Wind Sector Overview
Argentina has an estimated technical wind energy potential of 300 GW. In southern Patagonia (Chubut and Santa Cruz provinces), average wind speeds range between 9.0 and 11.2 m/s, whereas in the north (Neuquén and Río Negro provinces), wind speeds range from 7.2 to 8.4 m/s. The general average capacity factor for Argentina is 35% and in the Patagonia region it ranges between as much as 47% and 59%. Especially in Northwest Patagonia, locally known as the Comahue region, hydro and wind may seasonally complement each other and.benefit both technologies. One other promising region for wind power development is the Atlantic sea coast. It comprises the Province of Buenos Aires with 15 million inhabitants (39% of the total population), between San Clemente del Tuyú in the east and Bahía Blanca in the south. Here, wind speeds between 7.2 and 8.5 m/s at 80 meter hub height are the average. Although the potential power yield is lower than in Patagonia, it is much easier to hook up to transmission or distribution grids. Additionally, this region is more convenient for wind power development in terms of logistics and construction costs than Patagonia (a far-off oil region with a strong trade union). Local manufacturers As of late 2016, the leading manufacturers of wind turbines in the market were: 1) Vestas (installed Genneia’s 80 MW Rawson Wind Farm), 2) Alstom (installed Isolux’s 50 MW Loma Blanca Wind Farm), 3) IMPSA (the national company that installed La Rioja SAPEM’s 50 MW Arauco Wind Farm and Santiago del Estero government’s 8.4 MW Jume Wind Farm), 4) Enercon (installed Hychico’s 8.3 MW Diadema Wind Farm and the Pico Truncado municipality’s 8.9 MW Pico Truncado Wind Farm) 5) NRG Patagonia, another local company, installed its first and only turbine in the southern province of Chubut in 2011. Their technology is a combination of long gained own experience, enriched with an international design license and the purchase of some imported components. In view of the recent tenders, Vestas is expected to reinforce its position installing more wind turbines. Nevertheless, Envision –a Chinese wind turbine manufacturer- could reach the first position in the Argentine technology market share. Probably other companies like Senvion, Nordex/Acciona and Gamesa will also land in the thriving country. Another player in the wind power sector is the Argentinean Wind Energy Cluster. This association undertakes lobbying and support activities to encourage national suppliers, manufactures and wind power owners to accelerate and put more pressure on the political agenda. 75 local companies have already joined the “Cluster Eólico Argentino”. The Cluster, whose main purpose is to support local wind power equipment manufacturers intend to strengthen the national market to supply equipment with a capacity of 1,000 MW a year by 2020. The “Cluster Eólico Argentino” is part of the Argentine Chamber of Industrial and Engineering Projects and Capital Expenditures and has ample support from the Ministry of Industry. This new player could add more value to the emerging Argentine wind power sector and collaborate with the vocational education and training program for wind power technicians. Its long-term goals, to be achieved by 2020, are to create 10,000 renewable energy-linked jobs, contribute to achieving 1,000 MW installed capacity per year, as well as supporting 500 local supply companies.