Japan’s government has presented a 600MW wind power generation project for the Patagonia region to Argentina’s energy secretary Daniel Cameron, Argentine government news agency TelÃ¡m reported.
The prospective plant will call for the installation of 200 wind turbines with 3MW generation capacity each, covering northern Santa Cruz to southern Chubut province.
The Japanese government wants a Japanese firm to construct the turbines; possible candidates include Nissan, Honda and Toyota.
Further, the Japanese plan to install a 100m meteorological tower to measure the area’s wind over three years, the TelÃ¡m report said.
The generation plant could begin operations in 2010, following analysis of the wind data.
The government also will evaluate using the power to produce hydrogen for export to Japan.
Japanese planners will have to evaluate whether the Patagonian grid is capable of supporting such a large project before they decide to transmit power for the wholesale market, HÃ©ctor Mattio, director of Chubut wind power center (CREE), told BNamericas.
“I think as a project for hydrogen production, it is viable,” he said.
Further, negotiating the sale of the project’s carbon credits, which could generate 150Mt/y of the credits, could begin in 2008.
Argentina’s government lately has been working to stimulate ways to harness wind potential. A project this large is likely to turn investors’ heads, Mattio said.
“I think this announcement will bring investors here to study whether they want to develop projects in Argentina or not,” he said.
While Japan’s planned project may create a buzz, the recent ratification of a law providing incentives for generation using renewable sources almost certainly will bring investors to the table.
The legislation, known as law 26.190, aims to satisfy 8% of consumption from renewable sources in 10 years, which Mattio says is equal roughly 3GW.
It remains to be seen which companies will provide power to meet the goal. Among other ventures, local gas distributor Emgasud is developing a 100MW project and the government is attempting to develop the Vientos de Patagonico I and II projects in Chubut and Santa Cruz respectively, each of which would have 60MW capacity.
Furthermore, Germany’s BMW hired German wind consultant Dewi to evaluate a project similar to the Japanese government one that would produce hydrogen to be exported and used in next-generation vehicles, Mattio said.
“The projects that [groups] are trying to carry out, which are 50-60MW, are in this moment more feasible [than large-scale generation projects],” he said.
Still, Mattio said there is an ongoing study in La Rioja province for a 300MW wind generation project as well as much potential in NeuquÃ©n, RÃo Negro, CÃ³rdoba and San Luis provinces.