Nordex Builds Columbia’s First Wind Farm

Wind turbines from Nordex will be the first to harness the Colombian winds as the one of the country’s utilities closed a deal with the company. The Colombian utility Empresas Publicas de Medellín (EPM) has ordered 15 N60, 1,300 kW turbines from Nordex, in an order worth approximately €17 million (US$18.8 million).

Hamburg, Germany – April 30, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] This deal includes installation of the machines as well as maintenance and technical operation for one year. During this period Nordex will train the EPM engineers who will then take over those tasks. Work is to start on the Guajira peninsula in the north east of the country as soon as May 2003 and in October Nordex will be erecting the units on site. The “Jepirachi” project will then be the country’s first wind park to be connected to the grid. The name of the wind park, “Jepirachi” is a word from the language of the Wayuu Indians living here and means “north-east wind”. The location is ideal from a climatalogical point of view. At a height of 50 meters the average wind speed is around 10 m/s. In addition to this, wind distribution is constantly good, ensuring a high annual yield. These figures are the result of measurements made by EPM jointly with GTZ (Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit) within the framework of the TERNA wind energy program. The energy market in Colombia, which has been deregulated since 1995, is characterized by a low price level. This is because all power plants with a capacity of more than 20 MW feeding into the national grid have to sell their energy via the electricity exchange. For this reason, the government recognition of the wind park as a “technical innovation project” was crucial. This makes it possible for EPM to count the investment costs towards the pre-tax profit. In addition to this, EPM is currently negotiating with the World Bank’s Prototype Carbon Fund for a certificate trade for the CO2 saving. Reimbursement for 800,000 tons of CO2 emissions avoided comes to approximately US$3.2 million. Approximately 16 percent of national electricity capacity is supplied by EPM. The composition of the existing power plant network also promises to provide support. At present, some two thirds of national energy output in Colombia comes from hydro power plants. But longer periods of drought have resulted in repeated supply bottlenecks. This is why politicians are increasingly supporting a broader energy mix in the grid. Up to now, this comprised principally fossil fuels, such as pit coal, oil and an increasing amount of natural gas.

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