The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved two loans totaling $107.7 million to finance the construction of the El Libertador and Palmatir wind farms in Uruguay.
The IDB financing will contribute to diversifying Uruguay’s energy matrix and reducing its dependence on hydroelectric generation which, during the dry season, forces the country to boost electricity generation from fossil fuels, increasing its carbon footprint and making it vulnerable to oil price fluctuations.
“These projects will be the first two wind farms to be financed by the IDB that are developed within the program launched by UTE, the state-owned electricity company, to promote private sector participation in the renewable energy sector,” said Jean-Marc Aboussouan, Chief of the Infrastructure Division at the Structured and Corporate Finance Department, the IDB unit responsible for large-scale private sector project financing.
“The long-term financing provided by the IDB will allow Uruguay to take advantage of the global advances in the wind energy sector as well as improvements in technology and cost reductions that have made wind power a competitive energy source.”
The El Libertador wind farm, to be located in the department of Lavalleja, will be developed by WPE (a fully-owned subsidiary of IMPSA), a Brazilian renewable energy company and one of the largest Latin American developers of wind energy. The project will get a $66 million loan from the IDB for its construction and installation of 44 Vensys IMPSA wind turbines.
The Palmatir wind farm, to be located in the department of Tacuaremb, will be developed by Abengoa S.A, one of the leaders in the renewable energy sector. The Palmatir project will receive $41.7 million in IDB financing for the construction of the wind farm and installation of 25 Gamesa wind turbines.
The combined power generation capacity of the projects will be 115 MW. The projects are expected to avoid the emission of about 302,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year.
Uruguay has 2.578 MW of power generation capacity, of which approximately 60 percent provides from hydropower plants, 33 percent from fossil fuels and the remaining from biomass and wind energy.