Spain's Guascor To Build $2.4B Wind Farm In Argentina – Govt

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Spanish energy company Grupo Guascor will build a $2.4 billion wind power park in southern Argentina, which could be the largest in the world, a Planning Ministry official told Dow Jones Newswires Monday

The wind power plant will produce between 600 and 900 megawatts. The plant will be twice the size of the largest plant operating in Europe, according to the state news agency Telam reported, which cited Guascor President Joseba Grajales.

Grajales said the project will take around three years to complete and will boost the percentage of power generated by windmills to 5% of Argentina’s energy matrix.

The Planning Ministry official said the wind park will be producing 300MW by the end of 2010 and the rest will be operational by the end of 2011.

“Private Spanish funds will be responsible for 100% of the investment,” the Ministry official said.

The power will be sold to local industry, Grajales said, adding that funding will come from local and international investors, including 30% from Guascor itself.

The project would entail a sudden and remarkable turnaround in the fortunes not just of the wind power industry in Argentina, but of the wider power sector, which has been beset by unfriendly pricing structures, excessive bureaucracy and a lack of access to credit.

Argentina has about 29MW of wind power capacity, equivalent to about 1% of the grid. Guascor could not be reached for comment.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez was expected to sign the authorization documents to purchase the land for the wind farm later Monday, according to Telam.

The plant will be built in the wind-swept Santa Cruz province, where the political career of the president and her husband, Nestor Kirchner, began.

Initial permits are being sought and construction could begin in 12 months time, Grajales said.

President Fernandez on Monday also authorized construction of a 500 kilowatt power line, without which, said Grajales, the wind farm couldn’t be built.

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