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Published: 01 October 2007 01 October 2007
Interest in WWEC 2007 reflects importance of wind energy in Latin America

ImageThe 6th World Wind Energy Conference & Exhibition (WWEC), which will be organised by the WWEA and the Argentine Wind Energy Association, is attracting much interest from Latin America and worldwide. International and regional companies will meet to take the necessary steps for the creation of strong domestic wind industries and related industrial capacities.

By Stefan Gsänger, Secretary General, World Wind Energy Association
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Most of the Latin American countries are currently facing a serious shortage of electricity. Especially in the WWEC 2007 host country, Argentina, more and more companies are seriously affected by power shortages and blackouts and are therefore willing to invest in domestic renewable energy capacities such as wind energy. In Argentina 200MW of wind farms have been authorised by the national wholesale market regulator, CAMESSA, to be installed as a first step on the Atlantic coastline of Buenos Aires province. These will help meet the energy needs of those companies directly affected by power shortages.

In the neighbouring country Brazil the wind market started its take-off in the year 2006 with 208MW of new installations and a total installed capacity of 237MW. Since the introduction of the Brazilian Renewable Energy Incentive Programme PROINFA, Brazil has become the number one wind country in Latin America, with power purchase agreements for, in total, 1,423MW. The most critical aspect of PROINFA is the requirement that wind farms must contain a minimum of 60% domestic content.

Mexico, with a current installed capacity of 85MW, has set up a national target of 4,000MW for the year 2014. Further countries in Central and South America and in the Caribbean have started setting up favourable frameworks for wind energy utilisation on a large scale.

One general major challenge for the Latin American wind markets will be the establishment of domestic wind industries and manufacturing capacities within the region. The actual worldwide shortage of wind turbines affects the region greatly because only limited manufacturing capacities have been set up so far.

WWEC 2007, as the first major international wind energy event ever held in Latin America, will offer possibilities for companies and political decision-makers to discuss strategies on how to answer these challenges through favourable political frameworks and industry partnerships. High-level delegates from all over the world will contribute their first-hand experiences and enable the Latin American countries to boost their domestic wind industries.

Several leading international and domestic wind turbine manufacturers, actual and potential wind farm operators like electricity cooperatives, as well as wind farm developers will attend WWEC 2007 to establish new joint ventures and further cooperation in order to develop the emerging Latin American wind markets.
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