Vilcabamba, Loja Province, Ecuador
Ecuadorian company Villonaco Wind Power, 80%-owned by Canadian alternative energy generator Protocol Energy, is scheduled to begin construction of a 15MW wind park this month in Ecuador's Loja province, Protocol chairman and CEO Thomas Logan told BNamericas.
Villonaco is 20%-controlled by Loja province-owned generator Enerloja.
Operations are scheduled to commence November-December 2006 on schedule.
So far all funding for the US$26mn project has been provided by Logan and a private placement of up to 1.6 million shares at CDN$0.50/share, which is 50% completed.
Several companies submitted bids to manufacture the wind turbines last May. Villonaco has narrowed the field down to two companies, Spanish wind power firm Gamesa Eólica and German wind power equipment manufacturer Nordex, and should announce its decision this month, Logan said.
The turbine tender does not only pertain to this venture but also to two additional investment phases in the country, the second of which is a 30-65MW wind farm in the feasibility stage, with construction scheduled for the first half of 2007. The third investment phase is a 25-40MW expansion of the Villanoco wind farm.
The second level of Protocol's strategy is to launch a wind project in Peru and/or Chile, with internal studies indicating that execution of a 125-150MW program would be appropriate in Chile for 2007.
"Along the Andes in Ecuador, Peru, and Region I and II in Chile you're dealing with a wind regime that blows, in the case of Ecuador, with a median speed of 12.5m/s, so about 80% better than the best wind in Canada. But more importantly, it blows at that level for 13 hours/day," Logan said, adding that the turbines will continue turning 24 hours a day.
The company aims to sell power to mining companies "simply because miners are energy hogs. The average mine has operating costs that are 20% energy-related. They all have the same requirements, which is a stable and guaranteed source of energy at a reasonable price, and wind does that," Logan said.
Within four years Protocol aims to generate 400-500MW of wind, geothermal, biomass and run-of-the-river hydro power through its global endeavors, which have an initial focus in Latin America.
Original BN Americas Article