The Ecuadorian government is building the highest wind farm in the world as it is located at 2,720 meters above sea level. The project, which is being finalized, is being developed in the Loja province (south of the country) and will be capable of supplying 25% of the province’s energy demand. The 11 1.5 MW wind turbines will total 16.5 MW and will operate with windspeeds up to 12.6 m / s. Furthermore, works are underway to build a substation to increase voltage from 34.5 to 69 kilovolts , a Sub- Transmission Line from Villonaco Substation to Loja Substation and an interpretation center dedicated to research and technical training.
The Chinese Goldwin wind turbines which are being installed in the Villonaco wind farm will avoid the emission into the atmosphere of about 38 000 tonnes of CO2, and diesel fuel importations for thermoelectric generation worth 13 million dolars. Jorge Correa, Goldwin’s representative, stated the wind farm will enter into operation by the end of September.
After the installation of this site, a second stage will be undertaken including the installation of at least 30 additonal towers. Altogether the additional generation capacity could cover between 45% and 60% of the energy demand in Loja. In terms of environmental impact, the land where the towers stand is currently being regenerated. To this end, the same species of plants existing in the area before having been removed to open path to the site and lift the towers are being reseeded. The area where the project stands is sparsely populated and the company is further committed to rehabilitate a stretch of the old road crossing near the wind farm.
The Ecuadorian government has funded the installation of the park through a credit line from China Development Bank. This investment guarantees an annual energy production of 59.57 GWh.
Goldwin’s recruitment policy has been to train local technicians for the installation of this wind farm as for others, both in Ecuador and the rest of South America. Outsourcing of various local companies has favored the Ecuadorian government”scommitmentaswellasthefacilityoperationality.
Accordingto Goldwin, Ecuador is a country that offers good conditions, especially for investment opportunities in the development of alternative energy projects. The professionalism and commitment of the Ecuador workforce are an additional advantage of the investment security.
Wind energy generated annually replaces a thermally generated power requiring the purchase of diesel fuel which involves savings of $ 13 million per year, thereby avoiding the emission of 35,270 tonnes of CO2 from greenhouse gases per year.
Theprojectwillcover25%oftheannualenergy consumption of the Province of Loja. Likewise it will supply 68.7% of the peak hour demand in Loja Canton and 40% of demand in the concession area of the Southern Regional Electricity Company. (Loja, Zamora and part of Morona Santiago).
In addition, the social benefits are targeted around 90% for local jobs, creating 257 direct jobs and 760 indirect jobs.