From Soria to Atacama, the long trip from the nacelles capital

Madrid / 25 February 2021

Ágreda, a village of around 3,000 inhabitants in Soria, in the middle of Spain, is one of the hubs for Siemens Gamesa's global wind turbine production. This is where a nacelle assembly plant is located. From here, the nacelles, which are the heart of a turbine, are transported halfway around the world via the Port of Bilbao. The last nacelles assembled in the factory are already on their way to the Port of Huasco, Chile, to be installed in the Atacama region, a journey that will last almost two months and cover over 15,000 kilometres.
Communication Manager South Europe & Africa
The Cabo Leones III project in northern Chile, one of the largest wind power complexes in the Andean country at 600 MW, is a good example of the leading role played by the Ágreda plant in Siemens Gamesa's industrial production and of the complexity of many of the company's projects, with components sourced from different parts of the world.
The last nacelles assembled are already on their way to Chile
This one of the many projects located outside Spain that are manufactured at Ágreda. In fact, just over 70% of the around 400 nacelles assembled at the Soria facility every year are destined for wind farms outside Spain. During the last year the units produced in Ágreda were sent to wind farms in America - the United States and Chile - and Europe - France, Poland, Greece, Turkey, Denmark and Portugal -.
Siemens Gamesa has six nacelle plants worldwide, but Ágreda is the only one, along with Tianjin, in China, that produces for overseas markets, making the Spanish plant a true export hub and, in the wind industry sector, one of the most important nacelle plants in Europe.
According to Pedro Jaray, plant manager of Ágreda, "one of the big challenges of nacelle assembly is to manage the production plan according to the delivery schedule of the supply chain. The plant works with a methodology in which the components needed for assembly must arrive just in time so that the production line does not stop, and the planned schedule is met. Coordination of the entire team is key to ensure delivery of projects on-time."
340 million euros purchased from suppliers
The main components – gearboxes and generators - come from Siemens Gamesa plants in different parts of Spain including the Basque Country, Burgos, Cantabria, Valencia and Madrid. On top of that, there are other components served by different suppliers, most of them Spanish. In the last financial year, Ágreda, which employs 180 people, had nearly 300 suppliers that invoiced Siemens Gamesa 340 million euros, underlining the plant’s importance to the activity and employment of many other companies.
"Adding to the complexity of managing the challenging production schedule is the fact that we produce all the onshore turbine models that Siemens Gamesa has currently on the market, and we assemble the nacelles to the specifications of each customer and each project," adds Jaray.
Apart from the models currently produced at the Ágreda plant, serial production of the nacelles for Siemens Gamesa's new SG 5.X platform, among the most powerful in the world, will soon be added.
The nacelle prototype has been manufactured and tested in Ágreda and serial production will begin in the coming months. 
Over 70% of the around 400 nacelles assembled at the Soria facility every year are destined for wind farms outside Spain

The plant has already been assigned several of the projects signed with the new platform in Sweden.
Siemens Gamesa's managing director for Spain, Enrique Pedrosa, points out that "activity in Ágreda is secured thanks to the SG 5.X projects. The mass production of these new wind turbines will also boost the manufacture of gearboxes and electrical components that are produced in the eight plants we have in Spain, which employ more than 1,000 people."

Bilbao, Siemens Gamesa's gateway in Spain
The fact that most of production from Ágreda is exported has a positive effect on the activity of the Port of Bilbao. Most of the nacelles are shipped from here and Siemens Gamesa has its own space of 150,000 m2. Last year's figures speak for themselves for Siemens Gamesa's dynamism in Bilbao, with around 1,400 special transports in trucks - nacelles, towers, blades, hubs and drivetrains - and 58 ships.
Most of production from Ágreda is exported and has a positive effect on the activity of the Port of Bilbao
"Getting all the components ready for shipment is the main challenge we face," according to Idoya García, from Siemens Gamesa’s logistics team and the person in charge of ensuring that all the pieces that make up the transport of components to the port fit together and leave on time, a "task that requires round-the-clock monitoring of the transport."
The challenge of constructing a wind farm does not end there. A wind farm is a puzzle that needs to be solved well in advance.
The case of Cabo Leones III is a good example: the nacelles arrive from Spain, while the towers and blades are shipped from China and India.

It is important that all of this arrives on time so that the wind farm can be built up according to the schedule.
The global presence of Siemens Gamesa, with wind farms and factories all over the world, means that the components for each wind farm, as in the case of Cabo Leones III, usually come from different countries and continents. This allows for greater flexibility in planning and execution, but also requires constant monitoring of the projects.

Cabo Leones III is undoubtedly a project that represents like no other the enormous logistical challenge behind each wind farm, from production to assembly of the components, including transport, and also the importance that Siemens Gamesa's plants in Spain have in the production of turbines around the world.


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