The purpose of this project activity is to implement a 10 MW wind farm at Caracoles Hill in Maldonado, Uruguay. The Wind Farm is connected to the national electric system through a 30 kV line, approximately 20 km long.
The project uses the velocity of wind in the atmosphere to produce electric power by converting the wind’s kinetic energy into mechanical energy, which is then converted into electricity. The Caracoles Wind Farm is expected to generate 35,740 MWh of energy annually, considering a gross capacity factor of 0.48 and an estimated wind farm availability of 0.85, for a total plant factor 40.8%. The electricity exported by the wind farm displaces the electricity currently produced by the existing mix of hydroelectric and thermal generators. The greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction is achieved from the displacement of fossil-fuel-based generation in the national electric system.
The wind potential for Caracoles Hill was analyzed by the Faculty of Engineering (UDELAR) under an Agreement between the Faculty and the Ministry of Industry and Energy. In the report, dated December 2005, “Analysis of the locations to install a 10 MW wind farm”, several locations were examined but Caracoles Hill was selected among the various other places because of the high wind potential, low environmental impact and reasonable accessibility and connection to the grid. According to the report, the site presents average wind speeds of 9 m/s, yielding a capacity factor of 40%.
The project activity involves five wind turbine generators from VESTAS, model V80, supplied by the Spanish company EDUINTER. Each wind turbine has a 2 MW capacity and generates electricity at 690 V. The voltage is raised to 31.5 kV using dry type transformers, which are located in each wind turbine tower. Furthermore, for each generator, there is an electronic system to correct the power factor, a dry type transformer 690 / 230 V for the auxiliary services and an interconnection panel with circuit breakers.
The Project is mainly financed by UTE (USD 18.9 million), which is a public company, and approximately one third of the investment comes from the Spanish Government (USD 10.8 million).