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Forcing the pace for more wind

Legislation for a national Argentinean wind law was passed by the senate late last month. A regulatory energy agency now has 60 days to implement it. With nearly 12 MW of wind plant on line, Argentina has launched a major promotion of wind, which some sources estimate can supply up to 30% of the country's energy supply. Greenpeace has fought hard for the law and on September 15 began a campaign for a 3000 MW wind target which, if adopted, would create 15,000 "clean jobs." The goal is dependent on the implementation of the wind law and the interconnection of the grid in windswept Patagonia with the national network, says Juan Carlos Villalonga, Greenpeace energy campaigner. The European wind industry has played its part in lobbying for the law. At a meeting with the press on September 22, representatives from Danish companies NEG Micon and Vestas warned that plans to start turbine manufacture in Argentina might well be relocated to Brazil if conditions there are more favourable. The World Bank has also issued a solicitation for a rural renewable energy program in the country, with wind as one of the components, reports the American Wind Energy Association. The project, expected to cost $187 million, aims to install thousands of small renewable systems ranging from 3-10 kW in capacity. Meanwhile, in the southern province of Chubut where 7.2 MW is operating, a subsidy of $0.005/kWh is to be paid to wind generators, says Fernando Braconi from Thyssen Comercial Argentina SA of Buenos Aires. The Thyssen group is an international trade and finance house with headquarters in Germany. The subsidy is part of a new provincial law that offers a ten year tax exemption on wind turbine components manufactured inside the province. Fiscal stability is also guaranteed for ten years to the generators who feed wind energy to the grid of the Patagonia system.

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