The Latin America subsidiary of New York–based power generation company ContourGlobal will be the first to deploy utility-scale wind farms in Peru, where the government’s Renewable Energy Resource (RER) program is a core element of a national sustainable development strategy. ContourGlobal Latam SA has begun construction of the two wind farms with a combined nameplate capacity of 114 megawatts (MW) — one Cupisnique in the La Libertad region of the Capasmayo province, and the other in Talara in the Piura region of the Talara province, according to a ContourGlobal news release.
ContourGlobal expects to invest some $250 million to develop the two wind farms, which when completed will be the largest in South America outside of Brazil. Acquired from Energia Eolica SA. The clean, renewable power produced will be sold under Peru’s RER program as per 20-year power purchase agreements denominated in US dollars.
Wind Power to Help Shape Sustainable Development in Peru
ContourGlobal Latam has signed an engineering, procurement, and construction contract with Vestas to build the two wind farms, both of which include a new substation and transmission line to interconnect with Peru’s national grid.
Due to begin producing clean, renewable electricity in 2013’s fourth quarter, 45 Vestas V-100 1.8-MW wind turbine generators are to be erected at the Cupisnique wind farm about 1,095 km (~680 mi) from Lima, Peru’s capital. The Talara wind farm, about 670 km (~416 mi) from Lima, will make use of 17.
“We are very excited to be the first power company to enter the wind generation market in Peru,” ContourGlobal president and CEO Joseph C. Brandt stated. “Cupisnique and Talara bring us into the dynamic and fast growing Peruvian economy whose continued impressive growth requires an increasing supply of reliable and low cost electricity.
“These two projects tap into Peru’s vast renewable resource potential and complement our regional generation and renewable footprint in Brazil and Colombia. We also welcome this opportunity to expand our collaboration with Montealto which will be constructing the wind farms with Vestas and has advanced the projects from early development to groundbreaking.”
Renewable Energy, Natural Capital and Economic Growth in Peru
The effects of climate change, notably the rapid shrinking of glaciers in the Cordillera Blanca, poses serious problems and challenges for Peru, whose natural capital is being depleted to fuel natural resource, export-driven economic growth. The same is true for Peru’s Andean neighbors, who also rely heavily on Cordillera Blanca glacial melt, not only for hydro power, but to meet the growing domestic demand for water for agriculture and growing urban populations.
Hydroelectric power plants provide more than 50% of Peru’s total power output. Fortunately, it has a lot in the way of renewable energy potential. It’s estimated that the Andean nation is currently tapping into just 4.7% of hydro energy potential, 0.65% of wind energy potential, 6.1% of biomass potential, and only 1% of solar energy potential.
Peru’s Legislative Decree 1002 of 2008 established renewable energy resource development as a national priority, setting a 2015 renewable energy target of 5% of electricity generation.
Photo Credit: Vestas