Wind in Argentina

Installed capacity143MW

Production38.7ktoe per year

Argentina has a long tradition of using wind energy. It is estimated that even today the plains of the pampas have the largest concentration of farm windmills in the world, with over 400 000 in place. Windpower has certainly played an important role in the agricultural development of the country.

As regards electricity generating capacity, Argentina presently possesses more than a dozen wind parks, located in six different provinces, with an aggregate installed capacity of 29.76 MW. Many of these parks have been developed with the assistance of the Régimen Nacional de la Energía Eólica y Solar, under Law 25019/98, which (amongst other fiscal benefits) subsidises electricity generated from wind or solar and fed into the public networks.

The current exploitation of wind energy is not commensurate with its enormous potential. It has been estimated that Patagonia’s wind potential south of the 42nd parallel represents tens of times that contained in the whole of Argentina’s annual crude oil production. Moreover, it is not just the southern extremity of the country that possesses favourable conditions for the installation of wind farms. Numerous suitable areas exist in almost the whole of the Río Negro and Neuquén provinces, in various upland and coastal zones of Buenos Aires province, and in many other localities in the interior.

The Plan Nacional de Energía Eólica, entrusted by the Federal planning ministry to the regional wind energy centre (CREE) of Chubut province, lays the foundations for the first large-scale national development in this field. The Plan involves the compilation of a national wind map as well as the construction of numerous wind farms, with an aggregate capacity of around 300 MW to be installed by about three years’ time.

The first stage of the plan consists of the implementation of the ‘Winds of Patagonia’ project, which involves the construction of a wind park of 50-60 MW in the vicinity of Comodoro Rivadavia, Chubut; later stages envisage the erection of similar parks in the provinces of Santa Cruz, Buenos Aires, Río Negro, Neuquén, La Rioja and San Juan. In the long term, the public and private projects identified so far have an aggregate capacity of approximately 2 000 MW.