El Salvador’s first wind farm commissioned

Wind farm successful in 2017 auction endures two hurricanes and coronavirus pandemic to reach completion

Ventus features 15 of Vestas' V136-3.45 turbines supplied in the 3.6MW power rating

Energy developer Tracia Network Corporation has commissioned El Salvador’s first wind farm – the 54MW Ventus - Los Vientos de Metapán  project located in Metapán, on the northern tip of the central American country.

The project uses 15 of Vestas' V136-3.45 turbines supplied in the 3.6MW power rating, and is located near El Salvador’s border with Guatemala.

Tracia Network Corporation secured capacity for the project in a renewable energy auction in 2017 – making it the only wind farm developer to be successful in the tender.

Ventus will “help reduce the nation’s dependence on imported fossil fuels, provide the country with greater stability in the price of energy and diversify the national energy power grid”, Tracia Network Corporation stated. The developer is a subsidiary of Guatemalan conglomerate Grupo Centrans.

ArcVera Renewables acted as technical advisor from prospecting through development and financing. The two companies had already collaborated on wind projects in Guatemala and Nicaragua, also in Central America.

ArcVera has pioneered the use of very high-resolution microscale/mesoscale modeling previously used mostly for atmospheric science research and weather forecasting. 

Using supercomputers and other proprietary techniques, the company claims to provide very accurate hub-height wind flow patterns that help inform optimal wind turbine array design and produce accurate energy estimates.  

The modeling results can also be used for financing purposes and, later in the project lifecycle, for operational performance assessments.

“For the Ventus project, energy was estimated at very early project stages without onsite met towers, which was later verified to within 1.5% of wind speed. The modeling results were used to identify the best wind and terrain to allow Tracia Network to win El Salvador’s first-ever wind energy tender,” said Greg Poulos, ArcVera Renewables CEO.

Paul Wagner, project manager in Ventus’ development team, added that  ArcVera’s mesoscale modelling helped the developer identify a better location and improve its chances of success at auction.

Having fought through two hurricanes and the Covid pandemic to reach full commissioning, the Ventus project is now performing within 3% of estimates, according to ArcVera’s Poulos.