Ecuador’s government will launch an auction for large-scale renewable energy projects at the end of July, through which it intends to allocate around 500 MW of power generation capacity.
In a statement to pv magazine, Carlos St. James, a board member of Latin American & Caribbean Council on Renewable Energy (LAC-CORE) that is advising the Ecuadorian government on the procurement exercise, said there will be three separate rounds: one for two wind power projects, the Villonaco II and Villonaco III, with a capacity of 46 MW and 56 MW respectively; another one for the 200 MW El Aromo solar photovoltaic project; and a third one for two dozen smaller wind, solar and small hydro projects with a combined capacity of 200 MW.
“There will also be a separate round for the Galapagos Islands with small projects and storage,” he further explained.
Selected projects will be granted a 25-year PPA, while the sole off-taker of the generated energy will be Ecuador’s state-owned utility Corporacion Electrica de Ecuador, S.A. (CELEC). “Lowest bid offers coupled with quickest commercial operation (COD) dates will win,” St. James added. “Prices should be in line with auctions that were recently held in Argentina,” he also said.
The projects will be built under the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) mode, and after the PPA expires, CELEC will become the facilities’ owner. A private investor meeting will be organized by LAC-CORE at the end of August in the Ecuadorian capital Quito.
CELEC currently has an installed power generation capacity of around 6.4 GW, consisting of 70% hydropower and 30% thermal. According to the latest statistics of the International Renewable Energy Agency, Ecuador had an installed PV capacity of only 26 MW. Most of this capacity comes from a 20 MW project which was commissioned in 2014. This means that not a single utility-scale solar plant has been connected to the country’s grid over the past five years.