Cutral-Co, Neuquén province
at INTI, Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Industrial (National Industrial Technology Institute), laboratory for small wind turbine testing
INTI’s laboratory in Cutral-Co is the national authority that certifies the power curve of Argentine SWT manufacturers according to IEC standards. This is done free of charge in order to promote the small wind sector, given its significant potential for electrifying rural areas of the country. The INTI team in charge of this program have also carried out a market study of all Argentine SWT manufacturers and have now hosted 5 annual gatherings for this group. The municipality of Cutral- Co is deeply committed to this project and has therefore expressed a keen interest in hosting the Wind Empowerment conference as it will be a valuable opportunity for them to share experiences with Wind Empowerment members. As the laboratory is very well equipped, it will be of significant interest for both the Technology and Measurement WGs. As a result, a full site visit is included in the conference program (see photo below). Cutral-Co is a small city, 1.5 hours’ drive from Neuquen, which is the main city in the Patagonian region. There are many regular flights every day from Buenos Aires to Neuquen, which have an approximate duration of 1.5 hours.
Bariloche, Rio Negro province, APN
where the Administración de Parques Nacionales’, (National Parks Administration) renewable energy team is based.
APN is another national institution that manages the national parks in Argentina. These protected areas are understandably remote and as a result, most of the Park Rangers do not have access to the national grid. What is more, in most national parks, there is a local population, often of indigenous heritage, who also live without access to the national grid. As a result, they have significant potential for implementing the technology in remote areas. APN has a specific division dedicated renewable energy, which is based in Bariloche, a Patagonian city with around 250.000 people. This team installs and maintains solar and wind systems, offering training to users for operation and basic maintenance. In 2015, they installed 6 wind systems in different national parks, all based on Hugh Piggott’s design with the support of Wind Empowerment. They are planning to install another 12 similar systems in 2016, so their experience will be highly relevant to the Delivery Models and Maintenance WGs, as these are two major challenges for the success of this program in the long term. They have a small wind turbine (2.4m rotor diameter, 700W nominal power, 24V) that was installed at their Bariloche office (see photo below) by 500RPM in 2014 that will be used for the Maintenance Working Group’s practical session.