Uruguay: Wind energy auctions 2011

23 wind farm proposals were received for a total of 1097 MW of wind power projects in the recent Uruguay wind auctions. Initially, 17 wind turbines companies competed for 150 MW, yet the auction might be expanded given the low price of 63 $US per MWh.

Eduardo Abenia, president of the Uruguayan Wind Energy Association (AUdEE) said, "we cannot underestimate the enormous contribution that wind power will make to the long-term stability of our electricity grid. If we can get our wind power prices down 25% from $80 to $60 $US per MWh, we will have a solid basis to stabilize the price, and it is clear that our electric company UTE will seek to seize that opportunity to the fullest."

There are several reasons for the low prices, according to AUdEE, including the availability of wind turbines at a good price thanks to the financial crisis in Europe; clarity and flexibility of the auction; and, investor confidence in the bidding process and subsequent compliance. Uruguay, a small country, announced a very ambitious target of 600 MW of wind power by 2015.