Nicaragua develops its renewable sources

The Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) recently granted Blue Power & Energy, S.A. an energy generation license for a period of 30 years to build and operate a wind farm consisting of 22 wind turbines with a capacity to generate up to 1.8 megawatts (MW) per unit, for a total wind energy capacity of 39.6 MW.

This demonstrates the Government of Nicaragua’s commitment in working actively to promote renewable energy projects in the country in pursuit of transforming the current oil-based energy generation matrix.

Between 2008 and 2009, the MEM has granted energy generation licenses to different wind energy projects including Amayo I wind farm, Amayo II and Eolo Nicaragua, for a total installed generation capacity of 100 MW.

In addition to the nominal capacity that will be installed by Blue Power & Energy, S.A., there are two other wind power projects in various stages of study/development that together will represent nearly 120 MW in generation capacity.

Among them is ALBANISA, a state-owned company, which in June of last year won a provisional license from the government to conduct feasibility studies to install a 40 wind turbines, 80 MW wind farm in the Southwestern part of the country.

Previous studies have estimated that Nicaragua has over 4,500 MW of potential to produce energy from renewable sources, of which 2,000 MW correspond to hydroelectric energy, 1,500 to geothermal, 800 to wind power and 200 to biomass.

This potential is of great importance because the demand in the Central American market is expected to continue growing from 7,000 MW currently to 14,000 MW in the next decade.

As part of the process of regional integration, the Electrical Interconnection System for the Countries of Central America (SIEPAC, for its acronym in Spanish) is being established and is expected to start operating in June 2011.

This regional transmission line is 1,800 km long and has a capacity of 300 MW at a voltage of 230 kV. The SIEPAC system will allow the region to ensure safe and high-quality electric supply so that any authorized agent may buy or sell energy regardless of their geographical location, thus opening the market to regional contracts.

PRONicaragua is the Nicaraguan Investment Promotion Agency, established in 2002. It is a non-profit, public-private institution whose mission is to generate economic growth and job creation in Nicaragua by attracting high-quality foreign direct investment.