Renewable Energies in Argentina: a little known opportunity

El 2 de septiembre de 2015 Idear Desarrollo estuvo presente en la Bioneregy Conference en Jyvaskyla, Finlandia. En el congreso Matias Kulfas y Evelin Goldstein realizaron una presentación sobre el artículo “Renewable Energies in Argentina: a little known opportunity”. A continuación se encuentra el abstract del artículo.

Recently, the debate related to the need of diversifying the energy matrix has been stronger in the international context, as well as that about introducing new renewable-energy-creating technologies. There are no doubts about the environmental benefits of introducing technologies for power generation with non-conventional renewable energies (NCRE).

Nevertheless, for oil-importing countries, renewable resources may also help to solve other problems. Firstly, such introduction contributes with the reduction of the dependence on fuel imports and, consequently, to the decrease of pressures on the balance of payment. Secondly, the unlimited feature of those resources helps to ensure the energy supply in such countries. Thirdly, it is possible to make more predictions about costs and prices to generate energy. And fourthly, most resources, depending on technologies used, are environment-friendly.

That is Argentina’s case. The energy demand has increased exponentially. The growth of electricity use was around 50% during last decade, while oil and gas production decreased. As a result, Argentina had to import fuels for power generation, spending US$ 13 billion only in 2013. Within this framework, the development of renewable energies in Argentina might bring multiple socio-economic advantages, not only environmental benefits.

Nowadays, the development of those energies is limited. Argentina’s energy matrix is basically made up of fossil resources: 90% of primary energy sources are natural gas and oil.

In the country, the discussion about the importance of increasing NCREs has already begun but without the strength that it has had in industrialized countries. Therefore, the development of alternative sources of energy is very incipient. NCREs in Argentina are only 0.8% of primary energy, whereas in Denmark, Finland, Germany and Sweden they amount to 20% out of the total.

Argentina presents a huge potential to develop wind and solar energy, and also to take advantage of biomass resources from forest residues. Firstly, Argentina is among the five countries with the largest potential of wind resources in the world with the technical possibility to generate 65 times the currently installed capacity. Secondly, there are different zones in Argentina with a great amount of solar radiation per area unit, such as the provinces in the north of the country, where it is possible to achieve more productivity than the average in Europe. And, thirdly, there is a low use of biomass resources for electric power generation. According to the report of FAO-INTA “WISDOM”, Argentina would have potentially-available resources for energetic use of around 148 million tons, with 124 million (37,000 KGOE) coming from commercial sources, equivalent to 50% of the primary energy supply in the country.

The aim of the study is, in first place, to analyze the projects developed in Argentina, related to renewable energies, the policies applied to foster those technologies and, finally, to show that changes in the macroeconomic context and the legal framework are expected and could alter the direction for investment in renewable energies.

 

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