by Wind Empowerment Coordinator, Jon Leary
Last week I had the pleasure of travelling down to Cutral-Có to meet with our kind hosts at INTI and the Municipality of Cutral-Có and spread the word about what is in store next month. In fact, WEPatagonia2016 is just one part of what will be happening in ‘La Semana de la Eólica’ or the ‘Week of Wind Power’.
Running in parallel with WEPatagonia2016 will be:
- CYTED Forum – an international conference bringing together small wind experts from across Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula.
- Globe Renewable Energy Fair – a trade fair to showcase Argentine renewable energy businesses.
Although these three events will be running in parallel, there are many points where their schedules cross over, allowing participants from each event to join together.
It was inspiring to hear the story of Cutral-Có, a city heavily dependent on the oil industry, but determined to carve a more sustainable path for its citizens in the future by investing heavily in the renewable energy industry. The Municipality of Cutral-Có has formed strategic alliances with national institutions such as INVAP and INTI in order to facilitate this transition. Through the creation of the Parque Técnologico, where the Week of Wind Power will take place, small wind manufacturing and certification can now take place in Cutral-Có, creating local jobs and building the city’s reputation as a renewable energy centre in the windswept Patagonian region.
In fact, dependence on oil extraction and the boom and bust economies that this creates is a common story across Patagonia, as much of the region is “blessed” with significant oil and gas reserves. However, the region also boasts some of the world’s best wind resources, with miles of wide open windswept plains without a single tree in sight (or if there is, it will be bent over at almost 90 degrees). Hopefully other Patagonian towns and cities will soon see the light and choose to follow in Cutral-Có’s footsteps by investing their oil revenue in building a sustainable renewable energy industry.
Find out more about the pre-launch event: