Wind energy in Bolivia: China will give funding for the first wind farm

The company China’s state Sinomach plans to build the first wind farm in Bolivia’s southern region rich in hydrocarbons whose authorities are looking to save natural gas for export.

The wind power project will be completed in the first half of next year and work could begin at the end of 2012 and completed in 2014, said Thursday the deputy governor of Tarija, Roberto Ruiz.

The region, located 650 kilometers south of La Paz, produces electricity with natural gas at a subsidized price equivalent to $ 1 per million Btu (British thermal unit), but if that energy will be export, will get ten times more income and can fund cleaner energy projects.

Sinomach last week announced plans to produce 21 megawatts (MW) with wind turbines. The wind power project, which includes 14 wind turbines of 1.5 MW, will require an investment of 28 million. The government of China will finance 85 percent and the government of Tarija remaining 15 percent, but Ruiz said the amount is not yet defined.

The wind farm will be on the outskirts of the city on a plateau hit by strong winds throughout the year where they will be stationed the 14 wind turbines, 80 meters tall with blades up to 40 meters. The region has half a million inhabitants. This will be the first wind power project in Bolivia, that todoay produces electricity with oil and hydropower for consumption.

By José Santamarta,