Argentina Renewable Energy – Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals to end extreme poverty by 2030 will require $4.5 trillion a year, far more than multilateral development banks or donors can provide on their own. To respond to this challenge, the World Bank Group adopted the MFD approach, which works with governments to tap into the private sector while making the best use of scarce public resources. This approach is guided by the Hamburg Principles adopted by the G20 in 2017 and builds on significant experience across the organisation.
Despite large renewable energy resources, Argentina only gets 2 percent of its energy from green energy. The government aims to install 20 per cent renewable energy by 2025 and has committed to reducing carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 as a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in the Paris Agreement. In order to achieve these goals, the government, with support from the World Bank Group, has created the Green Energy Market – an energy auction that promises to provide clean energy at radically lower prices.
In Argentina, 60 percent of electricity is produced from fossil fuels and up to 13 percent is imported. But with the right investments, the country’s renewable energy resources are ready to be developed. The challenge is to convince potential developers of the investment opportunity. Recent government efforts supported by the World Bank Group are doing just that.
The Argentine government is creating a market for renewable energy with the help of the World Bank Group. The program uses a maximum funding approach to development, using experts from across the banking group to establish an enabling environment for international investment in this key sector.
In 2015, Argentina’s electricity production cost more than $70 per megawatt hour (MWh), with the public sector paying 70 percent of it. Investments in power generation were low. That same year, the government passed legislation to increase the share of renewable energy from less than 2 percent to 20 percent by 2025. Achieving the goal would require an estimated $35 billion—a difficult task due to limited fiscal space, in wary of international investors, and Argentina’s current lack of experience in financing energy projects.
In early 2016, the government launched RenovAr with the support of the World Bank and IFC, an initiative to encourage private developers to invest significantly in renewable energy. The government has provided investment guarantees to investors. But a series of international road shows to showcase Argentina’s potential still met with reluctance among investors. To alleviate these concerns, the World Bank launched a package of guarantees to prevent the government’s own contracts.
The World Bank Group helped create a competitive market for green investments. IFC and the World Bank worked with RenovAR to design and prepare documents for the renewable energy auction, which encouraged competition by inviting participants to bid for the price at which they would sell the electricity they produced. The IFC and the World Bank also helped ensure that the auction met international standards and that bids were bankable. Guarantees were offered with the support of the World Bank to all developers with the aim of attracting enough viable applications to generate around one gigawatt (GW) of capacity each year.
The first auction, in October 2016, exceeded many expectations. The winning bidders agreed to supply more than one gigawatt of capacity at an average price of $1 per MWh – 13 percent below the 2015 price. The first auction was so successful that the government decided to hold another round a few weeks later, this time with 30 winning bids to supply more than GW of renewable energy at $54 per megawatt. The next auction, in November 2017, attracted 88 winning bids for 2 GW at $41 per MWh for wind and $42 per MWh for solar.
The IFC also directly financed two wind energy projects. These 15-year loans, denominated in US dollars, represent the repayment of a long-term international debt that has been absent in Argentina for 15 years. These efforts have inspired other development finance institutions to invest in RenovAr and have attracted renewed interest in the Argentine market from international commercial banks.
To date, 147 projects across the country have been awarded under Renovar, most of which use wind and solar energy. Together, they will generate about 5 GW of energy, about 12 percent of Argentina’s installed capacity, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7 million tons of CO2 per year. This is around 4 percent of Argentina’s CDC commitments for 2030. A reduction in air pollution also promises health benefits for the population. Energy is not only clean, but also cheap: the last auction won bids 41 percent below the 2015 price.
The initiative has attracted almost $6 billion in commitments to invest in renewable energy, a total of 11 times the World Bank guarantee. The program helps rebuild the country’s history with investors, facilitates Argentina’s ability to raise long-term financing and renews the interest of the international capital market in much-needed investments in sustainable energy.
“After the successful experience of rounds 1 and 1.5 of the RenovAr program, we are proud to have the support of the World Bank Group to confirm the path our country has taken, which guarantees the diversification of the energy matrix and mitigates change in the climate.” energy-based synthetic fuels and chemicals are a promising opportunity to accelerate Argentina’s economic development. With favorable conditions for renewable energy production, the country can build sustainable power-to-x markets, reduce import dependency and create socio-economic benefits through innovative technologies.
Why Argentina? Argentina is the second largest country in South America and natural resources are widely available. Northern Argentina has high solar radiation, while Patagonia offers air quality above the global average. As a country with relevant industry, Argentina’s workforce is skilled and research and education are well developed. Regarding hydrogen production: there is an existing domestic hydrogen market used by the steel industry and refineries for the production of ammonia and methanol; And in terms of infrastructure, the ports are already operational along with a 16,000 km long gas pipeline network.
Last but not least, Argentina’s policy makers have a strong interest in developing their hydrogen economy to achieve their climate goals. Argentina is committed to international agreements to prevent climate change and recognizes hydrogen as a key element for economic development. The country has a national policy to increase renewable energy capacity and is currently working as a basis for developing a national hydrogen strategy and launching an interdepartmental hydrogen roundtable conference.
1. Support local Power-to-X organizations to promote the development of hydrogen and Power-to-X markets
3. Support the Argentine government with technical studies and recommendations regarding the development of a regulatory framework or hydrogen strategy
If you are interested in learning more about PtX Hub’s work in Argentina, please contact Stephan Remler.
International partners: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Agora Energiewende, DECHEMA Gesellschaft für Chemische Technik und Biotechnologie e.V. (DECHEMA) Congress launched an initiative to promote renewable energy from 1% of the current energy mix, agreeing to a target of 20% by 2020, according to La Nación
Renewable energy is making progress in Argentina. Last week, after much debate, the House of Representatives approved a new law requiring the country to produce 8% of its electricity by 2017 from wind, solar or small hydropower, among other energy sources. The bill also calls for increasing this percentage to 20 percent by 2020. Developing this type of energy source is one of the most effective mitigation methods in the fight against climate change.
The goal is quite ambitious, as far as renewable energy projects are concerned, they will have to be scaled up. Today, only 1% of Argentina’s energy production mix is renewable, according to the Camesa 2014 report. But experts may see the target as insignificant considering the country’s potential.
87% of Argentina’s electricity production comes from burning fossil fuels, while the rest comes from nuclear and hydropower. Wind is currently leading the way in renewable energy production: Genneia Power Company owns the country’s largest wind farm in Rawson, Chubut. With 77 MW of installed capacity, the park produces electricity for 100,000 homes. The Arauco wind farm in La Rioja is the second largest, followed by Loma Blanca, also in Chubut, and other smaller installations.
Photovoltaic energy is another technology that is being developed. It works by generating electricity from panels that absorb solar radiation before converting it into energy. The largest solar farm is in the state of San Juan, followed by a farm in San Luis. The province of Buenos Aires has solar and wind energy projects, while biofuels made from used vegetable oil have also entered the mix.
“Legislation and enforcement will be really challenging, because we need to create a market for renewable energy from almost nothing,” said Nicholas Brown, an engineer who specializes in renewable technology. “Renewable industry and large energy users in general will also be hit hard.”
Another key aspect of the legislation is the legal requirement for heavy energy users – those using 300 kilowatts or more – to comply with the renewable energy targets included in the legislation individually. It forces them to face some of them
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