Guatemala launches tender for 110 MW solar project

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Guatemala’s electric utility the Instituto Nacional de Electrificación (INDE) has approved the bidding terms of a tender for a 110 MW solar power project.

The decision was made on Wednesday but was not announced by INDE nor state-owned power distributor Empresa Eléctrica de Guatemala S.A. (EEGSA) or any other government body, but by the country’s Committee of Agricultural, Commercial, Industrial and Financial Associations (Cacif), which is opposing the plant.

Cacif said the project is not being built in the interest of INDE and there was no clarity on who would be responsible for the operational charges incurred by the plant for Guatemala’s power system. “Neither [were] the proceedings to set a reference price … established,” the association added.

No tender document is available on the websites of INDE, EEGSA or the Ministry of Energy and Mines. Local press reported the project, which was launched in November and could cost $100-120 million, still lacks a feasibility study.

Planned tenders

The tender appears to be unrelated to three technology-neutral energy auctions EEGSA announced in February, when it said it was preparing procurement exercises for the supply of energy. Those auctions will supply power for one, four and 15 years. In the first procurement, EEGSA plans to contract 71 MW of energy for a year, starting this month. The second and third planned rounds concern unconfirmed volumes of power and will run from next May and from 2024. “What we are looking for is competitiveness in the price,” said EEGSA manager Jorge Alonso on the company’s website.

The volume of grid connected PV capacity in Guatemala reached 91 MW at the end of June 2017, according to the latest electricity statistics made available by the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

In mid-January, the ministry published its Rural Electrification Policy 2019-2032, which was defined by the Mining Energy Planning Unit and could give more impetus to off-grid solar.