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On February 22, Globeleq Generation Limited (Globeleq), the emerging markets power company, celebrated the inauguration of Honduras’ first wind farm and the largest in the Central American region. The 102 MW Cerro de Hula (CdH) facility started commercial operation in December 2011.
The project was implemented by Globeleq Mesoamerica Energy (GME) which is 70% owned by Globeleq and 30% owned by Mesoamerica Power, a group of Central American investors managed by Mesoamerica. Globeleq is owned by Actis, the leading pan-emerging market private equity firm.
Hosted by GME, the leading renewable energy company in Central America, together with its locally owned entity, Energia Eolica de Honduras, S.A. (EEHSA), the event was attended by the Honduran President Porfirio Lobo, embassy officials from the UK, US, Spain, Costa Rica and Guatemala, key government officials, executive management from international and local organisations involved in the project, contractors, employees and members of the local community in the project area.
Located 24 kms south of the capital, the wind farm supplies the national utility, Empresa Nacional de Energia Electrica (ENEE) through a 100 MW, 20 year power purchase agreement. CdH will produce more than 360 GWh/year – enough to supply power to 150,000 Honduran households using clean and renewable power.
Mikael Karlsson, Globeleq’s CEO noted: “Adding clean and renewable wind energy has reduced the country’s reliance on expensive fossil fuels for electricity generation. The environmental and economic benefits are realised immediately, continuing to reinforce Globeleq’s commitment to sustainable development and lower greenhouse gas emissions.”
CdH is in the final stages of its submission as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol which will enable it to earn carbon credits to sell into the international carbon trading markets. CdH will be the first of wind CDM project in Honduras.
The wind farm was constructed in less than one year and well within budget. “Despite significant logistical and geographical challenges, completion of CdH was due to incredible team work, dedication and commitment by all partners involved in the project,” said Jay Gallegos, Managing Director for Globeleq Mesoamerica Energy.
He added, “The successful commissioning of this project would not have been possible without the strong support and cooperation we’ve received from our contractors, the local communities, ENEE and key members of the government of Honduras.”
Being the first wind park in Honduras, the team can appreciate the pioneering spirit and ingenuity required to reach this significant milestone. Mikael Karlsson added: “It truly has been a remarkable adventure with many obstacles and challenges overcome to reach commercial operation. Building a large infrastructure project for the first time in an area with extremely difficult terrain certainly brought out the best in the team’s resolve and dedication.”
Commenting on the inauguration, Torbjorn Caesar, Co-Head of Energy at Actis and Chairman of Globeleq said, “Actis is excited to support Globeleq’s efforts in the region and through GME, the company has unrivalled access to investment opportunities in the renewables sector. CdH is a key asset in the region, generating around six per cent of Honduras’ power.”
Using the technology and expertise of the Gamesa Wind US LLC and Iberdrola Ingenieria y Construccion Mexico consortium, crews erected 51 x Gamesa G87 2.0 MW turbines over a project area of 6,500 hectares.
During construction, 650 additional jobs were created and local businesses benefited from the increased activity. Going forward, the local communities and municipalities will receive a package of benefits valued at more than $20 million over the lifetime of the farm due to construction and operation permits and lease agreements with landowners.
Beyond the obvious economic and environmental benefits of the project, the Cerro de Hula wind project has also undertaken many social, environmental and health and safety procedures that have set the standard for the country’s future construction projects.