All roads lead to Argentina as OEMs lay production plans



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Argentina seems to be doing everything right. First the 2015 cross-party revision of the renewables law, then the 2016 RenovAr tender programme – which resulted in huge over-subscription and declining prices – and now global OEMs are announcing local production.

Vestas was the first to announce a nacelle and hub assembly plant. This week, Nordex Group confirmed similar plans. Under the radar, the government’s news service Telám is reporting that Siemens Gamesa is considering a plant in the Bahia Blanca port region, while Recharge has learned that China’s Goldwind has at least studied the local siting of a facility in Mendoza.

Until two years ago, Argentina was the ugly duckling of renewables in Latin America – a country with huge, 200GW-plus wind potential and high, Atacama-level solar irradiation, but one that got just 2% of its power from non-hydro renewables and with no future prospects because of a lack of policies.

Brazil, Chile, Mexico and even its tiny neighbour Uruguay were light years ahead.

Now not even its globally frowned-upon local content rules seem to cloud the sky. Even if those rules are a complex tax-benefit system, giving developers advantages if they buy turbines assembled locally with a minimum content level of 35% by 2020.

Behind this specific stimulus is the expectation that Argentina will manage to continue on the path to reach its legislated target of 20% non-hydro renewable energy supply by 2025, which the government says will require 10GW of new capacity, mostly solar and wind.