Wind power in Ecuador: first steps of the wind farm Huascachaca

The wind farm will consist of 20 units 1.5 MW wind turbines located 84 kilometers southwest of the city of Cuenca, in an area that extends through the provinces of Azuay and Loja.

The average wind speed is 5.9 m/s, while higher speeds are recorded between July and September. The project area is about 1,100 meters above sea level.

The final design should be completed in October. The electricity generated will be dispatched to the national grid through a substation operated by South Central Regional Electricity Company.

Huascachaca wind farm will be the first in mainland Ecuador (there is a small wind park on the Galapagos Islands.)

Galapagos Wind Farm has three wind turbines. The windmills has 80 meters in height and serves to provide energy to about 30% of the population of the archipelago, according to Merran technicians.

This wind farm has an installed capacity of 2.4 megawatts and generates annual average of 3.2 gigawatt hours (GWh). The wind farm was funded by 80% by international bodies like the G-8 and the United Nations Programme for Development (UNDP) and 20% by the Ecuadorian State.

Ecuador currently being developed in Loja Villonaco wind farm with a capacity of 15 MW and would be operational this year.

A third wind farm will be implemented in Salinas in Imbabura. This wind power project requires an investment of $22 million and will have a capacity of 10 MW. Officials hope to come into operation in the first quarter of 2011.

Other projects to be defined, will be installed on the coast, according MEER technicians. For Manuel Salgado, of the College of Electrical Engineers of Pichincha, wind energy projects are positive, especially that will provide power to the proposed eco airport Baltra (Galapagos). "Climate change requires new sources of energy, and the location of certain parts of the country is excellent to harness the wind," he said.

By José Santamarta,