Argentina is considered an ideal place for wind energy, though large areas suffer from chronic electricity shortages. Indeed, in almost 70% of the country winds register average speeds exceeding 6 metres per second, while in Central and southern Patagonia, where winds are also very regular, the average speed ranges between 9 and 12 metres per second. According to a study by the National University of Comahue (Patagonia), in Patagonia alone 200,000 MW of wind power could be installed.
The government in Buenos Aires has been planning for some time to diversify the energy mix, focusing on the huge wind potential, of which a very small amount has been untapped up to now. Indeed, the installed wind turbines capacity only amounts to 32 MW. The immediate target aims at meeting 8% of the electricity demand from renewable sources by 2016.
There are already 32.2 MW of wind power installed in the country. This includes the Arauco wind farm, which comprise twelve 2.1 MW wind turbines. Late last year, Impsa won a contract to double its capacity to 50 MW.
In this context, a new law was enforced in 2009 to promote renewables and last year tenders were launched for 754 MW, mostly from wind power. 21 wind power companies submitted 51 wind farm projects to be approved, while local manufacturing firms are working – as explicitly requested by the government – to enhance the local know-how, in order to gradually reduce the need for imported products.
In the meantime, the enlargement of the Arauco wind farm (in the country’s north-west, near the Chilean border) from current overall 25 MW to 50 MW was approved, while near Mayor Buratovich (Buenos Aires ), two 50 MW and 60 MW wind farm plants were granted a permit.