Nearly a decade of wind energy production in the DR: More investment and jobs

The bounties of nature endowed the Dominican Republic with ideal places for the production of renewable energy and the generation of jobs, but it took time to realize it. The recent groundbreaking of the renewable energy company Poseidon, for the expansion of the second stage of the Los Guzmancito Wind Farm in Puerto Plata, reminds us of the beginnings of wind energy generation in the national territory.

It was October 11, 2011, and with the Los Cocos Wind Farm, the Dominican Republic became part of the world wind map.

At that time, then President Leonel Fernández assured that the island would begin a path that would lead it to have 5.4 percent of its energy matrix derived from wind by 2013, and although this estimate was not reached, the interest of investors to date indicates that we are doing well.

The most recent investment in the Los Guzmancito Wind Farm contemplates the construction of 13 new turbines in addition to the 16 already installed, with an investment of US$128 million.

The total investment in this project is US$258 million of Dominican capital by Grupo Energético 23 (GE23), and of foreign capital by STOA, the Renewable Energy and Infrastructure investment arm of the French government’s Pension Fund administrator.

The commissioning of the new turbines offers new hope for the sector: it will double the park’s clean energy generation and generate thousands of jobs during the year-and-a-half installation process.

The generation of jobs is one of the positive aspects of generating renewable energy; the other is that, in addition to having a lower environmental impact, it makes it possible to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

With the installation of wind farms, the Dominican Republic avoids the emission of more than 300,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and stops importing some 900,000 barrels of oil per year, which is essential in the effort against climate change.

Decades ago, energy production in the Dominican Republic was mainly based on petroleum derivatives (about 88%), followed by water, through hydroelectric plants (9%) and coal (3%).

Today, thanks to the projects inaugurated to date, the proportion of more environmentally friendly energies is greater. In 2016, in the first five years of wind power generation, the country had produced more than 1 billion kilowatt hours of clean energy with the Los Cocos and Larimar wind farms of Empresa Generadora de Electricidad Haina (EGE Haina).

In addition, it had achieved that four percent of its entire installed capacity of electricity generation was wind, but it was still a very limited production with ample possibilities for future growth.

By that time, with its Los Cocos and Larimar wind farms, EGE Haina was positioned as the national leader in wind energy and produced 94% of the country’s non-conventional renewable energy. In five years, it had avoided the emission of 750,000 tons of CO2, and saved the country from importing 1.7 million barrels of oil.

EGE Haina operates in a partnership with the Government, “being the main mixed public-private company in the Dominican Republic, with assets, investment and contribution to the State, which receives 75% of the profits from the sale of electric energy of this company. The investment for the installation of the four wind farms it operates amounts to US$400 million and its activity allows it to produce 590,000 megawatt hours per year.

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