NotiEn - A Newsletter on Energy Policy Issues in Latin America
May 5th, 2011Vol 2, Issue 7

Uruguay & Chile Commit to Wind Power; Mexico seeks refineries in U.S.

A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR

Both Uruguay and Chile have recently taken steps to expand their wind-energy capabilities, but there are differing perceptions on how committed each country is to this type of renewable energy.

 

In the case of Uruguay, the country has made a full commitment to include wind energy as an integral part of its energy matrix. In April 2011, President José Mujica's administration signed a number of agreements and opened bids for the private sector to build several wind parks in the next four years that will allow the country to add 500 megawatts of energy produced by the generous winds that sweep across almost the entire territory.  The option, according to experts, is one of life or death, because the country has almost exhausted its hydroelectric-power-generation capabilities and must import 100% of the oil it consumes.

 

Chile is gradually plugging wind power into its otherwise conventional electricity grid. In February, French multinational GDF Suez cut the ribbon on five new generators for its Monte Redondo wind park in the Coquimbo Region, roughly 325 km north of Santiago. With the expansion, Monte Redondo now boasts an installed capacity of 48 MW.

 

Given that, until four years ago, Chile had just a single wind-power facility in operation (a 2 MW, three-windmill station in the far southern Aysén region), growth of the wind sector has been rapid.  The country's wind-power capacity has increased more than eightyfold since 2007, when Endesa opened the country's first proper wind farm, the 18.2 MW Canela I in coastal Coquimbo.

Read more...

 

Carlos Navarro - Editor   

In This Issue...
A Note From the Editor
Uruguay Banks on Wind Power
Wind Power Present, Not Prodigious in Chile's Energy Market
State-run Oil Company PEMEX Looking into Purchase of Oil Refineries in U.S.
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Uruguay Banks on Wind Power
By Andrés Gaudín 

Little more than two years after initiating a wind-energy pilot project, Uruguay has made a decisive commitment to substantially change its energy matrix.  In April, besides sealing various agreements, it held a series of invitations for bids to offer the private sector--national or international--contracts to build several wind parks in the next four years that will allow the country to add 500 megawatts of energy produced by the generous winds that sweep across almost the entire territory.

 

Since the first project was inaugurated in October 2008 by the Argentine firm Nuevo Manantial, which contributes 10MW of installed capacity to the state-owned Usinas y Tramsmisiones Eléctricas (UTE) network, the South American country has followed a fertile path in search of incorporating nonconventional, nonpolluting energies--including solar, biomass, biofuel--that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, the determinant factor in climate change.


Country's small size, population facilitate alternative energy

With the 500 MW that the UTE and private firms from Spain, Germany, France, and Argentina will produce, Uruguay is taking advantage of having only 3.4 million people, limited industry, and small cities, which should allow the country to satisfy its needs gradually, phasing in smaller-sized projects.  Read more...

 

Wind Power Present, Not Prodigious in Chile's Energy Market - By Benjamin Witte-Lebhar 

Little by little, Chile is plugging wind power into its otherwise conventional electricity grid.  So far, however, the sector's contribution to the overall electricity supply remains minimal, leading some analysts to question whether the country's private energy providers are really ready to welcome the proverbial winds of change.

 

Chile added the latest piece of its power puzzle this past February, when French multinational GDF Suez cut the ribbon on five new generators for its Monte Redondo wind park in the Coquimbo Region, roughly 325 km north of Santiago.  With the expansion, Monte Redondo now boasts an installed capacity of 48 megawatts.

 

GDF Suez, the world's largest utility, is Chile's fourth-leading electricity provider after Italian-owned Endesa; AES Gener, a US firm; and Colbún, a Chilean company.  Together the four companies control more than 75% of the country's total power supply, estimated at roughly 15,700 MW.

 

"We congratulate initiatives like the Monte Redondo wind park because they contribute to Chile's development with clean energy, using modern and environmentally friendly technologies," said Mining and Energy Minister Laurence Golborne during the Feb. 8 inauguration ceremony.  Read more...


State-run Oil Company PEMEX Looking into Purchase of Oil Refineries in U.S.
By Carlos Navarro  

The state-run oil company PEMEX is exploring the possibility of acquiring a partial or full share of at least one refinery in the US to increase its processing capacity and boost the domestic supply of gasoline. The move would complement the government's  plan to construct the Refinería Bicentenario in Hidalgo state. The refinery, which would have the capacity to process 250,000 barrels per day, had originally been planned to begin operations in 2015, but PEMEX has deferred construction of the facility and has given no clear explanation for the delay.

 

The company has had some internal conversations about acquiring refinery capacity in the US, but the proposal became public in early March when PEMEX director Juan José Suárez Coppel mentioned the possibility in an interview with Bloomberg news service. This would be an important strategic move for PEMEX, which is looking to acquire "significant" refining assets in the US, said Suárez Coppel.

 

Market Conditions Ideal

PEMEX is likely to move quickly on these transactions because of ideal market conditions, with the possibility that more than one facility would be acquired. Suárez Coppel declined to identify potential targets, but several multinational oil companies, including Chevron Corp., Murphy Oil, and BP Plc, have placed refining facilities on the US Gulf Coast on the market.  Read more...

 

LA-ENERGAIA
Energy Policy, Regulation and Dialogue in Latin America

 

NotiEn is an original newsletter with breaking news that analyzes and digests relevant and contemporary information in energy, alternative energy and energy policies in Latin America. A complimentary service provided by the University of New Mexico as part of LA-ENERGAIA Project funded by the US TICFIA Program