Wind power à la Bolivariana

A recent photo of Paraguana Wind Farm

Days before the explosion of Amuay, Paraguana and other parts of Falcon State had been suffering some prolonged blackouts. CORPOELEC didn’t point to an animal this time, they simply refused to provide any reason at all. The main source of electricity for the area is the Josefa Camejo Thermoelectric Plant, located right near Amuay. The plant went into a scheduled maintenance shutdown on August 23rd.

But Josefa Camejo can’t handle all the demand for the area by itself, so the Chavernment is redoubling efforts to put some back-up in operation: the Paraguana Wind Farm. PDVSA indicated that the farm will start generating 30 megawatts through 24 wind turbines of the Spanish company Gamesa. The main goal is to produce 100 megawatts.

Pretty curious that is PDVSA and not CORPOELEC who’s doing the work in the project. The Electric Ministry is preparing the incorporation of the farm into the national grid and has denied that those works caused the recent power failure.

When it’s completed this wind farm would be the first of its kind in Venezuela. But plans for such a project in windy, windy Paraguaná have been discussed for years, its history is filled with delays. The original foundation stone was put almost six years ago and its opening was postponed from early 2011 to the end of this year.

There’s also another wind farm been constructed in the Zulian Guajira region by Argentinian company Impsa. The CEO of IMPSA Wind, Luis Pescarmona said this in 2009: “We have confidence on President Chavez, because he treat us with care and deference.” Not hard to see why, as the cost of this project was 300 million US$. If that sounds really expensive to you, it’s because the project costs 166% as much as comparable projects elsewhere.

I’m glad that Venezuela is slowly embracing clean energy. But we have a long way to go. At this point, we’re the largest CO2 polluter of South America in per unit GDP terms. I mean, windfarms are nice and all, but don’t you think it make sense to, y’know, start charging people for gasoline, first?

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