Inauguration of GSEP's hybrid wind-diesel system in Chorriaca, Argentina
In a ceremony attended by some hundred people, the Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership (GSEP) inaugurated its hybrid wind-diesel system in Chorriaca, Argentina. Led by Duke Energy (USA), the public-private partnership project featured the installation of three 25 kW wind turbines and a modern 120 kW diesel generator that will provide the residents of the remote town of Chorriaca in the Argentina Patagonia with a sustainable and affordable electric service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Located at the foot of a steep hill, Chorriaca benefits from a constant wind. When demand for electricity in the community, as well as several environmental and technical issues were taken into consideration, it was found that this wind-diesel hybrid system would be the most appropriate for providing a continuous source of cleaner electricity for Chorriaca. With this new electricity, residents will be able to cook and light their houses, as well as connect small appliances. The local health care station and the primary school will also benefit from the access to modern energy services.
At the inauguration ceremony, Jorge Sapag, Governor of the Province of Neuquén – where Chorriaca is located – thanked the support from GSEP and its member companies. The Ente Provincial de Energía del Neuquén (EPEN), the local utility and distribution company, was our main local partner for the project. Their partnership was invaluable in the development of this project.
“It is great to see such a dream turn into a reality. I am very grateful to the companies and to the governor of the province for supporting this project which provides better energy to this Quilapi Mapuche community ... this is going to create new jobs and opportunities for the young people” remarked Juan Bautista Quilapi, the Lonko (Mapuche Community Chief) of Chorriaca.
The Chorriaca facility is one of the two systems completed by Duke Energy for GSEP in the Patagonia region of Argentina. The first project was commissioned in May 2013 and featured the installation of a microhydropower plant to generate electricity for the village of Cochico. The replicability potential of both projects is high. A main feature of both projects is the creation of a financial scheme that allows for the reinvestment of the generated fuel savings in other renewable energy projects in the Province of Neuquén. By providing a pilot experience, these projects can be the catalyst for greater change in other isolated communities.