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Germany

Town strikes blow for freedom

The official opening of a 1.8 MW wind plant in Argentina drew a large crowd to a town on the country's east coast. A keen desire for electrical independence is the reason for much of the local enthusiasm for the project, which has attracted considerable press interest.

The official opening of a wind plant in Argentina drew a crowd of around 1000 to Punta Alta on the country's east coast, including the local mayor, Jorge Izarra. A keen desire for electrical independence is the reason for much of the local enthusiasm for the project, which has attracted considerable press interest. The 1.8 MW wind plant of three AN Bonus 600 kW turbines is owned by the town electricity company, the Cooperativa Punta Alta, and now supplies around 12% of its power sales.

Co-operatives such as the Punta Alta power company were set up about 70 years ago by communities anxious to strike a blow for freedom from monopoly domination of electricity supply by big utilities. Building a wind farm is one way that a town utility can exercise that freedom, says AN Windenergie, the German developer of the Century Windpower Station.

The $2.2 million project was co-financed by the German government through its Eldorado program of support for renewables development overseas. The utility wind farm is also eligible for Argentina's kilowatt hour subsidy for wind power, part of the country's new wind law (Windpower Monthly, December 1998). The new wind plant brings the country's total installed capacity to 14 MW. Argentina's goal is to meet 7% of the national electricity demand with wind energy by 2010. It is hard to say if this aim will be reached, says Klaus Krüder of AN Windenergie. His company is planning several other projects, but competition is tough and the market in Argentina is small. The new wind farm was inaugurated in December. It is AN's second project in Argentina and follows the installation a year ago of five Bonus 600 kW units near the coastal town of Mayor Buratovich (Windpower Monthly, January 1998).

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