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22 March 2010

ENERGY LATIN AMERICA: Moving Towards Renewables

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Argentina is building its first solar energy park in the northwestern province of San Juan. The project calls for the manufacture of photovoltaic panels to supply the rest of the country and the other member countries of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur)

In Mexico, meanwhile, plans are under way to achieve 25 percent electricity from clean and renewable sources by 2012, mostly from wind turbines.

And Brazil is also promoting the development of sources like solar, wind and tidal power.

"Humankind is on a one-way trip. We can't continue relying on fossil fuels, which are expensive, are running out, and have high costs arising from the carbon dioxide emissions that cause the greenhouse effect," explained Francisco Alcoba, president of the Argentine national government's Provincial Energy Partnership in San Juan.

This Andean province will begin construction of the San Juan I pilot photovoltaic power plant. With its 4,898 solar panels it will reach a maximum installed potential of 1.2 megawatts - energy to be sold to the national grid. This country of 40 million people currently has an electrical capacity of 22,000 megawatts.

Argentina "had isolated projects based on solar energy panels in rural areas where the electrical grid doesn't reach, but ours is the first such power plant in the country and in South America," said Alcoba.


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