Wind energy in Ecuador: wind farm Villonaco

15 machines yesterday came to the hill of Villonaco in Loja, which will begin opening a route of 1,600 meters long and 60 wide, leading to the first wind farm in Ecuador. When the former Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, Miguel Calahorrano, visitied Loja in December 2010, promised to tear the work in January this year, but the wind energy project started crawling two days ago.

The 11 wind turbines will be located in Loja and the work involved 25 people including technicians, engineers and workers. For the construction of access roads, to be completed in January 2012, has a budget of $ 511,000.

Officials say the road work is done gently to avoid affecting the ecosystem. Only the required area will be removed, there will arise a topsoil of 25 cm and are placed in the dumps. After work, ensure that the land will again be compacted in the respective areas.

The wind turbines will be installed to a height of 80 meters and the blades of wind turbines ranging from 60 to 63 meters in diameter. For assembly, use a 300-ton crane to be transported possibly from the U.S. or Panama.

The wind farm also includes construction of a convention center where students can learn the meaning of the wind energy, the first stage referred to 16 megawatts. Once the first payment is made by the Electricity Corporation of Ecuador (Celec), authorities and project managers have 60 days to deliver the second part of the wind farm that represent 30 megawatts, for a total of 65 megawatts.

The Celec addition to the provincial government must return the investment made to date, which is around 2.5 million dollars. For Ruben Bustamante, this activity will mean academic tourism. "The idea is to turn the city into the center of wind power development in the Southern Cone."

By José Santamarta,