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70% of Uruguay's summer energy needs may come from wind farms by 2015, says state power company

Tuesday, January 18th 2011 - 16:07 UTC
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Announcing the preliminary results of a call for tenders to supply wind energy, UTE, Uruguay's state power company, announced that 21 companies and consortia had presented valid offers last week.

Ramón Méndez, UTE's director for electrical energy, said that the fact that 21 valid offers for wind farm projects had been received – and ten of those proposed a sale price to the company of under US$91 per megawatt hour (MWh) – was an “outstanding” result, and a price “substantially below” that of the last tendering exercise.

Mr. Méndez added that in the summer of 2015 there would be “nights with the wind blowing when 70% of electric power consumption would come from wind power”. The Uruguayan government's target is to reach 500 MW of renewable generating capacity by 2015.

Only one offer of the 22 received was withdrawn in the tender-opening session last week, UTE reports.

“Worldwide, prices for wind power are above US$90 per MWh,” said Mr. Méndez. “Argentina held a call for tenders and the price was US$120 per MWh, and we are below that.”

UTE reports that 15 different companies and consortia presented offers, including IMPSA, a renewable energy multinational with over 21,700 MW of generating capacity in its operations in Brazil, Argentina, and the Far East. The company opened a Wind Service Centre in Uruguay in June of last year and aims to incorporate locally manufactured components into its wind turbines.

According to IMPSA, generators need to be specially designed to take account of the different characteristics of the prevailing wind, which varies from region to region. The company has introduced 70m rotor diameters for the strong winds of Patagonia, but uses a 100m diameter for the low-turbulence conditions common in parts of Brazil.

UTE's current call for tenders specified wind farms ranging from 30 to 50 MW of generating capacity. The lowest offer was for a wind farm in Maldonado (US$80/MWh) followed by two others – one in Maldonado, the other in Lavalleja – at US$83/MWh. The 21 projects presented are spread across eight of the country's departments: Maldonado, Lavalleja, Tacuarembó, Cerro Largo, Flores, Florida, San José and Montevideo.

Top Comments

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  • criolla

    Wind power should be built into every country's infrastructure. It's decidedly one of the solutions to diminishing resources. Hopefully, because the state is backing it, issues of aesthetics and environmental concerns won't bog progress down. Kudos.

    Jan 22nd, 2011 - 11:22 pm 0
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