Uruguay to develop 500 MW of wind energy by 2015

Ramón Méndez, UTE’s director for electrical energy, said that the fact that 21 valid offers for wind farm projects had been received – and ten of those proposed a sale price to the company of under US$91 per megawatt hour (MWh) – was an "outstanding" result, and a price "substantially below" that of the last tendering exercise.

Mr. Méndez added that in the summer of 2015 there would be "nights with the wind blowing when 70% of electric power consumption would come from wind power". The Uruguayan government’s target is to reach 500 MW of wind power capacity by 2015. Only one offer of the 22 received was withdrawn in the tender-opening session, UTE reports. "Worldwide, prices for wind energy are above US$90 per MWh," said Mr. Méndez. "Argentina held a call for tenders and the price was US$120 per MWh, and we are below that."

Brazilian energy firm Eletrosul announced it was considering building a wind farm in Uruguay while Wobben revealed it was also interested in expanding in Uruguay. UTE is working to diversify Uruguay’s grid and the wind turbines expansion stems from this effort.

UTE’s current call for tenders specified wind farms ranging from 30 to 50 MW of generating capacity. The lowest offer was for a wind farm in Maldonado (US$80/MWh) followed by two others – one in Maldonado, the other in Lavalleja – at US$83/MWh. The 21 projects presented are spread across eight of the country’s departments: Maldonado, Lavalleja, Tacuarembó, Cerro Largo, Flores, Florida, San José and Montevideo.