Argentina Clean-Power Auction Attracts Proposals for 6 Gigawatts

  • Wind farms represent more than half of the auction’s bids
  • 60 percent of the country’s capacity come from fossil fuels

Renewable energy developers in Argentina applied to sell 6,366 megawatts of power in an October auction, more than six times the amount the government plans to sell.

Wind farms accounted for more than half, or 3,478 megawatts of capacity, according to Sebastian Kind, undersecretary for renewable energy at the Argentina’s Energy Ministry. Solar projects represented 2,834 megawatts, while biogas and biomas each had 53 megawatts.

"I’ve never expected 6,000 megawatts," Energy Minister Juan Jose Aranguren told reporters in Buenos Aires on Monday. "The first round of our program meets our goal to diversify the energy mix, having new energy costs so that we have enough to power the country’s development, and to reduce the impact of these activities on climate change."

President Mauricio Macri has made renewable energy development one of his government’s main priorities since taking office in December by establishing new regulations and organizing auctions. The government expects to attract between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in investments at the Oct. 12 auction.

One of Macri’s first acts was a law that requires industrial consumers to get 8 percent of their power from renewable sources in 2017 and 20 percent by 2025.

Fossil Fuels

The auction is expected to spur as much as 1 gigawatt of new capacity, led by wind and solar farms. It will include 600 megawatts of wind power, almost triple the 215 megawatts in operation now, and 300 megawatts of solar power, up from almost nothing, as well as 65 megawatts of biomass, 20 megawatts of small hydropower and 15 megawatts of biogas.

Developers will be competing for 20-year contracts to sell power from planned power projects, which should be completed within two years after the auction.

More than 60 percent of Argentina’s energy capacity comes from fossil fuels. While Mexico and Chile have 4.8 gigawatts and 3 gigawatts of renewable energy installed at the moment, Argentina has 682 megawatts, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

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