The new turbines, to be located at Cerros Arenales (six), Chenque (two), Viteaux (four), Hemite (three) and one at a main highway road junction, will be added to the Antonio Moran wind farm, says Pedro Cerageoli, head of operations at SCPL. The utility will buy all the power generated to serve Comodoro Rivadavia, adds Gamesa's Juan Dueñas. He says wind speeds at Antonio Moran average 9.4 m/s and the wind farm's capacity factor will be a high 40%.
The towers for the wind turbines will be built locally to take advantage of an industry incentive offered by the Chubut government of $0.005/kWh if "local content" percentages are met. The percentages increase over time, from 30% in January 2001, to 60% in January 2003 and 80% in 2005. From January 2007 all the equipment must stem from local companies if a project is to qualify for the incentive. "Local content" refers to construction or assembly.
The federal government also offers a $0.01/kWh incentive, bringing the total incentive available to $0.015/kWh if all criteria are met. Wind is further benefited by the deferral of tax payments on earnings for 15 years. Dueñas stresses that these are not subsidies, but "economic benefits."
Chubut and Santa Cruz provinces have a wind power potential of 600-700 MW, but transmission capacity is insufficient to get the power to where it is needed in the centre of the country. The federal energy secretariat, however, recently selected aluminium producer Aluar to take charge of a project to interconnect the national transmission system to the Patagonian system.
That alone will not benefit the windy areas of the south as it will only bring the interconnection as far as Puerto Madryn, to the north of Comodoro Rivadavia. From there a 132 kV line continues south to Puerto Madryn with a capacity of just 60 MW, not enough "to move out all the power we could generate in the region," Cerageoli says. To realise the region's full wind potential, a new line is needed to connect Comodoro Rivadavia and Puerto Madryn, Cerageoli continues, adding that this line would ideally be 500 kV and have a capacity of 700-1000 MW. It would cost about $100 million.