Electric generation

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Electric generation involves the conversion of primary sources of energy such as fossil fuels or wind or solar, for example, into electricity.

Most plants operate in a similar manner: a turbine is spun – by wind, steam, or the flow of water – to generate power.

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Solar PV plants convert solar energy directly into electricity, i.e., they do not need steam or turbines to operate.

In Latin America, thermal and hydro plants are king although non-conventional renewable energy sources are accounting for a growing proportion of electric generation.

There are many factors behind this, opposition, on environmental grounds, to new thermal and hydropower plants; concerns over energy security; and a fall in installation costs.

Some countries in the region have binding renewables targets.

In September 2015, for example, Argentina's lower congressional house signed into law a bill mandating that 8% of the country's electricity come from renewable sources by 2017.

By 2025 the requirement will be 20%, mirroring neighbor Chile's '20/25' mandate.

Argentina's law stipulates that large-scale energy consumers – those requiring available generation capacity of 300kW or more to meet their needs – must obtain at least 1% of their energy from renewable sources once the law takes effect. That requirement will increase 1 percentage point every six months until reaching 8%.

Prices paid by large-scale consumers for renewable energy will be capped at US$113/MWh under the law.

Acceptable renewable energy sources under the law include wind, solar, geothermal, wind, wave, tidal, hydropower up to 50MW, biomass, gases obtained from solid waste, biogas and biofuels.

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