Caracas, April 10th, 2010 (ABN/Aporrea) – Venezuelan energy authorities, in collaboration with the Venezuelan Association of Wind Energy (AVEOL) are proposing the installation of wind energy infrastructure which would produce 10,000 megawatts of electricity, over the next fifteen years.
The president of AVEOL, Oswaldo Ravelo, said that they are currently offering technical talks in different universities across the country, to promote the use of the wind energy.
“We have two projects that we have presented to the Ministry of Science and Technology. One is to do a study of the whole coast in order to identify zones where we could put [wind] generation in the future, and the other is to identify what wind potential we have in the country,” Ravelo said.
The president of AVEOL said that the 10,000 megawatts would represent 10% of the projected demand in 2025, assuming an annual growth of 6%.
Generation of wind energy requires an initial investment that is much higher than conventional methods such as thermo-electric, but it represents large savings for the country in the future as it does not require fuel which could be sold in the international market.
On the subject of wind energy, the minister for electric energy, Ali Rodriguez Araque, said that in Paraguana, Falcon state, and in La Guajira, Zulia state, there are studies that indicate the possibility of producing up to 10,000 megawatts.
In Paraguana they are already constructing the first wind park, with an initial 24 wind turbines. The project came out of an agreement between PDVSA [Venezuela’s national oil company Petroleos de Venezuela S.A.] and the Spanish company Gamesa, and when it is finished it will have 76 wind turbines, with a capacity of 100 megawatts.
It is hoped in the medium term that four other wind parks will be constructed in cooperation with the Portuguese company Galp Energia, and which will be located in La Guajira, Coche Island, Margarita Island, and Chacopata, and will have a generation capacity of 72 megawatts.
Also, the Argentinian company Impsa has proposed the installation of a series of wind parks and investments which would allow for the construction of a wind turbine factory to PDVSA Industrial and to Corpoelec [Venezuela’s state owned electricity company], according to recent comments by the president of Impsa.
Nuclear and Solar
Another of the plans that the Bolivarian government is moving forward on in terms of alternative energy, is the production of electricity through nuclear energy, and has signed an agreement with Russia towards that end.
“It’s a very big step forward that Venezuela could take in an area in which we are still very new,” said the electricity minister.
He argued that the important thing is, “the peaceful application of nuclear energy and an agreement that would allow for Venezuelan scientists to obtain knowledge [about it].”
Rodriguez Araque commented that the use of nuclear energy is a source of high output, stability and very acceptable prices.
“These are advantages that Venezuela should take advantage of, because it’s not enough that we have petroleum, as this is being used less and less to generate electricity and more and more for transport,” he said.
Likewise, the national executive is working on the incorporation of solar energy through photovoltaic cells in isolated areas of the country.
“Furthermore, we are studying a very ambitious project of substituting all the electricity and gas based water heaters that we have, with solar power, because it’s absurd that in a tropical country we are consuming so much electricity and gas,” Rodriguez Araque said.
All these plans form part of the revolutionary government’s plans to seek independence from the Guri hydroelectric dam, which currently supplies [electricity to] around 70% of the population.
It is also worth noting the recent electricity shortage that Venezuela has faced over the last 6 months, due to a range of factors including a very severe drought. As a result, the government has installed a number of thermo-electric plants, which are much easier and cheaper to install in the short term, but which waste a lot of energy and contaminate.
Also, more information about the first wind farm being built in Paraguana by Gamesa, can be found in English on Gamesa’s website, here.
Translated by Tamara Pearson for Venezuelanalysis.com