Impsa plans tower factory in Uruguay

URUGUAY: Argentinian turbine manufacturer, Impsa, has confirmed plans to build a wind turbine tower factory in Uruguay to supply both the local market and projects in neighbouring Brazil and Argentina.

Building will start "in the next few months, probably in August 2012", executive director Juan Carlos Fernández told Windpower Monthly.

Located in the department of Maldonado, a wind development hotspot, the factory will produce concrete towers with a capacity of "around 100 annually" and will employ approximately 400 people. The towers will be up to 100 metres in height.

Initial production will feed projects from Impsa's own development wing. The company said it has landed power purchase agreements (PPA) with the Uruguayan state utility and TSO, Usinas y Trasmisiones Eléctricas (UTE), to build 115MW. That capacity spans the four projects Libertador I-IV across Maldonado and the neighbouring Lavalleja department.

Power auctions in Uruguay over the past year lined up 300MW in PPA, additional to 53MW already online. In December, UTE received applications for 600MW in response to a call for proposals to build 450MW.

Uruguay moves forward

Last week, Gamesa announced it won its first Uruguayan order a 50MW deal for a wind project being built by construction company Teyma and Inabensa. The wind farm will be located in Peralta, in the department of Tacuarembo, northern Uruguay.

Uruguay only added 4MW in 2011, taking total capacity to 44MW. However, it completed two auctions that could turn the nation into a wind-power giant, at least in percentage terms.

UTE commissioned a total of 300MW of wind, achieving prices as low as $63/MWh in the second round. Another tender is expected in 2012, totalling 1GW of projects to be built by 2015.

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