The Spanish company Cobra is taking advantage of the breezes as it harvests energy at Peru’s first wind farm.
“Renewable energy is not only good for environmental reasons, it’s not only good because of climate change. Renewable energy is absolutely good because of the co-benefits, and when we’re talking about energy security, we’re not only talking about sufficiency of resources, because renewable energy empowers the nations to be self-sufficient,” said Tabare Arroyo, an energy specialist with the World Wildlife Federation.
Peru is working to reduce its carbon emissions as it hosts a current U.N. summit where nearly 200 countries are expected to make new environmental pledges before world leaders meet again at a larger climate summit in Paris in 2015.
The wind farm’s 11 wind turbines generate 32 megawatts, enough energy to supply 30,000 households.
“We don’t consume petrol or gas. We don’t use any depletable resource,” said Lourdes Llana, a community relations officer for Cobra. “Our raw material is the wind, which is inexhaustible, so we generate energy without creating any waste.”
Wind power currently contributes to small fraction of the energy supplied to Peru’s national grid. However, wind power already supplies a third of Spain’s energy demands, and the company sees great potential in Peru.
“Why here? The answer is obvious, as I’m almost being blown away,” Llana said. The wind blows at 10 meters per second for 4,400 hours a year, she said, adding that wind is a safe investment due to several tax breaks for clean energy.
Many Latin American companies offer clean energy incentives for companies and energy demand in the region is expected to double in the next decade.
Peru has been slow to embrace new sources of energy due to an abundant hydro-electric power and ample gas fields.
“At the moment, renewable energy represents 3.5 up to 4 percent of the country’s energy mix. Our idea is to increase this to 5 percent by the end of this decade,” said Eleodoro Mayorga, Peru’s energy and mines minister.
The World Wildlife Fund said the region has tremendous potential as costs for clean energy alternatives come down.