Argentina seeks another 400MW of wind after tender

ARGENTINA: The government is seeking another 400MW of wind energy capacity in November after awarding contracts to 12 wind projects in the first round of its renewable energy programme.

A total of 708MW of wind capacity won contracts in Argentina's first tender

Companies that qualified in the first round but failed to win a contract can participate in the new round by presenting offers by 11 November, said renewable energy minister Sebastian Kind. The winners will be announced two weeks later.

In the first tender since the publication of last year's renewable energy bill, the government awarded contracts for a total of 1,109MW, dominated by 708MW of wind energy and 400MW of solar power.

The lowest bid by a wind farm was just $49.1/MWh while the average was $59.40/MWh. This suggested sharp reductions from current spot prices on Argentina's fragile power system, which is heavily reliant on imported fossil fuels.

The winning wind developers included a mix of local and international players.

Chinese firm Envision Energy won contracts for four projects with a total of capacity of 185MW, including 10MW in partnership with Sowitec, in Buenos Aires province and Patagonia.

French developer Eren Groupe will build the 97MW Vientos Los Hercules farm in southern Santa Cruz.

Local energy players Central Puerto, Pampa Energy, and Pan American Energy also won contracts, and Argentinean renewable firm Genneia will build two wind farms totalling 78MW of capacity.

The average price will also serve as the ceiling for next month's mini-tender, said energy and mining minister Juan Aranguren, predicting that prices will fall to less than $50/MWh.

To ensure that new projects are well-distributed throughout Argentina, the next round will stipulate that 100MW must come from the province of Buenos Aires, 100MW from the provinces of Rio Negro and Neuquen and 100MW from Patagonia.