Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Two more on the go in Costa Rica

Of the three wind projects being funded under the World Bank's Prototype Carbon Fund (main story) two are in Costa Rica -- at Chorotega and at Vara Blanca -- and are sub-projects of the PCF's umbrella project for the whole country. Eolica Chorotega is developing a $17.3 million, 8.4 MW plant, which at less than 15 MW is classified as small scale and subject to streamlined procedures. The site is close to the city of Santa Cruz in Guanacaste province and will house 14 Turbowinds turbines from Belgium. Annual production is estimated at 21.2 GWh from 6 m/s average wind speeds. Generation costs at Chorotega are estimated at $0.1156/kWh.

Eolica Chorotega is a 51% subsidiary of the Co-opguanacaste utility that will buy the power; the remaining 49% belongs to land owners and Turbowinds. Initial plans were to start commercial operations in January, but Turbowinds now plans to start installation in May and commercial operations in August, says the company's Frank Vaes. A second 4.8 MW phase is dependent on Co-opguanacaste upgrading the local substation, Vaes continues, adding that another extension is planned, but without giving details.

Turbowinds, which designs, engineers and assembles equipment whose manufacture it contracts out, also owns part of the 9.6 MW Vara Blanca project, between the towns of Vara Blanca and Poasito, through Electricidad Eolica Vara Blanca Belga Costarricense (EVBC). The $18.7 million project will supply utility ESP Heredia (the other EVBC equity owner) at a cost of $0.1232/kWh. The projects consists of 16, 600 kW turbines and a 22 kilometre transmission line to the town of Heredia. Wind speeds have been measured at an annual average of 7.14 m/s. Contracts are still in negotiation regarding Vara Blanca, Vaes says.

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