By Natalia Kidd
Buenos Aires, Apr 12 (EFE).- Argentina remains heavily dependent on natural gas, but the South American is touting a sixfold increase in the proportion of energy from clean, renewable sources.
Last year, Argentina was one of seven new additions to the list of roughly 50 countries that produce more than 10 percent of their energy from wind and solar, according to a report from London-based think-tank Ember.
The energy ministry said that 13 percent of the electricity used in Argentina in 2021 was from renewables, mainly wind and solar, up from barely 2 percent in 2017.
A law enacted in 2015 set a target of producing 20 percent of power from renewables by 2025.
The 187 renewable energy projects operating in Argentina have the capacity to generate 5,181.7 MW, enough to supply 5.3 million households.
Twenty-six of those projects came online last year, boosting capacity by more than 1,004 MW.
Industry sources consulted by Efe estimated that investment in renewables in Argentina over the last five years totaled around $5 billion, with as much as $2 billion more projected between now and the end of 2024.
Argentina’s renewables sector includes a wide range of participants. Along with firms specializing in clean energy, such as Genneia, one finds state-owned YPF, pursuing a transition away from oil and gas; and even steelmakers erecting wind farms to power their plants.
“The renewable matrix will continue growing in Argentina because it has much potential. The goal of 20 percent by 2025 is achievable, though it’s not simple,” Genneia executive Gustavo Castagnino, who is vice president of the Argentine Wind-power Chamber, told Efe.
The chief obstacle to the transition is the inadequate distribution network and efforts to address that problem collide with constraints on financing and access to hard currency to pay for imported components.
“Demand from private companies to acquire energy from renewable sources to advance in the process of changing their energy matrix is enormous and includes all economic sectors, from industry to financial entities,” Castagnino said.
Despite progress, nearly 60 percent of Argentina’s installed electricity capacity is in the form of generating plants that run on natural gas.
Argentina is a gas producer, but still needs to import fuel during the Southern Hemisphere and the surge in global prices as a result of disruptions due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine is having a major impact on the country’s battered economy.
With natural gas prices as record highs, the need for Argentina to boost production of energy from wind and solar has never been more urgent, Dave Jones, global program lead with Ember, told Efe. EFE