El Salvador has announced plans to hold its second renewable energy auction as is looks to increase the share of sustainable energy sources in its electricity mix.
El Salvador’s National Energy Council announced plans to auction 150 MW of renewable energy projects, with targets for operation by 2018. The South American country conducted its last renewable energy auction in 2014, when it offered 100 MW capacity of which 94 MW capacity was allocated to solar power projects. In the 2014 auction, 26 companies placed bids to set up solar power projects, though only three were eventually awarded the projects. The largest project of 60 MW was awarded to a joint venture of French developer Neoen and local conglomerate Almaval to electricity under a 20-year power purchase agreement at a tariff of US$0.10 per kWh.
Also, UDP Proyecto La Trinidad and Solar Reserve Development secured rights to develop 14 MW and 20 MW solar PV power projects, respectively. Both the companies quoted a tariff bid of US$0.12 per kWh.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) will assist El Salvador in conducting this most recently announced auction. The Agency is optimistic about the future of renewable energy in the country. According to a recent assessment (PDF) by USAID, El Salvador could add 170 MW of solar power capacity by 2016, 40 MW wind energy capacity by 2017, 81.5 MW biomass-based power capacity by the end of this year, and 146 MW hydro power capacity and 102 MW geothermal capacity by the end of 2021.
In 2014, hydro power, geothermal and biomass-based power projects supplied 59% of El Salvador’s electricity while the balance came from fossil fuels.
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