Argentina’s Genneia expanding renewables park

Bnamericas Published: Monday, January 03, 2022

Argentine renewable energy solutions player Genneia is edging toward the 1GW installed renewables capacity milestone.

The company has 784MW of wind capacity and 82MW of solar farms. Another 80MW, corresponding to solar project Sierras de Ullum, was due to enter the construction phase last month.

Genneia’s operational solar portfolio comprises the Ullum solar complex in sun-blessed San Juan province, home to the Sierras de Ullum project. The price tag is around US$60mn and last month the company placed two green bonds in the local market for the equivalent of US$67mn.

Sierras de Ullum, whose output will be used by the business sector, will comprise around 150,000 bifacial panels. The plant is expected to come online by the end of the year.

In terms of wind capacity, Genneia generates about 20% of the country’s total in this segment. The company has seven wind parks: Rawson, Trelew, Madryn, Chubut Norte, Villalonga, Pomona and Necochea.

Argentina, however, needs to build out transmission capacity to allow a major ramp-up of renewables. 

Amid factors such as restricted access to financing and macroeconomic uncertainty, some renewable projects with capacity assigned have stalled. Last month the government established a mechanism to help free up electric power transmission capacity. The measure targets renewable energy projects that have stalled, and those that have registered advances, following the economic crisis that erupted in 2018.

Existing infrastructure only permits renewables to meet up to around 12% of demand, below the 20% target established in law for 2025, according to a sector report produced by Argentine renewables chamber Cader and the local office of professional services company KPMG, with support from the British embassy in Buenos Aires.

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In a 2022 outlook report, Argentine wind power chamber CEA said demand under term market Mater outstripped supply but that members were “making important efforts to expand their installed capacity, taking advantage of the transport capacity available on the transmission lines, which is very scarce.”

Four solar projects, for a total of 40MW, are due to come online in Argentina this quarter, according to a report from wholesale power market administrator Cammesa. They correspond to plants awarded in rounds 2 and 3 of the RenovAr renewable energy auctions and Mater, which allows large users to directly contract power supply from renewables players.

The four plants are 5MW Helios Santa Rosa (Mendoza province, RenovAr round 3), 10MW Tinogasta Tozzi (Catamarca province, RenovAr round 3), 8MW Cura Brochero (Córdoba province, Mater) and 17MW Cura Brochero (Córdoba province, RenovAr round 2).

Elsewhere on the renewable energy map, local player Pampa Energía has previously said it wanted to expand its 53MW Pepe III wind farm by 60-80MW. 

Cammesa recently granted the expansion project – De la Bahia – 36MW of dispatch priority. Output will be sold via a private PPA under Mater.

Built in Buenos Aires province, Pepe III was commissioned in 2019.

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