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Energy Commissioner calls previous tenure’s wind park permits a “sham”

Santo Domingo. – The National Energy Commission (CNE) president yesterday said that renewable energy projects were suspended because of the previous administration’s “sham” in the approvals for wind parks “without any criteria.”

Enrique Ramirez, responding to reports divulged Monday on the many wind energy projects left by the wayside, said most of the permits issued didn’t meet the Renewable Energy Law’s requirements and weren’t even in zones with enough wind. “What’s more 1,700 megawatts in concessions were issued here when the national system supports only 300 MW.”

Interviewed by newspaper El Dia, Ramirez affirmed that there were several promoters whose business was to sell illicit concessions nationwide, which upon arriving at the CNE, cancelled 500 MW of those based on analyses.

The official said the previous administration issued permits beyond what the Law allows, noting that more than 100 MW, despite that a limit of only 50 per promoter at most.

Current advance

The CNE president said during the just over one year since assuming the post has managed to set forth the 33 MW Wind Park Los Cocos (SW) set for inaugural in July, “and we’ll immediately break ground for the first expansion to 100 MW for that same project, which will be ready in March 2012.”

He said another 80 megawatts will also be added next year. “With the advances we’ve had lately we will be the country with the most renewable energy in 2012.”

Incentives to users in 2010

Ramirez revealed that to promote small scale alternative energy development (homes, businesses), Income Tax breaks of RD$80 million, or 75%, were provided for imported alternative energy equipment in 2010, adding that RD$30 million in Itebis exemptions and RD$400 million in Customs were also issued that same year.

Scandal

Although Ramirez didn’t mention him by name, the previous head of the CNE was Aristides Fernandez Zucco, now president of the Airports Commission, whose brief tenure as head of the Dominican Petroleum Refinery ended in scandal, after the release of dangerous levels of mercaptan during a purge of fuels tanks, that sent many people to the hospital.