There was lots of expectations surrounding the public tender to develop renewable energy projects in the country. But it’s probably safe to say that no one expected it to be this good. And the government didn’t wait to celebrate. The tender received bids to collectively generate more than 6,000 megawatts of energy, when the initial goal of the initiative was 1,000MW, Energy Minister Juan José Aranguren said.
“The result is well beyond the expectations we had,” Aranguren said. “We received 123 proposals.” The Macri administration expected to get between 60 and 70 proposals. “Some within the Ministry said we would get offers that altogether would amount to two or three thousand megawatts, but we never expected it to be more than 6,000,” he added, alongside Renewable Energy Undersecretary Sebastián Kind.
Under the original plans for the tender, the 1,000MW were set to be divided in the following way:
- 600MW through wind turbines, which was expected to be the star of the tender process This is hardly a surprise, considering that Patagonia is widely considered to have one of the best wind speeds in the world with an average 14.5 km per second.
- 300MW through solar energy
- 65MW through biomass energy (here’s a link to the description, in case you have no idea what biomass is)
- 20MW by small hydro-electric projects
- 15MW through bio-gas.
Currently only 1.8 percent of energy production in the country comes from renewable energy sources. Under current plans, that is supposed to grow exponentially in recent years, and renewable energy sources provide 4.5 percent of the national electricity supply by December 2018 and for this supply to increase to 20 percent by December 2025, in accordance to law 27191.
Aranguren went on to note that the administration expects to receive between US$1.5 billion and US$2 billion on renewable energy projects, which would translate into as many as 8,000 jobs.
Although the price the Macri administration will pay per megawatt hasn’t been disclosed yet, Aranguren did say that, with so many offers, “it will be competitive.”
“We don’t want to pay a price that is too high and that’s why we also set a ceiling of what we are willing to pay,” he added. In fact, the Energy Ministry requested help from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) Economics University to establish the ceiling. The number will be disclosed in October once the government opens the economic bids.
Argentina is one of the countries in the region that produces the least amount of renewable energy. And Aranguren was sure to emphasize that boosting the supply of renewables will help make energy supply more efficient, and thus “contribute to the goal of having a cheaper energy grid.” Something that, considering the chaos generated by the steep increases in utility bills — collectively known as Tarifazo — all Argentines can probably support.
- Read more: Is Argentina Ready For Renewable Energy?