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    Wind energy: winds of change and projects underway in Argentina

    November 16, 2022 - CE Noticias Financieras


      Wind power generation is consolidating as a determining factor in the transition to renewable sources. To what extent this resource contributes to the country's energy matrix. The importance of the development of strategic projects such as the wind farms in the Arauco region.

      The origins of wind energy generation in the country date back to 1980, around the development of the Argentine Wind Turbine. Between 1994 and 2022, there were 30 megawatts (MW) installed, a capacity that increased since 2010 following the award of the Renewable Energy Electricity Generation Program (GENREN).

      At the end of 2014, Argentina had 271 MW of wind power capacity. Seven years later, in 2021, it reached 3,137 MW with the boost of several projects mainly in Chubut, Buenos Aires and Santa Cruz. Until last year, each province contributed 1,238.22, 1,174.98 and 328.67 MW to the national installed total, respectively.

      The growth can also be seen from the generation point of view. For example, in 2020, a total of 9,352.68 gigawatt-hours (GWh) was recorded, while in 2021 the mark was 12,771.57. That is, with a variation of 36.6%.

      Chubut continues to play a central role in the production of the last years, with a 45% increase in the same period, while Buenos Aires increased by 38.2%. However, other projects are also starting to materialize in other provinces that promote the diversification of the energy matrix set as a goal for 2030.

      Wind energy, winds of the future

      Patagonia and the Pampean region, due to their climatic characteristics, are propitious for the development of wind farms, but they are not the only ones in Argentina. For example, the Arauco region is also making the most of the strategic conditions of its geography for the production of electricity through renewable sources.

      La Rioja is one of the territories with projections for investments in the wind energy sector. On the one hand, the province has a wind quality comparable to northern Europe, and on the other hand, it does not have the interconnection difficulties that Patagonia is trying to overcome.

      Currently, the 400 MW Arauco II and III wind farms are in operation there, carried out by Powerchina, the largest company in the world in its field: it was ranked 100th in the "Fortune Global 500" in 2022 and 5th in ENR's global contractors in 2021.

      This firm is the one with the largest number of megawatts under execution in renewable energy. In addition to the development in La Rioja, it has 11 completed projects and 8 under construction. In 2022, the first five wind projects with the highest load factors in Argentina according to Cammesa data are: Loma Blanca I Wind Farm; Loma Blanca III; De la Bahía; Loma Blanca II, and Loma Blanca VI. Among them, the four wind projects Loma Blanca I, II, III and VI were built by Powerchina. In addition, among the solar farms with the best efficiency, there are also two built by the Asian company.

      The Riojan project, which was signed in December 2021, is in stages 5 and 6 of 100 MW of the Arauco II Wind Farm and stages 1, 2 and 3 of 300 MW of the Arauco III Wind Farm.

      Road to energy transition

      According to the Main MEM Indicators distributed by Cammesa, in September of this year wind energy contributed 1,128 GWh to the national total. In order to measure this contribution, it should be noted that the total generated that month from renewable energies was 1,605 GWh, reaching a 70% share among this type of sources.

      The Secretariat of Energy projects that by 2030 the electricity generation matrix will exceed 160 terawatt-hours (TWh), with renewable energies accounting for 21% of production. Wind energy is expected to provide 68% of that proportion, equivalent to 22,905.12 GWh per year. In contrast, in 2020 it accumulated 9,352.68 GWh.

      At present, Argentina has a total of 57 wind farms in full operation. However, in order to accompany the upward movement towards the energy transition, it will be necessary to continue expanding the infrastructure and searching for favorable regions, focusing on the potential wind map.


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