Costa Rica already has 116 megawatts of wind power in the five existing wind farms, and there are several ongoing projects.

A group of Italian investors led by Valerio Catullo plans to produce wind power for the first time taking advantage of wind currents in Cañas, Guanacaste.

The initiative, called Montes de Oro Wind Project, will produce an output of 20 megawatts (MW) through eight wind turbines installed in a farm of 105 hectares.

This plan will add to the list of new projects to produce electricity from wind that are managed in pampero soil and the five that already operate in the country.

In Bagaces Guayabo three companies permits to move forward with projects in operation: Wind Guayabo, Los Leones and Don Quixote.

Los Leones are in charge of Coopeguanacaste and would be in the hills of the same name. The idea is to generate 27 MW and its entry into operation could happen in late 2013 or early 2014.

In the case of Don Quixote is a plan developed by the Public Service Company of Heredia (ESPH), also in Mogote.

The fifth project under way is called Wind Park Arenal Volcano (Pevasa) and would be settled in Tilarán Tierras Morenas. This is led by businessman Rogelio Murillo Urbina.

Ideal microclimate

Javier Esquivel, an engineer with the Environmental GO firm, said the Montes de Oro Wind Project is currently pursuing environmental sustainability.

When the National Environmental Technical Secretariat (SETENA) provides the guarantee, the interest is to cover only 1.71% of farm size of 105 hectares to install the towers whose power would be 2.5 MW each.

Esquivel said the Arenal dam creates a pond that makes it easier to have an ideal microclimate in Cañas canton favoring winds on record.
More powerful equipment will be installed that will make fewer towers, but taller.

Valerio Catullo, analyzed whether they would need to invest in a substation located 500 meters from the engine room. Or, take the transmission line to the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity’s substation in Garabito.

The three wind farms that are intended to operate in Bagaces Guayabo come to accompany the Guanacaste Wind Central, opened in last May with a capacity of 50 MW.

The first of these developments farms is Los Leones which will generate 27 MW.

Eduardo Cabalceta, Coopeguanacaste engineer, explained that they are at the stage of feasibility study as part of the requirements requested by Setena (National Environmental Office).

The work has two options: installing between 27 and 30 wind turbines with a capacity of 900 MW or about 11 with 2.5 MW power each.

“The area of Guayabo is favorable for this type of activity having to be between two volcanoes, there is no turbulence and wind conditions are ideal,” said Cabalceta.

It has estimated an investment of $60 million.

The other project the canton receives is the Bagaces Guayabo Wind, which expects the environmental endorsement.

Gustavo Echeverri told the group of entrepreneurs who make up the two companies involved takes about 15 years researching not only the scope of the winds, but the hills of Mogote and technologies associated with the wind issue.

This group hopes to soon finalize an agreement with a strategic partner to inject capital. They already own the land.

ESPH (Heredia Public Services Company), meanwhile, manages Don Quixote, which generates, in a first stage 30 MW, so plan to put between 29 and 30 towers, with a capacity of 1 MW each.

The cost of Los Leones wind turbine complex in Guayabo is approximately $60 million.$2.2 million is the average value of each turbine. Eight towers produce about 20 MW. ESPH would install 29-30 wind turbines in the project Don Quixote in Bagaces Guayabo.

$23.7 million is the estimated cost to develop the Wind Project Montes de Oro in Cañas.

116 megawatts is produced by the five wind farms in the country.

Andrés Zúñiga, engineer of the Directorate of Support in Research and Development, explained that the ESPH is giving priority to El Quijote (rather than Pevasa), because it already has secured the connection to the ICE, by Mogote substation.

In Guayabo ESPH is in partnership with the owner of the farm, Jorge Campos, who maintain a confidentiality agreement.

So far, in this town bagaceña, the only electricity generating wind is the Wind Guanacaste, but there are five geothermal with ICE in charge.

Gabriela Mendez, Deputy Mayor Bagaces, said the community welcomes these investments, not only because they are friendly and clean energy, but a source of employment and even become a tourist attraction.

“We find it important to achieve proper management of environmental and social impact. The Guanacaste Wind Project experience has been very good,” he said.

Against the Giants

The upper parts of Guanacaste has become famous for renewable energy generation.

In Tejona and Tilarán Ranchitos, ICE operates turbines since the late 90’s.

This time the company also began producing operations Windmills Arenal SA (Movas), private equity, with a 20 MW wind farm in Tierras Morenas. More recently installed one on Blue Ravine, owned by the Wind farms of Costa Rica company.

Now two initiatives are considered: Pevasa and the expansion by ICE of the Tejona complex to generate 20 MW.

The latter would come into operation next year and is part of the policy of the institution to obtain all electricity through clean energy sources (water, steam, wind, biomass and solar) by 2012.

In case of Pevasa, the plant will have between 10 and 20 turbines, depending on the power capacity of each.

Rogelio Murillo said the goal is to produce at least 12 to 15 MW.

However, it is still on technical analysis and they will determine if the number of towers and power. The site, Murillo said, is suitable for 32 towers.

In last December Setena asked the company to present the environmental impact study.

El Quixote will be located on a farm owned by José Antonio Mejías, with whom there is a preliminary contract of sale. It has an area of nearly 24 hectares and facing the Movas wind farm.

Andres Zuniga of ESPH said Pevasa entity that signed a letter of intent, which is committed to developing the wind measurement campaign.

Await the results of the feasibility study to decide if it’s worth participating in this initiative.

While Guanacaste stands today as the birthplace of wind projects, other areas of the country also have other initiatives.

Two cases stand out: the National Company of Electricity and Power (CNFL) in Pavilion Santa Ana and the Rural Electrification Cooperative of Los Santos (Coopesanta) in this region. The CNFL one includes 17 towers with a capacity of 950 kilowatts each for a total of 15.3 MW. Coopesanta will have 15 turbines for 13 MW of annual production. In any case the goal is to provide more clean energy to Costa Rica.

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