Old wind farm near El Chalten, Argentina. A new generation of wind farms holds "massive potential."

Old wind farm near El Chalten, Argentina. A new generation of wind farms holds "massive potential."

The Christmas holiday is a great time to be in Buenos Aires: Papa Noel sightings, colorful holiday decorations and gallerias packed with last-minute shoppers. And while the sights and sounds are memorable, it’s usually the smells that leave the most lasting impression on first-timers and foreign visitors.

No matter where you are, the smoldering remnants from millions of lit fireworks on Christmas Eve and the more pleasant aromas of assorted meats grilling in backyard parrillas confirm two important things: 1.) Argentines love a good party, and 2.) There’s no shortage of stiff breezes in BA.

The frequency and velocity of winds in Buenos Aires province and other regions of Argentina are the subject of John Kennedy’s column in Renewable Energy World.com. Kennedy says there is “massive potential” for wind energy generation in Argentina; “yet wind only contributes a minuscule 0.21% to the energy mix, with a total of 30 MW installed.” This is a missed opportunity considering average annual wind speeds in many parts of the country—including Buenos Aires province—are up in the 20-30 mile-per-hour range.

While some anti-wind government barriers were enacted over the past decade, officials are beginning to take a more pro-wind posture: a new, more ambitious target aims for 8% wind contribution to the energy mix by 2016. Kennedy suggests keeping an eye on three private sector players all involved with wind farms and turbines in various stages of development: NRG Patagonia, IMPSA Wind and INVAP.  (Full article)

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