The government is planning the first wind farm in Bolivia

The revelation was made by Vice Minister of Science and Technology, Roger Carvajal, in early February, in the occasion of International Symposium organized by the Sustainable Agriculture Producers Association of Oilseeds and Wheat (ANAP).

According that authority, the city of Santa Cruz, Viru Viru and Chaco, have enormous potential for good winds that can be exploited to produce electricity.

The state project that studies the Executive, includes the installation of 10 wind turbines, with an investment of approximately $72 million. The unit cost per MW is about 1.2 million, stated Carvajal.

"We start with a pilot wind farm, this requires a study of wind intensity and direction. During that time make recruitment of companies will have to provide the wind turbines," said Carvajal, further indicating that the provision was instructed by President Evo Morales, who authorized the study to harnessing wind power.

The entity responsible for the administration of this wind farm is the National Electricity Company (ENDE). The company manager, Rafael Alarcon, confirmed the study of this wind energy project. Alarcón added that ENDE is making measurements in the highlands, where stations will be installed to validate the data contained within the map and the wind atlas.

For its part, the manager of the generating Guaracachi, Jaime Aliaga, considered that installing a wind farm will be no competition for the company which produces thermoelectric power with natural gas-operated. He stressed that investment in wind energy is very high, which may even reach 2 million per MW.

Also, the manager of the Rural Electrification Cooperative (CRE), Carmelo Paz Duran, said that last year the agency updated a feasibility study to install a 20 MW wind farm in the southern city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, based on the specific location of Bolivia Wind Atlas.

According to Paz, the study shows that under current economic conditions in the generation market, the project is not viable. In turn, the regulation of CRE manager, Carlos E. Giacomán, said that the country with wind farms will save natural gas, which can be used for export or to generate value in the country.

Wind Atlas, a contribution to the country

The Wind Atlas of Bolivia is available to all groups since March 2009, said Miguel Angel Aramayo, manager of Engineering and Construction of the transport of electricity.

For Aramayo, Atlas is a contribution to knowledge of the country’s wind energy potential. "It’s a tech tool that allows to know the potential of wind anywhere in the country, the available energy to generate electricity or direct use in a mechanical way," he said.

The Atlas was prepared by the firm 3 TIER specialist meteorological simulation models. Based on geological, topographical and statistical satellite during 30 years, developed a model, whose results were validated with records from weather stations.

The program was initiated and funded by the transmission of electricity and the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank.

This report summarizes the wind resource over the country of Bolivia at three heights above ground level (20, 50, and 80 meters) based on the results of sophisticated meteorological simulations completed by 3TIER Environmental Forecast Group, Inc. (3TIER) for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as part of IFC’s ongoing financing of Transportadora de Electricidad (TDE), Bolivia’s largest electricity transmission company.