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Wind in sails for energy company

From CNN's Paula Hancocks

Business is booming in the wind turbine industry
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Alternative Energy

PAMPLONA, Spain (CNN) -- The wind turbines that line the northern Spanish skyline have provoked much debate about their role in helping control climate change.

Detractors say the size and number of the structures ruin the views, while supporters say they provide employment for locals and give the region some welcome notoriety, as visitors come to the region especially to see the turbines in action.

The turbines provide emission-free and environmentally safe energy generation.

Local councilor Roberto Lecumberri said that there was a great deal of pride among locals about the turbines.

"People around here are proud to co-operate with this project. The local authorities are happy to put their land in the hands of a company that produces clean energy," he says.

But although some still protest about their existence, as the turbines get bigger and improved technology makes them more efficient, the business of wind farms is becoming increasingly profitable.

Corin Millais, chief executive of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), says there has been a big change in the way the industry has developed during the past five years.

He said providing clean energy was now enough to support a successful business.

"The industry is growing about 30 percent a year. The turnover is close to 10 billion euros world wide, and a lot of large companies are now getting involved in this industry," he says.

Ten years ago, Pamplona-based company EHN started a wind power development program, which has resulted in the creation of 80 wind farms throughout the world, as well as generating a net profit of about $40 million dollars last year.

Company spokesman Santi Gomez said EHN had expanded its interests by building a factory at the Pamplona foothills, which is helping transform the company from a small player to one with a global reputation.

"The international community thinks that there is no future in unsustainable models of producing energy, so we have to develop a more sustainable energy model and we must do that making business. Without business there's no future," he says.

The factory has now been running for a year, producing 100 turbines during that time.

And as traditional energy sources become more expensive, renewable energy companies may soon win over even the biggest detractors

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