Market Status: Smaller countries make good progress

The region came close to becoming a 10GW market at the end of last year, with Peru and Uruguay in particular achieving impressive rates of growth in their wind power capacity.


The development of Peru's wind industry got off to a good start in 2014 with the completion of the country's first three wind farms.

In the north of the country, Contour Global has built the adjacent Cupisnique and Talara wind farms, with 62 Vestas turbines totalling 114MW, while Spain's Cobra Energia has built a 32MW project near the southern town of Marcona. The company plans to add another 97MW at the neighbouring Tres Hermanas site.

Despite the strong start, the government does not envisage wind energy playing a major role in the country's electricity sector, forecasting that non-conventional technologies, including solar and biomass, will contribute just over 200MW over the next decade.


Hopes are high for this year after a very successful 2014 put Uruguay's ambitious mission to source half of its electricity from wind running ahead of schedule.

By December 2015, the country should have 800MW of installed capacity, up 60% from current levels. Another 400MW should follow in 2016, which should allow wind to account for a third of its power supplies.

Uruguay's national energy strategy, launched in 2008, forecast that the country would source 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, led by a series of wind farms across the country. The rapid expansion of Uruguay's installed capacity through wind has even allowed it to export surplus electricity across the River Plate to Argentina, reversing the traditional relationship with its gas-rich neighbour.


The country's wind sector grew by a respectable 24% to 271MW in 2014 with the installation of the Arauco wind farm in La Rioja province. But the increase was modest given the huge potential for wind energy on the blustery expanses of Patagonia and the big year-on-year gains being made elsewhere in South America.

This largely reflects the concerns among investors about Argentina's political stability, of which the mysterious death of prosecutor Alberto Niesman is just the latest symptom. Tension is expected to continue this year as the country prepares for elections that will see President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner bow out after a decade in charge.

Many developers may be giving Argentina a wide berth, but the country's wind potential is still attracting interest from some quarters. In January, the government of La Rioja signed a preliminary agreement with Hydro-China to install more turbines in the western provinces.

But 2014 was not a good year for Argentina's turbine industry. In December Impsa was forced to shut its Brazilian Wind Power Energia subsidiary after its finances were thrown into chaos following late payment by clients in Brazil and Venezuela.

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