BILBAO, Spain (Reuters) – Spanish renewable energy company Acciona Energia on Tuesday estimated factory gate costs for wind turbines will fall by 20 percent in three years, a factor the wind power industry says is crucial to their future

“Costs will come down as manufacturing picks up in places like China and Korea,” Esteban Morras, chief executive of renewable energy firm Acciona Energia told reporters.

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“But ultimately it depends on demand. We manufacture thousands of units a year, whereas others, like the auto industry, are in the millions,” he told a renewable energy conference.

Wind power developers at a Madrid conference on Monday said that turbine costs had to come down, especially when the future of subsidies was unclear.

“The price (of turbines) could clearly come down. At a time of excess demand, the price of the machine itself has gone up 20 percent,” director for Spanish power company Endesa’s renewable energy division Fernando Ferrando said on Monday.

Spain is the world’s third-largest producer of wind energy, behind Germany and the United States, with about 17,000 megawatts of installed power, which provide some 11 percent of the country’s electricity.

The current subsidy scheme for wind power is due to expire in 2012. Producers say a new law enacted last month did not specify whether new wind farms will receive aid after 2010, when total capacity is expected to reach government targets of 20,150 MW.

Producers say Spain will need 45,000 MW of wind power — 5,000 MW off shore — installed by 2020 to reach European Union targets for renewable sources to supply 20 percent of energy consumption.

Source: Reuters

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