Wind Power Blowing Stronger in Central America
Honduras has become home to Central America’s largest wind farm. The 102 MW Cerro de Hula facility, which started commercial operation in December 2011, is also Honduras’ first wind farm. Cerro de Hula will produce more than 360 GWh/year, which is enough to supply power to 150,000 Honduran households using clean and renewable energy.
The project was implemented by Globeleq Mesoamerica Energy (GME) which is 70% owned by Globeleq and 30% owned by Mesoamerica Power, a group of Central American investors managed by Mesoamerica. Globeleq is owned by Actis, a private equity firm.
The inauguration was a high-profile affair, having been attended by the Honduran President Porfirio Lobo, embassy officials from the UK, US, Spain, Costa Rica and Guatemala, key government officials, executive management from international and local organizations involved in the project, contractors, employees and members of the local community in the project area.
Located 15 miles south of the capital, the wind farm supplies the national utility, Empresa Nacional de Energia Electrica (ENEE) through a 100 MW, 20-year power purchase agreement.
“Adding clean and renewable wind energy has reduced the country’s reliance on expensive fossil fuels for electricity generation. The environmental and economic benefits are realized immediately, continuing to reinforce Globeleq’s commitment to sustainable development and lower greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mikael Karlsson, Globeleq’s CEO.
Cerro de Hula is in the final stages of its submission as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol which will enable it to earn carbon credits to sell into the international carbon trading markets. The farm will be the first of wind CDM project in Honduras.
The wind farm was constructed in less than one year and within budget. Jay Gallegos, managing director for Globeleq Mesoamerica Energy, said that despite significant logistical and geographical challenges, timely completion of the wind farm was due to incredible team work, dedication and commitment by all partners involved in the project. “The successful commissioning of this project would not have been possible without the strong support and cooperation we’ve received from our contractors, the local communities, ENEE and key members of the government of Honduras,” he said.
The farm comprises 51 x Gamesa G87 2.0 MW turbines over a project area of 6,500 hectares. 650 additional jobs were created during construction. Besides, the local communities and municipalities will receive a package of benefits valued at more than $20 million over the lifetime of the farm due to construction and operation permits and lease agreements with landowners.
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.
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