Utility plans competitive wind plant on Columbia's Caribbean coast

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A 24.7 MW wind station on the Guajira peninsula of Colombia's Caribbean coast is being planned by local utility Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM). The facility is expected to produce power at a price that will make it competitive on the Colombian electricity exchange, where power is traded for $0.03-0.04/kWh. Support for the utility's foray into wind power is coming from the Terna program run by German aid organisation Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ). The grant, to run from January 2001 to the end of 2002, will cover wind measuring, a feasibility study, training, and analysis of framework conditions and support mechanisms. The site is in a protected region for the indigenous population and they must be compensated for the wind development, notes GTZ. Initial measurements revealed good wind speeds of over 7 m/s at a height of ten metres. Subsequent measuring at 20 metres, however, conducted from May to September last year by German wind institute DEWI, clocked wind speeds of 9.2 m/s. The site is already served by a 110 kV transmission line which runs south from the peninsula near Puerto Bolivar. The liberalised Colombian power market is divided into supply, distribution and trade. "There are no privileges for particular types of generation and the energy ministry wants it to stay that way," says GTZ's Bernhard Bösl.

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