GE Seeks to Boost Power Capacity With Bid in Argentine Auction

  • Country is becoming ‘very appealing’ market, GE’s Anzola says
  • Argentina is promoting wider use of renewable energy

General Electric Co. is seeking to increase its electricity generation capacity in Argentina as the third-largest market in Latin America expands.

GE plans to bid in the renewable-energy auction of 1 gigawatt of capacity in September, Alvaro Anzola, an executive in charge of GE Power sales in Latin America, said in a telephone interview from Miami. The U.S. company already produces 3.7 gigawatts in the country, and in May won two tenders for 1.3 gigawatts of more capacity.

The auction will be the first since the country passed a law last year to promote wider use of renewable energy. President Mauricio Macri is seeking to expand Argentina’s efforts to fight climate change and diversify Argentina’s power mix. The government is expected to organize additional energy auctions.

“Argentina has finally understood it can’t continue subsidizing energy," Anzola said. "The transparency Macri is promoting in the power generation market and the tenders are transforming Argentina into a very, very appealing market."

YPF Partnership

GE also wants to bring its most-advanced gas turbine, the air-cooled HA turbine, to Argentina in the near future. Last month, GE won two tenders to install generators with a total capacity of 1.3 gigawatts. One of the May contracts was awarded to a GE partnership with Argentina’s largest company, YPF SA. The companies have already installed a 9F turbine in Tucuman province that is expected to enter service at the start of 2018 with a budgeted investment of $170 million.

With 37 gigawatts, Argentina lags behind Brazil with 129 gigawatts and Mexico with 63 gigawatts.

“For GE, Mexico -- which is having an energy reform -- and Argentina are the most appealing markets to grow," Anzola said. "Right now our projects in Brazil are enough to keep us busy." He cautioned that if the Brazilian corruption scandal that led to the downfall of President Dilma Rousseff continues to have an impact on the country’s economy, “we will be heading to a contraction."

— With assistance by Rick Clough

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