Realities on the ground hamper progress in Latin America

LATIN AMERICA: Latin America remains a growing market, if maybe not as fast-growing as some had hoped.

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Major players Brazil and Mexico aside, Chile, Argentina, Argentina, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Honduras and Cuba all added capacity last year, with the Caribbean bringing its first wind project online.


The prospects for wind in Chile look promising, with new president Michelle Bachelet pushing for reform of the energy sector to reduce dependence on oil in favour of renewables.

Chile added 171MW of new installed wind capacity in 2013, bringing the country's total to 376MW. According to, Chilean renewables association Acera, 457MW of wind projects are currently under construction, although it is unclear how much of that will come online this year. But the longer-term pipeline looks healthy enough, with 4.3GW of projects having obtained environmental approval.

Progress has been held back by the inadequacy of the grid network, and this will need to be addressed if the country is to meet an ambitious target of sourcing 20% of its energy generation from renewables by 2025.


Uruguay has also set itself ambitious targets for wind power - 1.2GW of installed capacity by the end of 2015 - but that figure is well out of reach at the current rate of progress. The country has less than 60MW currently installed, not all of which is grid-connected, and only 7MW was added during 2013.

But there is room for optimism, with the government claiming that up to 600MW could be installed this year. A joint venture between state-controlled energy company UTE and Brazilian utility Eletrobras, signed in April 2013, is now working on a 65MW project in the Colonia department, which will use Suzlon 2.1MW turbines.

Vestas has also announced a supply agreement for 30 V112-3.0 turbines for the Pintado wind farm, which should come online in the first half of 2014. Another significant project scheduled for commissioning this year is the 70MW Palomas project being built by Spanish developer Abengoa, which is also expected to conclude the 50MW Peralta wind farm by the end of the year.

UTE signed contracts for 900MW from tenders in 2010, much of which is still undeveloped.


In early 2014, the Argentine government confirmed that it had tripled power imports, further evidence of the country's ongoing economic crisis. Inflation is soaring and the peso is weakening, forcing the government to freeze electricity prices and maintain subsidies to consumers.

Only 60MW of new wind-power capacity was installed during 2013, taking Argentina's cumulative capacity to 161MW

Perhaps the most important development of the year was the announcement of an ARS 75 million ($9.75 million) deal to develop local turbine and wind-power maintenance technology and know-how. The deal involves local companies, including turbine manufacturer Impsa and universities, and is part of a nationwide effort to develop technology clusters for the wind sector.

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