Argentina Auction Attracts Proposals for 6 GW of Solar, Wind

Renewable energy developers in Argentina applied to sell 6,366 MW of power in an October auction, more than six times the amount the government plans to sell.

Wind farms accounted for more than half, or 3,478 MW of capacity, according to Sebastian Kind, undersecretary for renewable energy at the Argentina’s Energy Ministry. Solar projects represented 2,834 MW, while biogas and biomas each had 53 MW.

“I’ve never expected 6,000 MW,” Energy Minister Juan Jose Aranguren told reporters in Buenos Aires on Monday. “The first round of our program meets our goal to diversify the energy mix, having new energy costs so that we have enough to power the country’s development, and to reduce the impact of these activities on climate change.”

President Mauricio Macri has made renewable energy development one of his government’s main priorities since taking office in December by establishing new regulations and organizing auctions. The government expects to attract between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in investments at the Oct. 12 auction.

One of Macri’s first acts was a law that requires industrial consumers to get 8 percent of their power from renewable sources in 2017 and 20 percent by 2025.

Fossil Fuels

The auction is expected to spur as much as 1 GW of new capacity, led by wind and solar farms. It will include 600 MW of wind power, almost triple the 215 MW in operation now, and 300 MW of solar power, up from almost nothing, as well as 65 MW of biomass, 20 MW of small hydropower and 15 MW of biogas.

Developers will be competing for 20-year contracts to sell power from planned power projects, which should be completed within two years after the auction.

More than 60 percent of Argentina’s energy capacity comes from fossil fuels. While Mexico and Chile have 4.8 GW and 3 GW of renewable energy installed at the moment, Argentina has 682 MW, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

©2016 Bloomberg News

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