January 2013

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Together with the projects in Chile and Uruguay I’ve been involved lately in several wind farm developments in Jordan. Currently the country has a near-zero wind energy production, but due to his very strong dependency on energy import (more than 95% of the demand, absorbing about 13% of the GDP) committed to an ambitious plan to add up to 700 MW of power from renewable sources.

The target, according to the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Law voted in January 2010, is 10% power generation from renewable in 2020. That is around 2.3 GWh, of whom about 1 GWh from Wind. We are already late to reach it, but something is moving.

Among other things, the Renewable Energy Law  allows the ministry to negotiate with investors directly, bypassing a competitive bidding process, and allow to sell electricity generated by renewable energy back to the national grid.

In December 2012 a feed-in tariff of USD 0.12/ kWh has been introduced by the local electricity regulatory commission, stimulating the appearance of Direct Proposal on behalf of several developers. Due to the low expertise only a few developers are local, and including a not so aggressive target of 15% local content (needed to improve the tariff) may be hard to reach.

No international tender like the Mega Moroccan tender has currently been done.

Lenders, as often in these cases, are big international financial institution (World Bank, Gulf Cooperation Council, Global Environment Facility and several other banks consortiums). They are founding not only wind energy, but also solar (concentrated and photovoltaic).

Projects reasonably advanced in the pipeline are Kamsheh (40 MW) and Fujeij (90 MW). Fujeij has already a shortlist of 8 developers.

There are also voices about a 200MW wind farm to be done by energy company Nareva in partnership with International Power. Nareva (ONA conglomerate) is controlled by the Moroccan royal family.

The wind potential of the country has been studied in collaboration with RISO, producing the Jordan Wind Atlas:

You can read more about the wind energy potential of the country here: Wind Energy Potential of Jordan

Here an older document on the subject: Wind energy in Jordan - use and perspectives

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After my trip to Uruguay I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Chile, another promising destination in South America. The country enjoys a high GDP growth, with controlled inflation and a stable regulatory framework, and it’s a place where several big players are betting.

We are ending the construction of Talinay, a 90 MW EPC wind farm I’ve worked at together with my team. Initially developed with Vestas money it has recently been acquired by ENEL Green Power, a Utility that is active in the local market with several other projects such as Valle de Los Vientos. The money comes from the Denmark's Export Credit Agency and (at least as far as I know) no PPA has been signed.

This is a peculiarity of the Chilean energy market: several developers are working on projects without power purchase agreement, selling on a merchant basis at the spot price of energy (right now around 80 $/MWh).

Other financial solutions do exist: Irish developer Mainstream Renewable Power, with many active projects, is using Chinese financing and Chinese turbines (Goldwind, of course). Pattern Energy has signed a long-term power-purchase agreement (PPA) with Antofagasta Minerals (a mining company). They are not alone: copper, the commodity that is moving the whole economy, has energy intensive extraction, and this model will be probably replicated in the future.

The strong economic growth justify this approach, as the energy demand is increasing while several mega-project have been stopped due to environmental problem and lack of popular support, like the HidroAysén dam developed by ENEDSA/ENEL  in the Patagonia region.

From a construction point of view, local prices are sky high (concrete and steel sells at around 1.5 to 2 times the European price) and salaries of skilled laborers are growing unstoppably. The good news is that you don’t have to build hundreds of kilometers of high voltage lines, because due to the peculiar geography of the country the main electrical line is always nearby.

You can learn more on http://www.centralenergia.cl/proyectos/mapa-de-centrales-proyectadas/

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