Argentina “mini” renewables auction moves forward

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Argentina’s Secretariat of Energy has received 56 bids for the fourth round – confusingly called Ronda 3 – of the RenovAr auction scheme for large scale renewable energy projects.

The proposals, estimated to represent around $520 million of investment, are for projects in 14 provinces said the secretariat, part of the Ministry of Finance.

Launched in September, Round 3 of RenovAr program aims to procure projects nationwide, to be connected in medium and low voltage networks of 13.2, 33 and 66 kV. The maximum project generation capacity is 10 MW, with a minimum output of 500 kW. Due to the smaller size of project the procurement round has been dubbed the “mini Ronda.”

The exercise marks an about-turn by the government, which had announced a freeze on renewables auctions until grid constraints were eliminated.

Smaller projects

Ronda 3 is expected to bring online 400 MW of renewable energy generation capacity, with 350 MW of it from solar and wind facilities. Another 50 MW will be allocated between biomass, with 25 MW, small hydro and biogas (10 MW each), and landfill biogas (5 MW).

The auction has established a limit of 20 MW per province with the exception of populous Buenos Aires, which has a 60 MW ceiling. Expansion of existing facilities will not be considered.

The successful projects will be awarded on July 22. From July 29, projects will begin to sign PPAs with the Electricity Wholesale Market Administrator Company S.A.

Fifth round this year

The fifth round of the scheme – named Ronda 4 thanks to an earlier Ronda 1.5 exercise – is expected this year and will include grid infrastructure projects along with large scale solar and wind facilities.

Under the first three rounds of the RenovAr program 1.7 GW of solar capacity was allocated. In the last auction the lowest price for solar was $0.0404/kWh, with the highest and average prices $0.0523 and $0.0435, respectively.