-Iberian market for wholesale electricity, process supported by the EIB through its long term financing activity. The Iberian market is of strategic interest for the ENEL group in its international expansion. In addition to meeting demand at a competitive cost, the use of natural gas will help to diversify fuel supply in power generation and will bring a reduction in the carbon intensity of electricity production.
The combined-cycle technology will reduce pollution and fulfill atmospheric emission limits established by EU Directives. More efficient technology will allow replacing the existing coal-fired power plant that will cease production as the new plant becomes productive. Emission of air pollutants will diminish, in particular due to the switch from burning coal with high sulphur content to the use of natural gas. Commercial operation is due to start by the end of 2007.